"My previous career was as a head chef and restaurant owner. I'd thought about coming to uni on and off over the years, but by 2019 I was ready for a change, so I decided it was finally time to apply. I'd done some research into different career paths and had become interested in cyber security - I knew it was a growth industry, and there semmed to be a diverse range of job opportunities - so I chose the Bahcelor of Information and Communications Technology as a bridge into that.
Like a lot of mature-ages students, I was a bit nervous coming in. In particular I was pretty scare of programming, because I'd never done it before and wondered how I'd go. But I actually found it super interesting, and not as difficult as I'd expected. So long as you apply yourself and put in the study hours, everything is really manageable. Then there are other subjects, like networking, that I didn't expect to enjoy quite as much, but that have turned out to be the ones I've like the most.
In my second year I was offered a casual job with USC's IT Services. The team I work in manages all the hardware for the University's students and staff, and looks after upgrades to equipment in teaching spaces like lecture theatres and labs. We get to deal with a lot of different people, manage schedules and troubleshoot problems, which are things I'm familiar with from my previous career - so it's great to have the opportunity to apply these in the IT space while I'm still studying.
I'm now in my final year and have an internship coming up with USC's networking team. Networking lets you manage big systems and projects, and work across different fields of IT, so it's important to have a strong foundation in that.
Late last year my wife and I had a baby, so it's been great to have the flexibility to balance study, work and life. Coming in, I assumed you could only study full time or part time, and you were stuck with whatever you chose - I didn't realise you could just choose how many courses you wanted to do each semester. So if I know it's going to be a busy semester work-wise or with family, I can drop a subject and nothing has to suffer. It's good to know that if your life changes, you can just change your schedule to suit."