“University is an incredible catalyst for extracting ambition and allowing it to flourish.”
Bachelor of Information Technology graduate Benjamin Hall shares his motivation for pursuing a university degree, his love of technology and his processes and dedication for achieving a graduate position in his field.
What made you decide to go to university?
During high school I had no real aspirations to study further as I wanted to be a chef. My parents weren’t so sure but my mother presented a strong case for more study which stuck with me forever. A year later I promised my late mother I would go to university for her and started working harder. In my final year at high school, I received the Griffith University Gold Coast Award and a direct offer to study a double degree in business. Although I didn’t study business, my promise to my mother was the real motivation to study at university. Since I walked into Griffith, I loved every moment and am so thankful of the words my mother spoke.
What did you study?
I recently completed a Bachelor of Information Technology.
Why did you choose that field of study?
Technology is exciting. It’s moving at phenomenal rates and becoming integrated in every aspect of the world and I wanted to be someone who got on the ride early.
What were the most interesting things you learned in your degree?
The most interesting thing I have learnt is just how expansive and truly incredible information technology is. From simple services in our daily lives such as mobile phones to making quantum calculations on huge data for NASA. Its reach and requirement is everywhere and I am thankfully part of it.
What were the most enjoyable aspects of going to uni?
University is an amazing experience for all as everyone you speak to is full of energy.
We all become one, irrespective of race, religion and culture and there to learn, grow and expand our horizons. The most enjoyable aspects of university life for me was realising the people I met, the events I attend and my study brought out better qualities from myself and others.
How did you feel when you finished your university degree?
Extremely happy. The tough yet rewarding days in the library were over. I accomplished a milestone many achieve but the best feeling was fulfilling the promise I made to my late mother and to know how incredibly proud she would have been.
What was your Industry Project for ICT? What did you gain out of the Industry Project? How do you think it helped with your own career development?
The Industry Project for ICT I completed was an “Options Backtester” for Macquarie Private Wealth. The options backtester is an advanced data analysis tool designed for financial enterprises. The application accepts user defined custom trading strategies and applies them to 20 years of historical stock market data to identify & analyse trends. The application’s output provides a visualisation of how well a trading strategy could have performed, which in turn assists enterprises in future big money decision making.
The Industry Project was an incredible experience to tie together three years of learning, be able to implement a successful project and keep the team working towards an impressive outcome. The project allowed my interpersonal skills and decision making to be tested as the Project Manager, liaising with some very influential clients.
Overall the project really sealed the deal for me; it made me feel as if I had made the right choice for my future career. The first meeting with our client’s allowed our team to really sit back and realise, this is it. It was a truly wonderful experience and one I cannot recommend any higher to all future students to grab with both hands, put in the long hard hours, because the outcome is yours. It’s an indication of your future, make it count.
Where do you work now?
I was successful in my last year of studying at Griffith University in gaining a ‘Graduate Position’ with the Australian Government Department of Human Services.
How did you get this job?
I applied for a range of graduate programs offered by large Australian private and public enterprises such as Deloitte, EY, and Telstra. These programs are an incredible experience as they ease graduates into their career with tailored programs. Each application takes approximately 45 minutes and if successful with the first step the process will be a rigorous set of hurdles to prove your worth.
The role I obtained had four main stages, from video interviews, online behaviour assessments and critical thinking assessments, writing questions to an assessment centre. The department I applied for had 3,000 original applicants which were shortened to a remaining 240 with 100 jobs available across all disciplines on the final interview day. The process was exhaustive and required every applicant to demonstrate their skills worth in different scenarios.
What do you do in your current job?
My role is as a Business Analyst in ICT for the Department of Human Services. The role is due to start in February 2015 and is a 10 month program initially moving into a permanent role after successful completion of the program. As an analyst, I will bridge the gap between the ever expanding world of technology to the underlying business goals of the department. I will assist in ensuring changes moving forward are justified, correct and efficient as these will be ones which support all Australians affected by Centrelink and Medicare services.
What are the most satisfying aspects of your job?
The people, knowing the work I complete will be contributing to $149.4 billion of payments yearly to those in need across Australia. To know improving these services affects each and every Australian in some way and it is my goal to ensure the people continue to be my priority.
When you were 18 years old, did you imagine that you’d be doing what you’re doing today? Why?
Most certainly not. I started studying a double degree in Law and Psychological Science but after a year decided it wasn’t for me. I took a break and really thought about what made me happy, excited and motivated me for the better. I found Information Technology and the degree change paid off.
Are there any people or events that have strongly influenced your education and career?
My mother’s words were my defining moment and her words of wisdom stuck with me forever. It gave me the motivation to go bigger than I believed and all it took was a few kind words. In a few short years, the experiences and education I gained are irreplaceable and I am very thankful for the support of the university and my family.
What are your career plans for the future?
I have set a 10-20 year roadmap where I am to be a CEO or CTO (Chief Technology Officer) in a large multinational enterprise combined with completing a Master’s degree to either build on my qualifications or do something completely left field to unlock my full potential.
You are well equipped for the future; you gave yourself that by attending Griffith University. “The important thing is not to stop questioning” as stated by Albert Einstein. You are all incredible members of society, you have the ability to absorb information and make valid decisions. It’s a very competitive world and I think the greatest piece I have is about motivation.
Find yourself; reflect on what has been, and where you want to be. Take the time to validate your mindset and only look back to see how far you have come. Your attitude is going to determine your altitude, so make it count and good luck!