Michelle Extross

Michelle Extross

QA Engineer, Kiwibank
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Software Engineering

She is fascinated by people and technology, says Michelle Extross who came to AUT to study a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Software Engineering and now works as a QA engineer at Kiwibank.

“My role offers me fantastic opportunities that contribute towards my vision. I find both technology and people to be complex and challenging. It’s amazing to see the entire picture – the end to end process of a software development life cycle, from requirements analysis to design concept, from development to integration testing, and from user validation to deployment in production.

“I also get the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from people from many specialised areas of expertise, from business and product analysts to senior developers to the technical advisory board and change management.”

Challenging traditional thinking
Studying software engineering encouraged her to think beyond any preconceived ideas, Michelle says.

“I was initially interested in something that challenged the logical side of my brain. Something that involved maths and physics seemed like a good starting point, as these were my two favourite subjects in high school. I also wanted to explore a creative way to solve problems and widen my scope of thinking. Software engineering was an incredible blend of both.

“I would absolutely recommend the Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Software Engineering. I believe perception is reality, and transforming your reality begins with a change within your mind. This programme is challenging, and that’s what makes it exciting. It’s a great environment for learning, and there is a lot of encouragement to pursue an area you’re passionate about within the degree.”

Being able to work on a variety of practical software engineering projects was one of the highlights of Michelle’s studies.

“During my time at AUT, I got a true glimpse of how unlimited the scope of learning is; ranging from full stack development to user experience research projects, from AI computer vision projects to creative game design in virtual reality. I particularly enjoyed the freedom to choose my final-year project, where I was able to work with a company called Method, developing a computer vision solution on unreleased virtual reality hardware.”

Making the most of the opportunities
AUT offers a bright and aspirational university environment, Michelle says.

“AUT encouraged me to pursue exciting prospects within my degree as well as expand my interests outside of my academic vision. The opportunities offered to me were endless, from winning the Linton Giles Memorial Cup, organising AUT’s first Diwali event, being chosen as a finalist for the AUT X-Challenge, becoming the regional winner and national finalist of the MYOB IT Challenge, receiving the AUT Edge Award and completing the CO.STARTERS entrepreneurship course.

“At AUT, there’s a drive to achieve, and that spirit is infectious. There was a lot of vibrant colour and enthusiasm within the student and staff culture, and a great mix of innovative ideas to explore. The culture within the AUT community is very supportive and student oriented. I’m glad I chose AUT – it was a beautiful, memorable experience.”

Her advice for other students is simple: don’t be afraid to try things.

“When you do things that terrify you, incredible things happen. Your mind is more powerful than you perceive. I get that it’s scary to try something new. Try it anyway.”

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