Q: What prompted you to decide to study at CSU?
A: I originally entered the workforce via a traineeship program, involving a tertiary qualification from a technical college, so when I decided to gain further qualifications after many years of work, I was in the position of not having a bachelor's degree. I did originally look at completing a Bachelor's degree in IT, part time, but I found the initial content too basic and the time required to complete it too long. The IT Masters courses were the only ones I found that were at a suitable level of difficulty for someone with my amount of job experience, and that provided a good qualification in an achievable time frame.
Q: Can you give a description of your current job?
A: For the last 17 years I have been working for a major equipment provider company in the telecommunications field, mainly providing customer support services, but also doing product development and testing, and network design. However in a development that was not entirely coincidental, I was made redundant from my job in the very same week that I graduated from CSU (!!). I say not coincidental because, for a number of years, I have known that my job was not a secure one and that there was not a lot of opportunity within the same company, and this was one of the main drivers of my decision to gain further qualifications.
Q: Has the course had any effect on your career path?
A: Well, in the circumstances I now find myself, I hope so! After taking a break for a family holiday I will be searching for new employment. Hopefully that will be in a security related area of the IT field, or within the wider IT field in general rather than just telecommunications, and I hope that my CSU qualification will stand me in good stead. Time will tell!
Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced in completing your study?
A: For me the biggest challenge was the time required for study. Having a full time job, sometimes involving travel and weekend work, as well as a young family, meant that finding time to complete all of the study and work required for each subject was not easy. However I managed it by trying to do most of my work for the course later in the evening after the kids were in bed, and while on the way to/from work on the tram (a long commute by tram sometimes has its advantages). I occasionally studied during my work lunch breaks as well. The other approach I took was to only tackle one subject at a time, but over all three terms within the year. This allowed me to complete my Masters degree after four years of part time study, while allowing me to better balance my work, family and study time. Finally I must repeat something to which I referred to in my speech - the support offered by my wife, especially in sometimes spending time with the family which allowed me some study time on my own, was invaluable.
Q: What drove you to achieve such outstanding results?
A: Completing a Masters degree is not something I do every day. Given the amount of time and cost involved, and the value that a degree provides, I intended to put in a proper amount of effort. I believe that the long experience I have in the telecoms/networking industry also gave me a good start. I think that another factor was that I had a great deal of interest in a lot of the material covered in the various subjects - after many years of learning I still enjoy it if I have an interest in the subject, as I do with IT.
Q: Which subject did you find the most rewarding?
A: Although I understand that the subject was included in the course partly because it is required to be included, I found the IT Ethics course particularly interesting and rewarding. Ethics is an area that I had never studied before, and I found it to be a very interesting and thought provoking area. It is certainly something that I believe should be included in these courses, in fact in all courses in some shape or form.