3rd-year student, Bachelor of Computer and Information Sciences in Software Development
A school trip fuelled her passion to be involved in technology, says Charizze Austin who is currently completing a Bachelor of Computer and Information Sciences.
“I’ve had a keen interest in technology since I was in primary school. However, I never actually considered studying it at university until I went on a school trip in Year 13 where we visited the headquarters of global tech companies like Facebook, Google, Apple and Microsoft.
“I could see that there’s a big world out there and I realised that I want to be a part of something that has such a massive impact on the world. I’d love to be working for one of the huge tech companies that are always innovating.”
Supported to thrive
She chose to study at AUT because of the learning environment, and the friendly students and staff she met at the AUT open day, Charizze says.
“I had heard a lot of good feedback about AUT’s Bachelor of Computer and Information Sciences from people I knew. I knew I would learn best in a positive environment and the smaller class sizes would help me get the most support.
“Coming from an all-girls high school, it took me some time to adjust to being mainly surrounded by guys. I thought because I was the minority gender that they would assume I wasn’t as smart as them, however this definitely wasn’t the case. AUT also has many events for females and groups like AUT STEM Women, which connects women studying in STEM fields with each other.”
She would highly recommend AUT’s computing degree.
“Before I started university, I used to hear ‘at university the teachers won’t care if you haven’t done the work’ etc. But at AUT the academic staff are so supportive and genuinely care about helping you. They will stay back after class or reply to emails in the weekends. It’s nice to know there’s help when you need it.”
More than technical skills
AUT’s computing degree isn’t just about the programming and technical skills you gain, Charizze says.
“AUT has a good balance of developing all-rounded students with a lot of assignments based on building your communication and teamwork skills, which is important in any aspect of life. The assignments help you practise what has been covered in class, and the papers each year steadily prepare you for the third-year R&D project with an industry client.”
She loves watching the progress from the very beginning of development to seeing the final product.
“It’s so amazing to see what can be created in a short period of time! There are so many different ways to code a single solution and figuring out why there are errors in your code is so fulfilling.”
Advice for other students
Now in the final year of her degree, Charizze has some great advice for other students.
“Jump at every opportunity to partake in activities or networking that will help you with your career. You should also get involved in university life, for example becoming a student ambassador, completing an AUT Edge Award or joining clubs. This will make your overall university experience so much more meaningful and help you make many new friends.”
If you can include elective papers as part of your degree, use these to experience something you’re interested in, she adds.
“Taking a paper that isn’t a part of your degree – like learning a new language or taking business papers – could open even more doors to possible careers. Plus it’s great to have something different in your timetable.”