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SHIFT Profile: Christine Chambers

Monday April 6, 2020

Christine Chambers was in her final year of a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Genetics, when it dawned on her that she needed to either start looking for a job, or look into further studies to enhance her degree. "I wasn't sure what career path I wanted to have and was pretty stuck for ideas on what to do."

2019 SHIFT Graduate, Christine Chambers

After hearing about the SHIFT programme through a friend, she decided to look into it further.  "I imagined SHIFT would be a good opportunity to learn something new, but that it could also be linked in with my degree. It was also a one-year programme - I Iiked the idea of learning some tech fundamentals in such a short period of time."

But it was the style of learning that SHIFT offered that appealed most to Christine.

"I really enjoyed the mix of university papers with Industry Projects. It really helped develop a lot of skills that you don't learn through a university paper. The teaching style is also very different - you have people you can go to for advice/help whenever you need who are highly skilled in tech and really want you to succeed in what you do."

Christine Chambers, alongside her project team, deliver their SHIFT Industry Presentations

SHIFT's 200-hour work placement completed late last year was the highlight for Christine, who spent five weeks at Airmed with mentors, Dr. Manjula Devananda and Benoit Auvray

"I was able to work on a data science project and learn a lot of valuable skills related to working in a tech team, and especially the importance of self-motivation and asking questions! It gave me the opportunity to apply the skills I had learnt throughout the year. Dr. Manjula and Benoit provided me with a great learning experience and I took a lot away from it."

Kylie from Stantec (left) worked with the SHIFT team to develop a survey platform to be used for widespread data collection through the AA drivers group later this year. Congratulations to Christine, Terence, Tahlia and Mark.  — Image by: Kylie Jackson

While Christine studied out of the Dunedin studio, she was offered a position with New Zealand's largest general insurer, IAG in Christchurch immediately after completing SHIFT. She is part of the Group Technology graduate team, and will spend the next 18 months on 3-6 month rotations within different teams in their tech department. 

"My first week I was lucky enough to go Sydney for a company orientation week.  Now I’m back in Christchurch, it has been super full-on with lots of learning. My current rotation is learning how to do software testing, specifically API's and I am really enjoying it!" 

Asked if she would recommend the SHIFT programme to anyone interested in getting into the industry she said, "Yes definitely! SHIFT enabled me to get a foot in the door to the world of technology. I would have never expected to leave university and get a job straight out of uni within the tech sector, but here I am!"

As Christine continues in her position with the Group Technology team at IAG, she plans to "learn heaps and get involved with as much as I can to develop my career."

The next SHIFT intake starts in July in both Christchurch and Dunedin, so if you or someone you know is keen to add tech to their existing degree or make a change in career, get in touch with us at info@signal.ac.nz or call 0800 99 00 24 for a chat about tech opportunities and pathways.  

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