“I wanted to look at the broken things – and find a way to fix them.”
It’s a desire to solve problems – and be able to take creative approaches to finding solutions – that has always made Emily Neuendorf love maths.
And it’s what led the newly-graduated network engineer to complete her Bachelor of Information Technology degree (majoring in Cyber Security and System Administration) at the University of Canberra.
“I’m a logical thinker, and Maths lets you operate in a very logical space,” says Emily.
“But at the same time, there can be many ways to solve one problem, and effective solutions require creativity.”
Building a network is like putting together a highly-functional puzzle.
“When you’re building a network, you have to figure out what kind of Wireless Access Points you’re using, all the different pieces of equipment that will be used. And depending on the different power levels and specs they have, you need to be creative in deciding how all these bits and pieces will fit and work together to get to a desired outcome.”
When she first embarked on her tertiary studies, Emily was drawn to the idea of teaching maths, and signed up to pursue a teaching degree.
“Six months into the degree though, I realised that my passion didn’t lie with teaching – instead, it was the IT aspects of my study that I was really enjoying,” she says. “I could see myself in the day-to-day, looking at code and networking issues, and having a go at problem-solving full-time!”
So Emily switched to a full IT degree – and says it was one of the best decisions she has made.
She enjoyed the course so much that it led to her receiving a Chancellor’s Commendation at her graduation. A Chancellor’s Commendation is awarded to the graduating student in each faculty with the highest Grade Point Average throughout their undergraduate degree.
“I joined UC because I’d heard that it had a much more hands-on approach to learning and a strong reputation for graduate employment and opportunities,” she says.
Sure enough, an internship with Datacom – as part of UC’s Work Integrated Learning approach – soon turned into a full-time job. “My internship was meant to be a year, but before it even ended, I got hired as a permanent staff member,” Emily says.
“Although my job is focused on solving problems and troubleshooting every day, still – no two days are alike,” she says. “That’s really important to me – to know that I am going to come into work every day and it’s not going to be the same all the time.”
Emily also does a lot of planning for network deployments, seeing the process through from start to finish.
“This job has really driven home the huge role IT plays in all our lives – and the consequent impact of the career choice I’ve made,” she says.
As focused on her job as she is though, it’s not all work for Emily – she spends four nights a week training in the competitive world of international All Star cheerleading.
“I’m on two teams – Anthem, which is a Level Five Team, and Sonic, which is a Level Six,” she says. “We attend about 10 competitions a year, and Anthem is training to go to the World Championships next year.”
Emily’s future lies in Canberra, where she was born and grew up.
“I’ve been in Canberra my whole life and I love it – plus I’m really enjoying my job and have a great team,” she says.
“I plan to stay with this company for at least the next five years, and get as much experience and as many opportunities as I can. I’m currently working at an associate level, so I hope to work my way up to a standard level in that time, then to specialise and move up to senior network engineering.”
Words by Suzanne Lazaroo, photo by Tyler Cherry.
This September, the University of Canberra would like to congratulate the graduating class of 2022.
We are so glad we can celebrate your journey – you have grown in so many ways, and risen to meet challenges with grace and creativity.
Many of you are already impacting your chosen fields, while others embark on the postgraduate study path.
We are so proud of you all, and we can't wait to see what you will do next.