What's your job about?
Broadspectrum provides essential services across a diverse range of industries, and as part of the Centre of Excellence for Resources, I work on cutting-edge innovation projects to improve our operational efficiency and capabilities. I joined Broadspectrum in the beginning of the year and this is my second rotation in the #SpectrumGrad program.
I tend to spend a good amount of my week writing code for various projects. My role is both very technical, as well as being relationship and people-focused as collaboration is a key part of my job. My other responsibilities include regularly presenting the progress of our projects to senior leaders and innovation forums, recommending new initiatives, and building relationships with our partners and clients as part of various pilot projects. I get to travel regularly around Australia for both internal and client meetings, as well as to show off our demos! It’s also part of my job to build a diverse network across industries and get an in-depth understanding of how we operate in those spaces.
What's your background?
I grew up in Myanmar under the military junta rule. Then one day, my dad got a teaching role at Curtin University in Malaysia so we sold everything we owned and moved overseas. When we arrived in Malaysia, I was enrolled in the only international school in my area where they taught classes for 13 to 17 year olds. I was 10 at the time so I skipped two grades to be able to attend school. I had a hard time making friends as everyone was older than me and I couldn’t speak any English. I was also struggling in class initially and my dad had to translate entire textbooks for me to read and study. They were really difficult years but on reflection, those childhood experiences made me very resilient and helped build my grit!
A few years later, I was studying mechatronics engineering at Curtin in Perth. I chose mechatronics because I am just interested in so many different areas of engineering, and wanted to work with all of them! I think it’s a bit of a theme in my life – I tend to have a lot of interests so I chase them all. It was also one of the primary reasons I chose to work at Broadspectrum! At Broadspectrum, I get to network and closely collaborate with people working in many different sectors, and learn about different industry-specific challenges to help build solutions.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
I certainly believe that you can do it if you have a solid background in engineering or computer science, as the role involves heavy technical work and you need to understand the project portfolio at a technical level. My background in Mechatronics gives me a great advantage in better understanding our multi-disciplinary projects but you don’t need to be a mechatronics engineer. It also helps if you have work experience with multi-disciplinary engineering teams. However, I would say that soft skills matter even more than the hard skills. For example, you need to communicate well and portray your technical ideas to those with non-technical backgrounds – and link it back to the business cases.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
One of the most satisfying part of my job is seeing our clients’ reactions when I am demoing our tech. I think it’s one of the best part of working with emerging technologies – they have the “Wow” factor that not many other fields have. My colleagues from different departments would even check in occasionally because they are personally curious. We also collaborate with some of the best tech companies in the world to drive our innovation projects, so we are able to exchange ideas with them. Working in the Centre of Excellence also gives me a double advantage of working for a global corporation while having the feel of a start-up where agile teams are super-focused on product development.
What are the limitations of your job?
I wear multiple hats at work so sometimes, I don’t have time to code as much as I’d like.
Developers will know that they are most productive and write the best code when they are “in the zone” – when they can code uninterrupted for hours on end – and it can sometimes be a challenge to balance as collaboration is a key part of my job and I am interacting with people on a regular basis. Often times, I would work long hours to meet my own personal deadlines – but time flows fast when you are having fun!
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
I would give myself these 3 practical advices: