Developer Evangelist, Xero
Bachelor of Computer and Information Sciences in Software Development
Technology is for people, says computing alumna Eteroa Tusipepa Lafaele whose passion for educating communities about technology has already seen her recognised with a Young IT Professional of the Year Award 2021, a Prime Minister’s Pacific Award for STEM and a nomination for the 2019 Young Women of Influence Awards.
“My lightbulb moment was when I was in my second year at AUT and doing work for the AUT Oceanian Leadership Network to encourage more Māori and Pacific people to get involved in science, technology, engineering and maths.
“Seeing my people discover that they too can be in technology sparked something in me. Learning how to code is great but communicating and using your skill for people is even better. My tautua (service) to my family and community has led me to where I am today.”
An enjoyable journey
Having always been fascinated by technology, deciding to study computing was easy for Eteroa.
“I chose to study the Bachelor of Computer and Information Sciences because I knew that AUT specialised in different technologies in the first year of the degree. I liked that I was exposed to different areas, including computer science, artificial intelligence, information science and software development.
“One of the biggest highlights of my time at university were my friends – I made friends who are now family and they were part of my journey.”
Her graduation day was another special memory, says Eteroa who graduated from AUT in 2018.
“Graduating was a big one for me. My family and friends came together because my degree wasn’t just a piece of paper for us; it was a symbol of the work by my family and friends to help me get to that finishing line.”
The bridge between technical and non-technical areas
Eteroa now enjoys applying her understanding of software development in her role as a developer evangelist at Xero; a role she started in early 2021, after spending two years as a software engineer and community manager at Voluntarily.
“In my role at Xero, I’m in charge of the app certification process, and my work involves me communicating with app partners and helping them become certified. I’m responsible for evangelising the Xero API and communicating how it works, and I also contribute to our software development tool kits.
“I enjoy mixing communication and software development, and being the bridge between non-technical and technical areas.”
While she has had many achievements in her career so far, one particular project stood out to her.
“One of the projects I’m especially proud of was being able to build a Tokelau language app for the Atafu community as they needed tools that could be used in their community.”