Giri Gonsai

Giri Gonsai

Senior Quality Assurance Engineer, Air New Zealand
Postgraduate Diploma in Computer and Information Sciences

AUT’s expertise in computing and astronomy is what attracted him, says Giri who came to AUT as an international student from India.

“I’m really passionate about astronomy and was closely following the research and development of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, which AUT is involved in. It’s one of the biggest radio astronomical projects in the world, so when I was accepted into AUT I was super excited, even though I also had offers from other universities.”

AUT’s inclusion of industry level projects and assignments for university students, although on a small scale, was most important for him.

“It gave me an edge to explore the available resources, face the challenges and grab any opportunity that came in. The projects I worked on during my time at AUT for my software development courses were the most crucial aspects to getting ready to face real-world scenarios including the research, documentation, approvals, requirements gathering and analysis, development and pushing to market. Every single learning played an important role in what I do in my day-to-day life at work.

“One of the biggest achievements for me was having the chance to do research in the cloud computing field as part of the SKA project. While my professor said that my research proposal was quite challenging, I took on the challenge, worked hard on my research and am happy with the results.”

A memorable experience
There were many highlights throughout his studies, Giri says.

“The courses on software requirements engineering and software development helped me get my current job as the assignments and projects were designed to closely resemble the way an industry level organisation would work. One of the best things about taking those courses was that the academic staff were friendly and easy to connect with.”

While his studies certainly kept him busy, Giri also found time to make the most of his university experience.

“I enjoyed meeting interesting and like-minded people during my time at AUT, and participated in many different sports and research projects. I played for the AUT touch, soccer and social volleyball teams, participated in a research project on taekwondo, won tickets for the New Zealand Breakers game and was given the authority to run AUT’s official Instagram account for the whole day for the live updates of the match. It was a memorable time.

"I also researched the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Deep Space Network's adaptation of Ka-Band frequency for communicating with far distant satellites such as the Voyagers 1 & 2. I also created an impact analysis on the future James Webb Space Telescope project and the Mars 2020 Rover, and for current projects such as the Mars Curiosity Rover, Mars Odyssey, International Space Station and the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite.”

Ready to take on the world
One of the highpoints for Giri was completing the AUT Edge Award, which challenges students to develop skills in the areas of collaboration, communication and creativity.

“Initially I signed up for the AUT Edge Award as I knew I could add this to my CV, but as I started attending the seminars and doing the voluntary work I realised it was much more than that. The people I met, challenges I faced, advice I got and the experiences I had made me realise the importance of the skills I was developing. I did all of my work with high diligence.”

Completing the award helped him get closer to his current job, says Giri who now works as a senior quality assurance engineer for Air New Zealand.

“Every single seminar or presentation helped me get closer to the type of job I wanted to do. The most important thing for me was realising the importance of communication because that’s the main skill for anyone stepping into the industry. If you master the art of communication, you can sail through your career.

“The skills I learned at AUT include good communication, presentation, working efficiently, being open to changes in projects, and always putting the focus on investing in yourself. In my spare time I’m always learning new technologies to upskill myself in terms of my professional career and I also keep myself busy studying astrophysics, astronomy, aerospace engineering or biochemistry and genetics. Remember that your only limit is your own imagination. Make the sky your limit and keep going.”

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