After finishing Year 12 I began a Bachelor of Communication and Electronic Engineering degree at RMIT. I didn’t finish it as I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but did work out that it wasn’t microprocessor circuit design.
Through the next few years I had a number of jobs including answering phones in a call centre, working in a transport company as a radio operator controlling a truck fleet, courier driving and driving a mobile neonatal intensive care ambulance for the Victorian Newborn Emergency Transport Service (NETS).
I had maintained my interest in IT as I always had a computer in the house and was continually tinkering with it, breaking, fixing and upgrading it. Around 1995 just as the commercialisation of the Internet began, I purchased an Internet connection. In 1998 through 2000 I studied for a Certificate IV in Information Technology (Technical and User Support) at Swinburne TAFE.
In 2000, just after the Y2K fiasco, I got myself an IT job. I spent a few years working with one company and then moved to a small start-up company supporting accounting clients across Victoria. It was fascinating to watch the way that IT evolved and the way that these companies used it. As their “outsourced IT Department”, our advice formed a lot of how they did this. We had to stay “ahead of the curve” and constantly update our knowledge. To this day, I begin my day by parsing a series of online IT publications seeing what’s new.
In late 2001 I got married, and around 2005 my wife applied for a statistical tutoring position through the Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development (AYAD) program. During 2006 and 2007 we lived in Kunming, Yunnan, in southern China. After seeing an obvious opportunity, I worked as a consultant for various companies, NGOs and individuals, helping them fully utilise their IT opportunities. One project I worked on was for a Dutch multi-national which was establishing a manufacturing facility just outside Kunming. I liaised with their IT Department in the Netherlands and set-up their network. As we were passing their corporate passwords and configuration settings between us, I introduced them to the concept and practice of encrypted email and set up secure remote access for them using free software. I received a commendation from the IT director on the efficiency and completeness of the setup.
Whilst in China, in addition to IT consulting, I helped a Chinese student with her English exams, got to know a few other Chinese nationals, worked as an English language “polisher” for an academic publication, freelance photographer and volunteered for an AIDS benefit. I also studied Karate (a Japanese martial art) under the direction of an ex-member of the New Zealand National Karate squad. True Globalisation! Living in another country was a very challenging and rewarding experience, and I learnt a great deal about working with people who do not have English as their first language.
During our time in China, we visited Laos, staying with friends there, and took an extended trip though Tibet and then Xinjiang, a predominantly Muslim province in western China. All of these areas were fascinating. I have also travelled through the Mid-West of the USA (in 2002 and 2011), and through Western and Central Europe (in 2005).
I thoroughly enjoy travelling and experiencing new cultures. During high school I learnt some Latin, French and Italian. As I travel, I attempt to learn a few words of the local languages. After holidaying in Bali in mid-2014, and wanting to return, I am making a slightly more serious attempt to learn at least basic conversational Indonesian.
After returning to Australia in late 2007, I returned to RMIT University to complete my studies in a Master of Business (Information Technology), whilst working part-time for the Victorian Government. During this time, I began to get increasingly involved in the Free and Open Source community, with organisations such as Linux Users Victoria. I was able to attend a few days of linux.conf.au held in Melbourne at the end of January 2008 and all of the 2009 conference in Hobart. I also began to write blog articles on Ubuntu Linux for iTWire, an Australian based technology website.
At the end of February 2009, I joined the Positioning Regional Victoria (PRV) project team at the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment. The goal of the Positioning Regional Victoria project was to install an additional 57 Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) across Victoria, bringing the total number of Vicmap Position – GPSnet stations to around 103, enabling accuracy of +/- 20mm state-wide. Uses include surveying, precision agriculture, mining, asset capture and management, assisting emergency services and auditing and compliance, amongst many other uses. For more information on station locations and availability go to http://gnss.vicpos.com.au/Map/SensorMap.aspx.
I had a multi-faceted role: driving around Victoria scoping out sites for installation of the equipment, gaining diverse stakeholder involvement, communications, editing and proofreading, and technical work. The project team achieved the goals of the project under budget and well before the deadline. The project was awarded an Excellence in eGovernment Award in the Geospatial category in 2011.
During late 2010, I studied and achieved a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. There was a possibility that I would be involved in other work for DSE around training users in GPSnet related technologies, however this did not eventuate.
As the PRV project wound down, I applied for and got, an ongoing position with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), based in Canberra. My initial engagement was to explore new technologies and how they could be incorporated into the business of the ABS. However, as these things go, due to funding constraints, and my past experience in technical journalism, editing and proofreading, I was redirected to work with Technology Services Division’s (TSD) Stakeholder Engagement and Communications team. This team worked hard to increase understanding of TSD’s functions across the ABS. With further reductions in funding, the team was progressively disbanded and I ended up as the sole “team” member. During this time I was awarded a Director’s Award for my ongoing efforts in sometimes difficult circumstances.
When funding became available, I applied for and was successful in moving to the Working@ABS team. This was a project team, focussed on introducing and embedding new technologies. I worked on various projects, including assisting in introducing iPads and iPhones to senior staff, setting up secure remote email access for all ABS staff, resolving Virtual Private Network issues, and training end users in various courses, such as the email, remote access and videoconferencing and and collaboration tools used by the Bureau. During my time with this team, I relocated back to Melbourne.
In mid-2013 I was asked if I was interested in joining the relatively newly established Business Analysis team. Given that my skillset and experience is comprised of communications and stakeholder management with a heavy technical background, the BA team director thought I would be an ideal fit.
In many ways, I have now found my niche. Following formal BA training and training on the analysis tool we use – SparxEA – I have worked on some fascinating projects across the Census area, as well as my current project: delivery of the new Learning Management System (LMS). Having developed the technical requirements for the LMS tender document, I am now responsible for assisting the business clients in formally testing the chosen LMS. I am actively developing a testing strategy and creating Test Cases from the User Stories.
Additionally, I have conducted internal Business Analysis and SparxEA training. In other corporate contributions, given my paramedic work, I am a First Aid Officer, and given my training experience, I chair the Training Advisory Group for Information Technology (TAGIT), which assesses and recommends TSD staff’s training needs and requests.
More personally, I am interested in IT security, Free and Open Source Software, choral singing, cycling and recreational aviation.