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Career sneak-peek: A day in the life of a Monash IT IBL student

By Monash Faculty of Information Technology in Easy Reading
7th of June 2021
A day in the life of a Monash IT IBL student

The Industry-based Learning (IBL) program offered by Monash Faculty of IT (Monash IT) has been the benchmark for work-integrated learning for 30+ years. Now is your chance to discover why IBL is so rewarding from Commerce and IT student Belinda Chan – who completed her placement at Monash Tech School.

 

8:30AM: THE START OF A NEW DAY

During IBL, Belinda’s work day started at 8:40am.

Monash Tech School resides at Monash University’s Clayton campus. It exists to investigate, engage and champion future STEM skills, equipping partner secondary school students and teachers with the industry capabilities needed for the future.

 

9:00AM: MORNING HUDDLE

Before starting any projects, Belinda attends a morning briefing with the Director and all staff members. These everyday huddles contribute greatly to Monash Tech School’s collaborative culture.

‘We start with a general chat, as a way to ease into the day and also get to know each other. Sometimes we go around in a circle and each say one positive thing from the week to boost morale. We really like this structure.‘

During the morning huddle, Belinda shares what events and tasks she has planned for the day, as well as recommendations and changes for her project. Senior staff also raise any urgent matters or important news.

 

9:45AM: MEETING

After the morning huddle, the three IBL students meet with their supervisor and go into more detail about what they plan to achieve in the day. It’s also a good opportunity to chat about any roadblocks that are stopping them from kicking their goals.

 

10:00AM: PROJECTS AND PROGRAMS

Monash Tech School is currently focused on teaching high school students cybersecurity skills, so Belinda’s project is to build an educational 3D video game to achieve this. It’s called the IBL Cryptogame.

A day in the life of a Monash IT IBL student
Game start menu

 

Her responsibilities mainly involve gathering requirements, UI/UX design and 3D modelling. In her role, she draws heavily on the knowledge she gained in her Business Information Systems major – but also learns many new things through hands-on work.

‘I’m able to use a lot of the theory I learned in practice. I feel like I’m able to really apply what I’ve been taught, especially in designing the game and improving it after people have tested it.’

Belinda’s team has a dedicated software engineer and computer science specialist from the IBL program, who both work on back-end coding. They routinely gather with their work to piece their project’s puzzles together.

We do a lot of research into cybersecurity and think about different ways we can challenge students of all different learning abilities. We started off really easy and went a little bit harder, but we always make sure that overall, the game is doable and students can still gain something from it.’

The day in the life of a Monash IT IBL student
The final scene of the video game – called “The CEO Room”

 

Belinda and her team discuss a range of aspects, such as what the game should look like in the end, before coming up with basic user interfaces to build. Afterwards, she refines the design to make it more suited to the overall theme and improve usability.

‘When I create 3D models and decorate scenes, I look on the internet to see what kind of themes would suit the game and make it more engaging for the player. We all work on managing the project, and even follow some frameworks from the workshops we’ve seen from Monash Tech School to improve our processes.’

A day in the life of a Monash IT IBL student
One of the puzzles of the video game – inspired by binary numbers used in computing systems

 

To deliver the project, the team uses popular game development engine Unity, as well as Maya for 3D modelling and Canva to design the 3D interfaces.

Secondary school groups also regularly visit Monash Tech School for programs. During these times, Belinda offers support with technical issues or understanding concepts. She also helps with setting and packing up.

A day in the life of a Monash IT IBL student
The tutorial scene of the video game, styled to resemble a real-life office

 

12:00PM: LUNCH TIME

To work at Monash University’s Clayton campus means there’s always plenty of places to eat, Wholefoods, Pappa Rich, Guzman y Gomez, Sushi Sushi – to name a few.

There are also many areas to relax with colleagues, such as the infamous Lemon Scented Lawns, Monash’s in-house cinema and campus centre.

Even more convenient, Monash’s onsite chemist, grocery store, hairdresser and other amenities means Belinda never has to go far to get just what she needs.

A day in the life of a Monash IT IBL student

 

1:00-5:00PM: BACK TO THE PROJECTS

Although Belinda and her team’s main focus is the cybersecurity game, they also have projects for Monash Tech School’s other stakeholders.

For example, they need to develop a prototype for a medical imaging company. This process involves meeting with the client, understanding their requirements, conducting research and developing the prototype. It’s right in Belinda’s ball court, having majored in business analysis.

‘Monash Tech School wants us to use our disciplines to create and teach material that can prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow. When we did reach a point where we had to prioritise our projects, we’d organise our tasks based on the meetings and deadlines coming up.

Another key thing we have done is run workshops for John Monash Science School where we had the opportunity to teach in our area of expertise. Mine was data visualisation, so I guided students on how to use Python to create different graphs and charts. The students found this to be very enjoyable – some of whom even considered using this skill for their high school project.’

 

Final thoughts from Belinda

A day in the life of a Monash IT IBL student

Although I’ve enjoyed everything about the IBL program, the main highlight has been just being part of Monash Tech School.

The culture is so warm and collaborative. We’re able to approach each other without having to feel like we need to be super formal.

Together, we embrace a lot of new ideas. The staff are really open-minded and creative. And I think that’s how we always come up with new ways to teach programs and concepts to students.

Before starting my placement, I didn’t even know that tech schools existed. I think my IBL experience has been a good eye-opener to what a job in the public sector might look like.

I’ve been able to work on skills that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to work on before. And I’ve learned what a work culture should be like, how to be part of a great team and collaborate with different people and their ideas.

‘Because the IBL program is 23 weeks, you can really immerse yourself in a work environment and learn about the different technologies used. You can also expand your network and develop a better understanding of different roles and where they can expand in the future.

Your placement counts towards three units in your degree and on top of that, you get paid for it through a Monash IT scholarship. So there’s an extra incentive to do it.’

 

About Monash IT

Ranking in the top 100 for Computer Science and Information Systems (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2021), the Faculty of IT is part of Monash University – one of the best universities in Australia and the world.

Home to leading academics across the field, including data science, AI, human-centred computing, cybersecurity and more, Monash is the destination of choice for a rewarding and modern education in technology. We’re also active champions of equity, diversity and inclusion, particularly in the areas of women in STEM, Indigenous engagement, LGBTIQ+ rights and accessibility for those living with disabilities.

Known for delivering hands-on, industry-focused learning, we’re educating thousands of students and we’re proudly connected to over 38,000 alumni across 155 countries.

If you would like to study at Monash IT and help break the mould – apply now!

 

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