Tag: telstra-careers

Four leadership tips I’d give my 20-year-old self

Telstra Careers Advice

Posted on March 12, 2020

3 min read

In 2010, I was a bright-eyed intern with big dreams for the future. Now, a decade later, I’m the Group Performance Principal for the Global IoT Solutions product portfolio at Telstra.

It feels like my journey as a leader has barely begun – but I’ve already learned so much since I was that hopeful summer vacationer. If I could deliver those learnings to myself a decade ago, they might look something like this:

1. Becoming a leader starts with intent

It may sound obvious but to succeed at anything, you have to start by saying, “I’m going to do it.”

Something I’ve noted throughout my career journey is that some women tend to hesitate to take on new opportunities when we don’t quite meet 100 per cent of the criteria. The reality is most of us never will! It’s all about taking a chance anyway and just doing it (Nike has a point!).

You may underestimate your resourcefulness, instincts and experience, but you will figure it out. For those starting out, put your hand up for a project or initiative that falls outside of your comfort zone – it’s a great way to test yourself.

2. Lead by example

This is a piece of advice my most recent boss gave me – and it truly struck a chord. Think hard about the values, behaviors and style you want to represent, as they will be reflected in how your team behaves and interacts.

How you react to good news, bad news, wins and failures, how you celebrate shared achievements with your own team and even how you choose to address or not address gossip: it’s the sum of all these reactions that leaves an impression on your team members.

3. Be yourself

I used to believe that leadership was a cookie-cutter mold I needed to fit into. But over the years, I have seen lots of inspiring leaders own their uniqueness. It wasn’t conforming that made them great leaders – it was their quirks that made them authentic.

The suits, managerial buzzwords and demeanor I thought were so important as a graduate truly fell away once I continued with my career. After all, anyone can wear a blazer, but it takes something special to be a sincere, effective leader.

Sakshi says authenticity is important for all leaders

4. Never stop learning

I prefer not to spruik books or frameworks as I believe people need to formulate their own thinking, but I do recommend The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. As a leader, you’ll need to have uncomfortable and difficult conversations. Ben’s book talks about how to tackle some of these hard conversations, and his writing style is very easy to read.

Reading and self-education in general are especially important for leaders. But don’t worry too much about following frameworks or only reading books that relate to your field. Rather, read about a variety of topics and you’ll find yourself expanding your general knowledge and critical thinking – which is invaluable for all aspects of life.

Want to learn about my role and hear about Telstra’s IoT journey? Watch the video below.

Ready to expand your professional horizons? Check out open roles at Telstra.

Inspiring the next generation of women in tech

Telstra Careers Inspiration

Posted on March 5, 2020

4 min read

All around the world, there are fewer women than men in technology fields. History has shown that a lack of diversity limits not only our own ways of thinking but how we work together as teams and how successful we are as companies.

In a world that is so diverse, it only makes sense that the tech industry would reflect this as well.

My path to becoming a UX/UI designer

Since I was little, I’ve been fascinated with technology and its power to enrich lives. As a child, technology seemed to grow up alongside me. Each year offered new innovations and opened my mind to a world of possibilities.

When it came to choosing my path at university, UX/UI design became a natural choice for me as I knew that technology could help make people’s dreams come true.

A day in my life as a UX/UI designer at Telstra

As a UX designer at Telstra, no two days are alike for me – just the way I like it.

UX/UI design is a combination of artistic creativity, human psychology and technology and every day gives me the opportunity to flex both my creative and analytical brain simultaneously.

Most of my time is spent on agile projects at different stages of production, so I can be doing anything from creating wireframes and finished UI, gathering insights from users, to writing research pieces and analyses.

The most exciting part of my role is seeing a product I’ve worked on make the journey from design, user testing, to implementation, and finally into the customer’s hands.

A recent project that’s given me great satisfaction is designing the UX/UI for one of our internal mobile applications. People can now see the availability of spaces on floors, book spaces and meeting rooms, and collaborate with colleagues. It’s made their lives easier and more productive – there is no greater reward than that.

Bettina Marson loves her technology role at Telstra

My advice for women looking to enter the tech field

A supportive team and great mentors go a long way in helping you break down the walls. No one person can succeed without the help and personal investment from others, so learning to cooperate and work together is key to successfully establishing a career and professional network.

Develop your skills to be brave, try new things, adapt and change rapidly. Be open-minded, try subjects and activities in STEM (science, technology, education and maths), and always look forward to failing fast, as failure is the only way we can learn to succeed.

How does Telstra champion women in tech?

There are many ways Telstra supports women in tech, both internally and in the wider community.

Within Telstra, we celebrate women in tech by raising awareness, providing women with opportunities to establish strong networks, and help them navigate their careers within the tech industry. Our Brilliant Connected Women network supports members and host events such as International Women’s Day. We regularly invite female tech leaders to share their stories and insights into achieving success in their chosen specialisations.

Telstra is part of the Male Champions of Change Founding Group, a gold sponsor for Chief Executive Women and a sponsor of Females in IT and Telecommunications.

Recognising the role that we have in changing the future, we’ve been involved with programs that reach school-age girls so that we can break down the systematic challenges women face in tech, highlighting STEM career paths and hosting groups such as code like a girl’.

Our goal for 2020

Several years ago, Telstra recognised a need for more female talent within the company. That is why it publicly committed to ensuring that recruitment and interview shortlists include at least 50 percent female representation or 25 per cent in some specified roles where there is a gender imbalance in the job market.

There are many initiatives that will help us get there:

  • Teams can collaborate online through tools like Microsoft Teams, Yammer and SharePoint. This inherently increases opportunities for many women who have families, who volunteer, and who have care-taking commitments that other employers may not accommodate.
  • We offer 16 weeks parental leave for both male and female employees.
  • The Telstra Graduate Program prides itself on attracting a diverse pool of top talent and actively encourages women to apply.

I am proud to be part of an organisation that has fully embraced diversity, celebrated change, and created a fairer, more open-minded and inclusive environment in which women can thrive.

For women looking to forge a path in technology, check out our jobs at Telstra.

How I’m riding the tech wave to help our customers thrive

Telstra Careers Inspiration

Posted on February 27, 2020

3 min read

I started my career at Telstra eight years ago in one of our contact centres. It was a great way to start my journey here as I got to speak directly to our customers and learnt early on about the importance of empathy as a cornerstone for success in customer service. From this, I was able to understand customers and learn more about their needs from Telstra.

Over the past 8 years I have had the opportunity to work across many areas within Telstra, ranging from Consumer and Small Business, Telstra Business, Enterprise and most recently within Telstra Labs.

Telstra has supported my career and personal development from the beginning, opening up various skill development opportunities that have led to the role I am in today. It’s amazing to say that I’m now an Innovation Service Designer exploring new product and business development opportunities.

I spend my day asking “why” a lot, and lead design sprints that focus on the future needs of our customers. I also test new concepts and building upon these regularly to ensure that the solution or product will add value to our customers and solve real problems that they are facing.

The work I do is fascinating and heavily focused on how new technologies can help improve the lives of our customers, and in some instances even save their lives.

For example, at Telstra Vantage, I showcased a project I led through our innovation Design Sprints. It focused on road worker road safety and how we can help reduce the risks involved for workers when setting up and closing work sites. Together with Transurban, we co-created these semi-autonomous cones that self-position using GPS and our 4G network so workers no longer need to step out into live traffic to set up or remove the traffic cones that protect their working areas.

 Semi-autonomous cones on show at Telstra Vantage
Semi-autonomous cones on show at Telstra Vantage

As a team, we also have access to a lot of different eco-system environments including many start-ups outside of Telstra. The eco-system that we have at the Labs has taught us different ways to tackle complex problems, ideate new concept solutions and has brought many different way of thinking and working to our Design Sprints. Having access to these sorts of environments and focusing on how they do things differently is invaluable and something I really appreciate.

I would describe my team as highly passionate about problem-solving, inquisitive, and very collaborative. We work closely with our customers and that’s where, I believe, our success comes from. We are also very diverse – we’ve got people from different backgrounds who have distinct skillsets.

I think diversity is very important in any team, but even more so in a team that needs to be innovative and create technologies for customers – having different minds, backgrounds and skills can only help challenge the norm and create innovative solutions that solve real customer problems.

If you’re interested in a career in technology, check out the roles that are currently available. Or if you’re a graduate looking to kick-start your career, applications for our Telstra Graduate Program open on March 3. 

Balancing business smarts and tech know-how as a Telstra Graduate

Telstra Careers Students

Posted on February 6, 2020

3 min read

As someone who studied a Masters in Machine Learning at Monash University, being part of the Telstra Graduate Program has given me an insight into what I need to do to be a successful programmer.

I chose to apply for the Program because of the cutting-edge projects that the company is delving into – the organisation has a clear direction of moving into edge computing and building Australia’s 5G capabilities.  These projects also go hand in hand with artificial intelligence, which is my focus area. Because of these factors, I knew the work I would be doing at Telstra would align with my own career direction. 

As part of the Program, I need to do three rotations in different areas of the business. In my first rotation, I worked in Networks and IT where I was mainly designing chatbots. It was a great experience because I’m really interested in deep learning and artificial intelligence.  I’m currently in my second rotation where I’m working in the computer vision department in Telstra Labs.

What I really enjoy about my current rotation is the diversity of the work I do. For example, I could be doing something quite technical or I could be engaged in a task that requires me to learn more about a different business unit within Telstra. Whatever it is I am doing, I’m finding out a lot about the broader business because my current team does a lot of work for different business functions. 

I love being part of the Telstra Labs team.

Since starting at Telstra, I’ve noticed the size of the business is a strength in terms of what it offers graduates. I’ve been able to get involved in the commercial aspect of how things work and how products are launched. This has helped to grow a different side of my career as previously, I’ve only been involved in the technical aspects of a product.

On top of that, the people and mentorship I’ve had access to has really given me a lot of guidance and helped me grow professionally.  During my first rotation, my direct line manager was a real technical specialist and very attentive, so I learned heaps from him. Then in my second rotation, my leader has taught me a lot about the commercial aspect of technology. In terms of personal development, my managers have given me a lot of time and have been invested in helping me build my skill-set and knowledge.

But what I have loved the most is that I’ve been able to take my love for edge computing and apply it to a passion project of mine where I had a number of cameras roaming around the vicinity of Telstra Vantage. While they normally record this event, I wanted this year to be different so I enabled them with 4G technology so they roamed around doing object recognition in real-time.

For anybody who is considering applying for the Telstra Graduate Program, I would say, be open to new things and be open to learning, as that’s the way you’ll continue to grow and develop if you are successful in your application. For example, I’ve recently been given the opportunity to showcase and demonstrate my work at Telstra Vantage to technology peers, higher Telstra leaders and other AI and programming buffs, which is something I don’t believe I would be able to do anywhere else.

Interested in a career in emerging technology? Learn more about Telstra’s Graduate Program.

Five ways Agile ways of working can improve your personal life

Telstra Careers Advice

Posted on January 23, 2020

5 min read

I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of Telstra’s transition to Agile at scale and have learnt valuable skills that have shifted my personal and professional mindsets.

I have found the benefits of Agile practices and methodologies don’t just translate to the office, they can extend to your personal life and can help improve your mindset and approach to life.

I asked our Agile Coach Jane Ilsey if learning about Agile can shift your personal mindset. Her response was:

“It’s not uncommon to hear stories of how people have taken the Agile mindsets, practices and tools and applied them to their personal life.

“I love that the changes we make at work have impacts that extend beyond the work itself and into the lives and homes of our people, whether it supports a couple getting married using sprints and Trello boards, or helps shape the building blocks for family agreements with team charters on the fridge.”

Here are the positive impacts Agile methodologies have had on me:

Setting personal goals

Often in our personal lives, we usually set a large goal without really breaking down the steps into smaller chunks. For example, a personal goal could be to buy that dream house or car.

Using the OKR framework here is how a personal goal could be broken down:

Objective: Buy your dream car

Key Result: Save 10 per cent more money month on month

Example Epics: Food, Travel (pillars to save money on)

Example Stories: Make lunches, cycle to work, work out in the park over the gym etc.

Every two weeks, you should review your stories and plan new stories to reach your goal. You can also use data to measure the impact your stories or epics are having on your key result.

This framework could be applied to long, medium or short term goals. It’s important to identify what type of goal you have, to help you with your planning.

Create a charter to live by

When we formed our new agile team the first thing we did was to create a team charter. This conversation is a great opportunity to learn more about your team and what values you all have.

Every two weeks at our Retrospective we review our team charter and ensure we are living it and review new items. One of the rules that resonate with me the most is to assume positive intent, which has built overall trust in our team.

Some members of our team have even created their own charter with their families and have stuck it on their fridge. They created it as a family and regularly check in on the values.

Here’s an example of the framework:

An example of a charter framework.

Burn rate and burn out

Early on in my career, I went 110 per cent all the time to achieve my goals. My theory was the harder I pushed myself, the more I would achieve. What happened was burnout, and I soon realised it’s impossible to achieve peak performance at all times.

What Agile taught me is that ‘slow is smooth, smooth is fast.’ Looking at your work in two-week sprints is a great way of pushing yourself as it allows you to peak, recover and start again.

Each burn rate might not be perfect, but it allows for peaks and troughs to be measured. This enables you to avoid burnout in the long run, which translates into a happier personal life. 

Regular verbal communication

When we first introduced our agile ceremonies we were a bit freaked out by the number of meetings we had in the diary. Suddenly we had daily stand-ups, planning sessions, sprint prioritisation sessions, sprint reviews and retrospectives. We were all a bit concerned about when we would find the time to do the work!

However, having the agile ceremonies as regular as we do means we solve problems quicker and have open conversations. It also means less emails, which has meant we have more time to do the work.

In our personal life, we can also fall into the trap of phone messages and group chats and forget how powerful regular verbal communication is for connection and problem-solving.

Creating psychological safety

Google spent years studying effective teams and they found that the single quality that contributed most to the success of teams was ‘psychological safety.’ They code-named the study Project Aristotle, a tribute to the philosopher’s famous quote, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” The researchers found that what really mattered was less about WHO is in the team, and more about HOW the team worked together.

As a keen hockey player, I have introduced this concept to my team. It’s not about our team having the greatest hockey players in the league, instead it’s about how we play together and trust each other.

Now that I have adopted this way of working, it’s challenging to think how we didn’t ever work like this. I look forward to how we continue to evolve and mature on our agile journey here at Telstra.

Learn more about Telstra’s transformation, purpose and values here.