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