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SHIFT Profile: Mark Cousins

Wednesday March 18, 2020

When Mark Cousins finished his Bachelor of Music at Otago University, he was looking for a way to transition into and expand his skills in tech. Having some basic experience building and maintaining PC's in his down-time, and providing tech support to his family and friends, Mark enrolled in SHIFT in 2019 and was excited at the possibilities that were on offer.

"I could see the hands-on experience that the programme, and especially the Industry Projects, provided were going to be paramount to both my enjoyment and preparation for professional IT life. SHIFT was the chance I needed to up-skill as well as build upon myself." 

During Mark's studio projects, he was the main web developer for an online survey comparing image files of zebra crossings for global infrastructure firm Stantec, to be used by the Automobile Association NZ, using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. His second project included parallel development, testing and team liaison to develop an app for use by field officers for the Canterbury Regional Harbourmaster. The third project involved an interface design study, to create a secure medical messaging application.

"SHIFT allowed me to gain important new skills as well as build upon existing ones too. It was both some of the most stressful yet rewarding days of my entire university experience! 

In preparation for his 200-hour industry placement, Mark interviews with local industry experts during SHIFT's 'speed networking' event

Buoyed with his new tech skills, Mark was eager to get started on his final 200-hour industry placement, and a match was soon made with one of Dunedin's largest law firms, Gallaway Cook Allan. Jamie Vaughn, IT Manager for Gallaway, worked closely with Mark and the feedback on completion of his placement was very positive:

"Mark was a great fit with the GCA team, but above all his work ethic and attention to detail was highly impressive. The assessment and recommendation of potential business solutions that Mark has put forward through his Project are already assisting in shaping our strategic plan and decision making for our future IT development."

Mark was offered a job with Inspire Net as IT Technician, based in Palmerston North, immediately after completing SHIFT. It has been the perfect pathway for Mark to transition into a career in tech and turn his hobby into a reality in 2019. 

"SHIFT has allowed me the opportunity to work full-time in the tech sector, only one year after graduating from my music degree. The very reason I'm now working in tech, can be attributed to the program - I don’t think that I would have had the confidence to even apply for my current position if it wasn't for SHIFT!"

If you or someone you know is keen to make a change in career or turn their hobby into a dream job, 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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