Age: Early 20s
Works for: IBM End User Services, Ballarat
"To work in ICT doesn’t mean you have to sit in front of a computer all day long. It means you have to use one."
Damian started working when he was 14 years and 9 months old as a lifeguard at the local swimming pool. When he’s not swimming Damian likes to play the drums and drive fast cars (but not at the same time!). He loves music and listens to a lot of hip-hop, rock, techno/electric, jazz and even swing. Damian’s currently in the process of trying to organise a new drag strip for Ballarat.
Tell us what do you do for work Damian.
I mostly do work for IBM in Ballarat for End User Services. Within IBM I service their Westpac account, taking calls from Westpac employees and trying to solve their software and hardware problems. Staff may call from anywhere within Australia or from overseas - Singapore, Fiji, London...It may be the simplest issue in the world or it can go on for days. Someone’s password may not be working and needs resetting or perhaps there’s been an earthquake in Taiwan and 250 staff can’t access the server. I’ve seen it all!
I am also a consultant, so I work for four differently places. I work at Leading Edge Computers as a Tech and in Sales. I teach Networking and Hardware courses at the University of Ballarat. I’m also part of a Mentor Program at the uni, helping out First Year students in the first six weeks of beginning higher education with their study issues, living arrangements and even social events.
ICT. Where did it all begin for you?
I was very clear about going into ICT. Computers were always a hobby. When I was very young I completed my first LAN (Local Area Network) party, an event where people come together with their personal computers, link into a network and play games. Later I hired out the Buninyong Town Hall for another LANS extravaganza. It took me three months to save up the money to put the thing together - to get the network, the cables and the power set up. About 40 of my mates and heaps of other kids came together for a three-day stint!
I love computers. It’s just a natural thing for me, even more than swimming. It’s part of what makes me, me.
Did you study?
After Year 12 I went to TAFE where I got a Certificate IV in IT. I then went on to do a Diploma at TAFE. As part of the course curriculum I took on an actual job for the Ararat Prison, completely redesigning their computer system, from terminals to network to the computer itself. Learning about the correctional services definitely made me decide to keep on the straight and narrow! I left TAFE with Cisco Certificates in Web Design and IT and finally graduated with two more Diplomas in IT and Internet Working.
What do you like about your job?
It’s fun and challenging. There’s lots of personal interaction. I speak to clients as well as physically having people around me. I like who I work with. I consider everyone I know within IBM a friend. We chat and have fun.
I also love the freedom my job gives me. Working four or five separate jobs allows me to know the latest in everything that I do. Doing lots of different things keeps me sharp.
What’s an average day all about?
As well as these jobs I work nights at IBM on the Help Desk. I take calls and solve computer problems. I write documentation. I organise training for new staff. I’m also what we call a SME (Subject Matter Expert), an individual considered an expert in their field and a point of contact for major issues.
What skills do you need for your job?
IBM hired me on the basis that I had no specific skills but a fair whack of experience behind me - hardware, networking and industry experience. It also helped that I had been working part-time in a computer shop, fixing computers. Most importantly I’m very much a people person. I have good communication skills.
What about the money?
The money is ridiculously good if you want to work for it. I’m 21 and have just bought my own house. Everything that I own I’ve bought off my own back - my house, my computers, my car. Ever since I was young I’ve always wanted a VL Commodore Turbo. I’m very close to being able to afford one.
Do you ever get bored?
Essentially my job at IBM doesn’t change but the skills required to do the job well are changing all the time. The equipment and the software are constantly evolving. It’s a challenge to stay ahead of the industry.
The concept of being chained to a computer is completely false. To work in ICT doesn’t mean you have to sit in front of a computer all day long. It means you have to use one.
I’ve gone beyond the whole ‘computer nerd’ thing. It’s a ridiculous stigma. I know I’m not like that. I’ve got more friends than I’ve got time for. I’m very successful in what I do. And I’m financially better off than anyone I know.
What advice would you give someone thinking of a career in ICT?
Computer skills are always going to be valuable. There are a million different jobs out there waiting for you. Try everything. Your skills can take you anywhere. It’s easy to move if you want change. I love cars and mechanics. I’ve been thinking once I finish my Honours about going back to TAFE and doing a Cert in Light Automotive. This would allow me to use my computer skills on car engine management systems.
Find out more about this career path at myfuture.edu.au (Note: free registration is required to access the myfuture site).