With a degree in geography, Masters in entrepreneurship and experience developing and operating an award-winning tourism venture, Matt needed convincing that tech was the change of direction he needed to open up his career opportunities.
"After completing my Masters I was constantly told I was overqualified or didn’t have the experience when I was applying for jobs. I reached the point where a complete direction change was clearly needed, so I started looking at options."
Matt's partner came across SHIFT and he soon discovered the tech industry was more than just "typical IT help desk positions - obviously the tech industry is much more than that! The more I looked into SHIFT, the potential career opportunities it presented was a big draw card."
Drawn by SHIFT's short duration and industry placement component, Matt joined Christchurch SHIFT in 2019 in Christchurch.
"The small class size was a huge bonus and the studio didn’t feel like a typical study space. Lecturers were able to spend one-on-one time too, which made it so much more engaging. You would never get that in a usual large lecture setting."
Matt also worked on an industry project with the Ministry of Education, and relished the opportunities SIGNAL offered through connections to the local tech industry.
"Working on a real problem and being able to present it to the Canterbury Director of Education was definitely a highlight. I was also able to work on a personal project for my capstone project, with the help of Datacom in Christchurch, which would have never happened without SIGNAL."
During COVID-19 Lockdown Level 3 and 4, Matt was completing his industry project and also signed up with three SHIFT classmates for the three-week Smart City Christchurch Hackathon, supported by Christchurch City Council Smart Cities Programme and Ministry of Awesome and run through Te Ōhaka - the Centre for Growth and Innovation which is hosted by and at Ara.
"We were asked to develop a smart solution for smart water management, and put together the concept of a smart water meter that let residential water users monitor their water use and avoid charges for excess water use."
Matt and his team won the Hackathon with their application, Flow Watch. The council liked the concept so much that they have invited the team to run a pilot study of the system.
"Working as a team to develop something that’s useful for the environment and the wider community, have definitely been the highlights for us all", said Matt. "We’re now working part-time on the development of Flow Watch out of Te Ōhaka. But my eyes are open looking for a full-time position in front end development, business analysis or who knows what else come my way!"
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 email@example.com or call 0800 99 00 24 for a chat about tech opportunities and pathways.