“The Xtend programme from SIGNAL is about
more than just work – it really engages you personally.”
Mark Oliver loves the creativity and problem solving aspects of software development and the beauty of making ‘something out of nothing’.
“It’s like building a house but with no nails and glue,” he explains. “Over time, you learn to work with people and teams – and get the opportunity to understand and solve real world problems.”
Mark’s current role is Manager – IT Development for Motor Trade Finance in the Dunedin Head Office. After graduating with a BIT from Otago Polytechnic in 2001, he cut his teeth at SmartMedia Solutions for five years before moving to AbacusBio Ltd. There he worked as a software development consultant for over seven years, working with local businesses and on Agritech software projects.
Recently the chance arose for Mark to further his education through Xtend – part of a suite of programmes offered through SIGNAL – the South Island ICT Grad School.
Xtend is tailored to each professional’s background and interests, and allows people already working in the field to gain an advanced qualification.
“I signed up not just for the skills,” he says, “but because it’s a compelling and attractive opportunity being able to build on my skillset, while at work.”
Participants in Xtend work with the SIGNAL team and their own employer to identify a strategic challenge within their workplace. Mark’s project is about effecting organisational and practical change around product and software delivery.
Initially, Mark saw the benefits of the programme as being mostly for his company, but now he finds himself enjoying a personal journey.
“It’s given me greater job satisfaction – it’s all about you as a person and practitioner. The Master of Professional Practice you earn is a bonus. But it’s also made me even more passionate about my work – and more effective.
It’s an opportunity to gain confidence and clarity – further your education without having to sacrifice your work or personal life.”