We have just returned from Graduation at Wagga Wagga where it was great to talk to the graduates at a dinner we organised to celebrate 10 years of the CSU – IT Masters partnership. One of the common factors that many Graduates brought up was the value of support of their families & friends in successfully juggling study, work and family. The CSU Chancellor also recognised the critical role that family support plays in student success when at the end of the graduation he asked all the graduates to stand up and applaud their families.
Adjunct Senior Lecturer – Charles Sturt University
Chief Executive Officer – IT Masters Pty Ltd
In this Edition:
- 10 Year Celebration Dinner
- And this Year’s Top Graduate is …
- Are you Eligible? How much Credit would you Qualify for?
- Esky Winner
- Lecturer Profile for our Windows 8 Developer Subjects
10 Year Celebration Dinner
To celebrate a decade of partnering with Charles Sturt University, IT Masters hosted a dinner as part of this year’s Graduation at Wagga. A total of 105 attended including Graduates and their families, as well as staff from CSU including the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Head of School and Course Director. It was a fantastic night but the highlight was hearing from all the Graduates about how they managed to juggle study and their plans for the future.
And this year’s top graduate is…
With an amazing Grade Point Average of 6.67 (out of a possible 7) including four High Distinctions and two Distinctions, this year’s IT Masters Prize winner is Frank Siemons. Frank missed Graduation because he had to attend a far more important event – the birth of his daughter,who decided to arrive a week early!
Q: What prompted you to decide to study at CSU?
A: I made the choice to study at Charles Sturt University based on the fact that the IT Masters program was based on Distance Education and had a strong focus on the area of IT Security.
Distance Education was my only option, because I have a very unpredictable and sometimes quite demanding job as on IT Consultant. My working hours vary from 40 to 60 hours per week with very little notice. This would not work with a full-time, in-class study.
I have always found Security to be the most exciting area in the world of Information Technology. The challenge to secure a perimeter against a range of possible attackers while keeping this in balance with the need for a productive environment, can be very exciting.
These 2 for me important factors made me decide to study with CSU about 2 years ago.
Q: Can you give a description of your current job
A: I currently work as an IT Consultant for Viatek and I am based in Ballarat (VIC) at the ICT West branch. The daily activities range from troubleshooting networks, firewalls and anything related, to the sales and implementation of new software and hardware. Most of this work is done on-site in Victoria and sometimes even Interstate and in New Zealand. As I mentioned above, the job can be very demanding at times, but it provides different environments and many challenges every day. Since my graduation I have also started a job as a Security Researcher for a US-based Security blog. When I find the time, I research and document security-related items, which are then published online. I guess this is a great way to continue my security interests while I am even getting paid for it.
Q: Has the course had any effect on your career path?
A: The course is very focussed on the security area. My work mostly takes me to small and medium sized business, where security hardly goes any further than possibly a password policy. I have been able to push quite a few changes through, although as people in the security field will know, this is never met with great joy by end-users. The study has enabled me to explain the risks within an IT environment and the options to mitigate these risks, in a more articulate way and to come up with more creative solutions. Because I am happy with my current position and the arrival of our second baby in December, I have not planned a change to a fulltime, specialised security role. My activities for the security blog will enable me to remain active in the security area for now.
Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced in completing your study?
A: By far the biggest challenge, which any student will agree with, is the time factor. Working weeks from 40 to 70 hours, while having a baby and a second one on it’s way is a struggle. Our son arrived when I just started the study. Quite often, I would take him out in the car in the weekend for a drive, so I could study in the car while he was asleep in the back. This would give him and my wife a rest, while I could catch up with my reading. During the week, I often had to study very late at night, because my work would be finished and my son would be asleep. This has not been easy and I think anyone in a situation like this should be grateful for their entire family who also sacrificed quite a bit of time along the way.
Q: What drove you to achieve such outstanding results?
A: I was actually quite surprised with the results. Especially because English is not my native language. I moved to Australia from the Netherlands 6 years ago. I guess because of my time limitations, I was extra motivated not to fail any subjects due to a lack of effort that I put in.
Q: Which subject did you find the most rewarding?
A: I actually really enjoyed both Digital Forensics (ITC597) and Network Security (ITC593) for completely opposite reasons. Digital Forensics is a very practical subject. It teaches students how to outsmart someone who is trying to hide information by using many tools and practical methods. It is very close to being a cat and mouse game, but in such a way that it keeps an eye on the legal processes that set the rules.
Completely opposite is Network Security (ITC593). It is very theoretical and it touches some serious mathematics here and there, when it explains encryption processes. This subject really challenged me at times. The moment you receive the study book and have a first look, it can be quite scary. Not a lot of it makes sense initially and yes, most of it you will need to know a few months later. It is very rewarding when a few months later the resulting grade turns out to be fine. What more can you ask for?
How much Credit would you qualify for? Are you Eligible?
Fill out the online form at Am I Eligible? and we will get back to you with answers to these and any other questions you may have.
And the Esky winner is…
In the last Newsletter we announced that as part of the celebration of the years of the CSU IT Masters partnership, we would be giving away one of our infamous motorised eskies to one of our students.
Congratulations to Master of Information Systems Security student Leilani McDowell, whose name came out of the hat as the lucky winner!
Lecturer Profile for our Windows 8 Developer Subjects
The Master of Systems Development has undergone a major redevelopment and 2 of the new subjects that have been included are:
There may be people in the industry better qualified to teach these subjects than our latest lecturer – Nick Randolph – but if so, I haven’t met them yet! Nick’s achievements and experience include:
- Being awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional in recognition of his work and expertise with the Microsoft mobile platforms.
- Authoring multiple books with the latest being Professional Visual Studio 2010 and Professional Development for Windows Phone.
- Helping judge multiple world finals for the Imagine Cup.
- Active contributor in the device application development space via his blog at http://nicksnettravels.builttoroam.com and Visual Studio Magazine
- Leading industry speaker who has presented at a variety of events including TechEd, MEDC and Code camp.
- Owner of Built to Roam which focuses on building rich mobile applications.
- Has worked on numerous Windows Phone applications and helped hundreds of developers build their own Windows Phone applications
- Helped build Windows Phone applications for Domain.com.au, ninemsn, AFL, NRL, Qantas, JB Hi-Fi and NAB.