Project support analyst

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Name: Alana
Age: Early 20s
Works for: Computershare

"If you study ICT you’re not stuck in one field. It actually opens up your options. I don’t think there’s any industry out there that would turn away a computer graduate."

Alana’s unique surname can be traced back to a tiny province of Scotland that boasts two things - Urquhart Castle and the Loch Ness Monster! Aside from playing netball three times a week, Alana loves shopping, seeing bands, following the Hawks and whipping up a mean spinach and ricotta cannelloni. She also is able to dive ten metres underwater with a snorkel!

Tell us where you work, Alana.

I work at Computershare as a Project Support Analyst.

Computershare is a leading global provider of share registry, corporate actions, employee equity plans and proxy solicitation services, with its head office in Melbourne. We also offer a range of other specialised communications services, including multimedia and printing services for the securities industry.

What do you actually do?

Wow. My job is so broad.

I work with the technology team testing in-house software. I coordinate company specific hardware and software upgrades, communicating between the Computershare business group and the programmers, to get the software into the systems.

I work on special projects, monitoring and setting up new banking applications, file transfers and payment files. I also get to work on some Corporate Actions. For example, when a company is going to float on the exchange and the client requests web services, I set up the websites so the public can apply online for shares or for a prospectus.

One of the largest projects I was involved in last year was the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China IPO – at that time the world’s largest float by value, raising over AU$20 billion. It was an international job - our offices in three different countries were involved in the project!

For the first time in Hong Kong, an online web facility was created for the public and supported in Sydney. Here in Melbourne, we processed online and physical applications files with an effective program created in house. Shareholder details are then sent out to the UK to be maintained on their system.

How do you feel working on computers?

I used to work in a café. I’d spend eight hours on my feet. I found the job mindless. It was so boring. Now I spend my day behind a desk and the time flies. I’m never bored. My mind is completely occupied and challenged. There’s always so much to do.

What do you like about your job?

Everything. The mental stimulation and the problem solving. The people are amazing. Everyone is so willing to help. It’s like an enormous family. The company is awesome too. I’m very happy and I feel very well looked after. I’m never leaving!

What’s an average day all about?

Every day is different. Working within product support probably throws up the most diverse range of problems to solve. There may be hardware issues, the software may not be working, accounts may need to be set up, files may need reconciling. It changes constantly.

That’s what I find so good here. Every day there is a new problem to solve. Every resolution is different. It’s not the same stuff over and over again. It appeals to my mind. I’m always thinking about things and I get real satisfaction when I nut something out.

If I didn’t want to sit in front of a computer there are still many other jobs out there in ICT that I could choose from. Music, film, fashion...it just depends what you want to do.

ICT. Where did it all begin for you?

I’ve always been interested in maths, science and graphics. As a kid I liked playing chess and Monopoly - counting up the money, working out which were the right houses to buy!

In Year 12 I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I had interests in sports, commerce and computers. I wasn’t sure which way to swing. I took a year off and moved to Queensland with a friend. When I came back I applied to Deakin University to do a Bachelor of Computing with a major in Multimedia.

I thought it was just going to be the graphic design part that I enjoyed but I discovered that I was a bit of an all-rounder. I enjoyed the compulsory Computer Programming subject so much that I switched my degree over, coming out three years later with a Bachelor of Computer Science and Software Development, majoring in Multimedia and Information Systems.

Is the money good?

Yes. Computershare offered me more than the basic graduate wage and that was great. But more than the money it’s the perks that I appreciate. Like the share plan and the gymnasium. Plus I’m getting paid to do something I really like.

Where do you see your career going next?

Maybe I’ll work overseas one day. Computershare has a presence in seventeen countries so it’s definitely an option to travel within the company.

What advice would you give to anyone considering a career in ICT?

Keep your interests in other areas as well, because you never know where it will take you. Even at uni, there are so many different electives you can take from a variety of faculties. If you study ICT you’re not stuck in a field. It actually opens up your options. I don’t think there’s any industry out there that would shun a computer graduate.

Find out more about this career path at myfuture.edu.au (new window) (Note: free registration is required to access the myfuture site).