Product Designer, Latitude Finance, Auckland
Bachelor of Creative Technologies
Deciding to study at AUT was easy, says Julian de Villiers who completed a Bachelor of Creative Technologies.
“I was interested in a number of creative fields – like design, programming and entrepreneurship – and wanted a career path at the intersection of these areas. I decided to study creative technologies because it truly embraced a multidisciplinary creative mindset.
“I chose AUT because it’s known for being future-focused, embracing new technologies and treating students as individuals. When talking to students from other universities, I noticed that it can be easy to become a number and lose your voice. AUT is great at offering smaller class sizes while maintaining a high industry profile and offering great career opportunities.”
New friends and opportunities
The whole first year was a highlight for him, Julian says.
“I stayed at the Wellesley Student Apartments, which meant that AUT was just a minute away and there were endless opportunities and events to complement my university work.
“Through the academic staff at AUT I was also introduced to some industry meet-ups, events and volunteer opportunities like Spark Labs and Summer of Tech, and I attended as many as I could. It definitely helped give a greater context to the degree and motivated me to work even harder on assignments.”
Embrace opportunities, ask questions and don’t be afraid to fail, Julian advises other students.
“Now is the best time to try out new things, fail at some and see what you like. There are so many opportunities that will come your way and you’ll be surprised how one thing can lead on to another.”
Immersed in technology and innovation
After graduating at the end of 2017, Julian spent three months in Vancouver, working for Whitespace, the R&D and innovation hub for Lululemon.
He got this sought-after internship through the AUT Internz International Scholarship Programme.
“Whitespace is where new projects and ideas for Lululemon are grown. I worked in a multidisciplinary environment, collaborating with researchers, engineers and designers.
“I loved that Whitespace has all kinds of technologies and interesting spaces. Besides the large open office, there’s a motion capture studio, 3D printers, heat sensing cameras, stationary bikes and a swimming pool. There was always something really interesting going on and there were always things to learn.”
Life at a Kiwi tech start-up
At the conclusion of his internship, Julian returned to New Zealand, landing a full-time product design role at a Kiwi tech start-up Genoapay. The fin-tech company operates in the ‘buy now pay later’ space, helping customers pay for interest-free purchases over 10 weekly payments.
Genoapay was acquired by Melbourne-based Latitude Financial Services in late 2018, and throughout 2019 Julian’s focus has been on expanding Genoapay to the Australian market under the name LatitudePay. He spends his time designing, coding new interfaces and conceptualising new retail payment methods.
“I love that I’m able to maintain a multidisciplinary mindset, even in a large company. Creative technologies gave me a good understanding of a wide range of fields. Every day at my job I get to work with designers, developers and marketers. Having learnt what’s involved with different creative tasks really helps with planning projects and talking to creative partners.
“Technology companies are taking note of how valuable cross-functional team members are, and studying creative technologies set me up perfectly.”