A Switch in Time

CAREER CHANGE A university languages lecturer shifts careers to get greater certainty in the IT industry

THE APPLICANT Name: Geoffrey Jenkins Former position: Senior lecturer, University of Melbourne New job: Network engineer and level 2-4 support, KORE Wireless FOR more than 18 years, I worked as a senior lecturer in classical Semitic languages and Early Judaism at the University of Melbourne.

I actually completed a degree in Physics and Applied Maths but my interests grew in this field after working in Egypt for a number of years, publishing my PhD as well as a book of my own.

I’ve been working with KORE Wireless since 2008.

I started as a contractor before becoming full time in 2011 and over this time I have worked in a number of areas within the company.

I currently spend my time across two roles at KORE Wireless – network and applications engineer as well as level 2-4 support for KORE customers. Being employed in both roles means all advanced queries that require extensive background research come through to me, as I am constantly maintaining and enhancing the applications that we provide.

I made the decision to change careers because the courses I was teaching started to become less relevant in today’s society and saw decreases in demand.

Because these areas of learning are confined to such a specialised audience, I needed to turn to another area of my expertise which was programming, something I had been doing as a side project along the way.

As you get older, it does often become harder to fall into another role that you equally enjoy and to find a business that requires another rather specific set of skills. Luckily for me, changing my career so late in the game, I had known Shane Murphy (vice president, KORE Wireless Asia Pacific) for a while and I was able to fit straight into the team.

I’ve always wanted to maintain what I enjoy so much and that drive to continue to explore and discover still stays with me.

I’m still planning to eventually return to Egypt to uncover more historical artefacts in the coming years.

THE TRAINER Name: Dr Khin Than Win Position: Acting head of School of Information Systems and Technology, Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences, University of Wollongong.

The skills workers need: The misconception that IT professionals will only be looking at the machine and coding needs to be changed.

The industry needs individuals with a hybrid skill set. Skills in demand include higher-level analytics, process and project management and an understanding of user-centric computing and technology. Another misconception is IT is only for men; however increasingly women are playing key roles.

Network engineers need to identify appropriate network design and management methods for solving enterprise needs and play an important role in the infrastructure of industries and government.

THE EXPERT Name: Katina Michael Position: Associate Professor, School of Information Systems and Technology, Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences, University of Wollongong.

Skills workers need: Problem solving, understanding real-world network problems, the ability to understand multiple technologies (for example, wireless and broadband), be able to absorb new technological advancements and incorporate them into everyday tasks, and specialise in a given area of networking depending on the context of one’s interest. You can choose from a range of degrees such as a Bachelors of Information Technology (Network Design & Management) in the School of Information Systems and Technology or a Bachelor of Engineering (Telecommunications).

THE EMPLOYER Name: Shane Murphy Position: Vice president, KORE Wireless Asia Pacific What we look for:I don’t tend to focus on resumes as they often don’t tell you about who a person really is, except obliquely.

Conversing with someone directly will always give you a better indication of their personality, values and work ethic. Interviews are best when they are kept to the basics – what does the candidate enjoy about their current role, what motivates them, what do they expect from such a role. If the right attitude is there, skills can be taught and applied.

For employees such as Geoff, who are regularly dealing with b2b sales and communicating with our customers, it’s about having someone who is motivated and interested in helping others.

Citation: Staff, August 16, 2014, "A switch in time", Daily Telegraph, p. 73.