Joanna explains how her degree in Computer Science has given her the opportunities to travel and work around the world.
Why did you choose Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington?
I chose Wellington’s University because it provided me with the flexibility to pursue a career in tech, but also allowed me to choose minors that aligned with my passion. I also really loved Wellington and didn’t want to leave the city, because I knew the tech sector in Wellington was really good—especially the internship opportunities.
How would you describe your student experience?
Busy. I had many opportunities open up for me, thanks to the University. I got to work for Google as a Google Student Ambassador in my first year, an intern for TradeMe in my second year, and worked for Spark in my final year. I also did a lot of great projects and was heavily involved in clubs. I made sure to balance my study with fun activities and things I am passionate about.
What was the most useful thing you learnt at university?
How to code. I learnt how to code at university and to this day it’s my bread and butter, and I’m living in the better half of the world because of it.
What sorts of opportunities did studying Computer Science open up for you?
Lots of job offers, great contracts, great projects, fantastic people to work with, but above all amazing companies—being able to work from abroad is a huge plus.
What have you been doing since graduating?
I’ve been working in the Cybersecurity sector. I worked for Spark as an Incident Responder, DevOps, and did some automation work for them. I currently work for Xero as a Security Engineer in the Defence pod—building tools to help stop people doing bad things to our customers. Xero allowed me to work overseas to reunite with my husband who was stuck in India due to the COVID restrictions. I’ve been out of the country for 7 months now and every day I am grateful to be with my family, and have an employer who supported me all the way.
How does life in Cebu compare to life in Wellington?
I lived in India for 6 months before moving to Cebu, Philippines. I love it here because I am surrounded by beautiful warm beaches with turtles, whale sharks, great diving spots, and amazing coconut water. I have a piece of paradise here, but great WIFI is something I miss, and my family and friends who are all in New Zealand.
What advice do you have for current students?
Don’t just immerse yourself in your study, do things that give you joy. Get yourself into clubs, join those tutorials and meet people. Think of university as more than just trying to get a piece of paper, but a season in your life that will be a memorable and fulfilling one.