Connor Winiata

Connor Winiata

Data and AI Graduate, Fonterra
Bachelor of Computer and Information Sciences in Data Science

Ngāti Ranginui

Computing is an innovative, versatile and creative industry with skills that are in high demand in a wide range of industries, says Connor Winiata who completed a Bachelor of Computer and Information Sciences in Data Science.

“I originally decided to study programming because I liked the game design aspect, however there are many other ways computer science enables you to leave a meaningful impact in a rapidly growing world. There are constantly new developments to learn and improve upon.

“I was passionate about a career as a data scientist, analyst or data. This field is still growing, the jobs vary and the work is impactful.”

After graduating from AUT at the end of 2023, Connor has now achieved this goal and has since joined Fonterra’s business graduate programme as a data and AI graduate.

Opportunities and support
For Connor, there were many highlights throughout his time at AUT.

“If you’re into the field of computer science, I’d say AUT definitely has many knowledgeable experts in the field, and has the resources to assist your studies and personal projects. Compared to universities outside of Auckland, AUT also has more international students, so as a bonus, studying in Auckland also brings the world to you.

“I particularly enjoyed our Research and Development project in my final year. My group wrote an academic paper about our project, which got accepted by the IEEE CSDE 2023 conference in Fiji. It’s cool to see that the work you do at university can have a real positive impact on the world!”

He also appreciated the support available to him.

“A high workload and exam stress is to be expected for almost every university student at one point during their studies. For example, I had to miss some classes due to factors outside of university, which caused the work to pile up for one particularly difficult course. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your professors, teaching assistants or tutors as they’re usually glad to help. In fact, their favourite students are usually those that are able to honestly ask for help. I’d also recommend joining online platforms with your fellow students to connect if you ever need help.”

Advice for other students
Connor has some great advice for other students thinking about university.

“University is different to high school and work because your timetable will constantly change. Many students will have a lot of free time, while many others will be very busy outside of their studies. Balance is key.

“Make sure you make the most of this stage of your life – network, explore other interests and, of course, study. University is a great opportunity to learn more about what you’re passionate about by choosing what you study and what classes you take. How much you get out of university will depend on your own discipline, and how well you can prioritise and balance your work.”

Don’t forget to make the most of the semester breaks, he adds.

“One of the things I’ve liked about university life is the amount of holiday time we get between the university semesters. Make sure you take advantage of this – make money, travel or carry out projects you’re passionate about to further your own education and show off to future employers.”