July 1, 2022

Grads: Are you still seeking the secret to a thriving tech career?

Tech Grad program

Looking for a new opportunity?

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Are you interested in working on one of the largest infrastructure projects in Australia? 

Do you want to begin your career with a company that boasts plentiful development opportunities? Are you hoping to find somewhere with flexibility, and a collaborative purpose-driven culture? 

Introducing nbn: the team behind the design, build, and operation of the nbn® broadband access network.

The nbn® network has changed our Australian way of life. Just over ten years ago it didn’t exist – yet now the nbn supports so much of what we do every day. 

It’s changed the way we do things…  

  • People struggling with health can get help hundreds of kilometers away, 
  • Businesses are tapping into new markets, and
  • The hard work has been taken out of working from home.  

The network has become the digital backbone of our country – but it’s capable of doing much more, and it’s nbn’s job to unlock that potential – and that’s where you can help, because it’s only with great people they can make a great difference.  

nbn has a continuously evolving culture that celebrates diversity and encourages everyone to contribute to reach their full potential. 

The company is passionate about supporting graduates to achieve career success through their 18-month graduate program. 

Get to know one of nbn’s grad mentors, Anna Seider, and graduates, Daisy Clarke and Madelaine Hall, who share all there is to know about succeeding in a tech grad program.  

Tell us about your favourite part of your role. 

Anna: I’m a grad program mentor and Executive Manager Commercial Programs at nbn. I love connecting and collaborating with people throughout all departments and levels to achieve great outcomes together. 

Daisy: I’m a graduate currently completing my final rotation. My favorite part of my role has been working across multiple teams and helping them save time by recognizing where similar or useful projects are underway. 

Working in different teams has also given me an understanding of the business I couldn’t have gained otherwise. And it’s been great building friendships with other grads. 

Madelaine: I’m a graduate too, but I’ve just started my first rotation. I’ve loved receiving support from my co-workers in learning how to use nbn technologies. It started from day one! 

What does the tech grad program entail? 

Madelaine: You receive three six-month rotations catered to your preferred areas, a mentor and buddy for support, and development workshops (that focus on things like managing priorities, building your personal brand, and presentation skills).  

Daisy: You receive so much opportunity – far beyond what you receive in typical grad programs. The teams are so open and supportive. I’ve been able to design my journey, put my hand up for extra opportunities, balance my workload, work across multiple teams, and be trusted with ownership of important projects. 

What attracted you to this tech grad program? 

Madelaine: When I first got an nbn connection, my download speed went from 15Mbps to 50Mbps. As my hometown was upgraded, I became so interested in how nbn technology worked behind the scenes.

I was attracted by nbn’s reputation for designing, building, and operating Australia’s National Broadband Network. As a graduate with a specialization in network engineering, I couldn’t think of a more interesting place to begin my career.  

Tech Grad program

Daisy: I was studying a double major at university (cyber security and big data). I loved both areas but wanted to see how they translated into careers before I chose my path. The ability to choose rotations based on your skills is a major advantage. 

In every interaction, it’s clear the experience of grads, and people, in general, is critically important to nbn. The supportive, proactive culture made me want to join. 

What experience have you gained in your rotations so far? 

Daisy: During my first rotation, I was responsible for two projects: adding a security scanning tool to data and warehouse pipelines and creating a proof of concept for redesigning our data science. It was a highly technical role – work I’d never dreamt I’d be capable of!

During my second rotation in enterprise security, I worked with the security awareness team, threat intelligence centre, threat detection team, and assisted with a strategy update project. Each team uses different timelines and working styles. I got to experience the breadth of ways we work at nbn

I’m completing my final rotation in security program management and resilience, working with the team to define the security strategy for our IT systems and managing projects to enable it. 

Madelaine: I’ve gained so much knowledge about fibre-optic telecommunications technology. Specifically, knowledge about how Gigabit Passive Optical Networks (GPON) deliver broadband network access to customers. This wasn’t something that I was taught in university. I learned it entirely on the job! 

What type of support do grads receive in the program?  

Daisy: You receive support from a mentor and buddy, from team managers, and colleagues inside each rotation, as well as your graduate cohort. Workshops are also a great opportunity to learn important skills. 

Our cohort share learnings, socialize through dinners, virtual social nights, weekly catch ups, monthly presentations, and more. We talk about our roles, experiences, and overcoming challenges. They also introduce you to influential, supportive leaders in the business.  

My relationship with my mentor has been invaluable. Mentors are senior leaders in the business, and you get to define what you want to achieve from the relationship. You can get their advice, work on self-development, and develop new skills. My mentor asks thought-provoking questions to expand my perspective and helps me reflect on progress. 

My buddy and I quickly became good friends. She supports me, answers my questions, and helps me reflect on my experiences. 

I’m proud to have my own grad buddies now and provide them the same friendship and support that was given to me. 

Madelaine: We receive so much support. I had meetings with my buddy three months in advance, which meant I had someone to ask questions and form a friendship with before my start date. My mentor has been so helpful in giving me valuable advice to help me attain my career goals.

You also receive support from all your co-workers, managers, and people from other departments. I knew I’d made the right decision to work here when I was able to start contributing to my team using knowledge I learned on the job. I felt like my contributions were making a difference.

Anna: As a mentor, I’m passionate about supporting grads. In fact, I still mentor two grads who finished the nbn program last year, and work directly with one of our current grads. 

I love seeing people grow and nurturing them to achieve their potential. You get to focus on someone, build that connection, be vulnerable by sharing your own story and challenges, and help them on their journey – professionally, and even personally.  

nbn offers a range of professional development opportunities for employees, including coaching, mentorship and more.

Find out about this and other employee incentives and benefits.

What motivates you in your role? 

Daisy: Definitely, our purpose. Many regions in Australia with smaller populations haven’t had reliable internet access or speed. But nbn aims to provide reliable internet service to all of Australia – despite infrastructure and economic challenges. 

Because the internet is so essential, people in the company connect with this social purpose. Here, you’re surrounded by purpose-driven people who value helping others, and this shines through our culture. It’s a warm, supportive community that I’m so proud to be part of. 

I was blown away by my first manager’s genuine interest in helping me find my passion, do meaningful work, and receive a great experience, tailored to my interests. He suggested ideas for projects that would interest me, as well as other fields. It wasn’t just about what I could do for the team, but what the team could give me in terms of skills, experience, and development. This has been the hallmark of all the team leaders I’ve worked with throughout the business! 

I’ve learned so much during the grad program, both technically and personally. 

How can grads have a real impact? 

Daisy: The opportunity to have an impact has been so much more than I imagined. 

I’ve improved deployment pipelines to increase security for our big data lakes and warehouses. I researched and produced a report assessing our susceptibility to phishing drills across the company. I’ve coordinated cross-company stakeholders to refresh our cybersecurity strategy. I’ve recently been tasked with assessing our key security needs, managing aspects of projects for our ongoing security development.

Madelaine: In my current rotation as a network engineer, I’m given the same tasks as my co-workers. For example, I recently performed robustness, assurance, and performance testing in a system integration testing environment on a new type of line termination card used in FTTN (Fibre to the Node) connections. 

Anna: All our grads are incredibly hardworking, committed, and are capable of reflection. They also dare to be vulnerable. Those who have a real impact proactively offer suggestions, use critical thinking, aren’t afraid to fail, and connect with people beyond their immediate team. 

What advice do you have for future tech grads?  

Anna: Grab opportunities that come your way and step outside your comfort zone – such as by attending meetings that interest you or participating in workshops. It’s the perfect time to learn, try, fail, and grow. 

Daisy: You don’t need to know everything! Say yes to everything that interests you. You won’t know if you like something until you try it. 

When I started, I had a clear plan to pursue rotations in line with my majors. But working with so many teams allowed me to learn my areas of interest, as well as different ways of working. 

There was one particular area I wasn’t sure I’d be interested in, as I didn’t know much about it. But I went for it anyway and, surprisingly, it was the type of work I chose to pursue in my final rotation. It was a great lesson in seizing opportunities. 

Take the time to get to know people. It’s so reassuring to ask people about their journey and discover they’ve stood in your shoes. You’ll gain a new friend, mentor, or someone you feel comfortable to call on if you get stuck. They’ll give you a new perspective and help you stretch outside your comfort zone. 

Madelaine: Don’t be afraid to reach out and start a conversation with anyone in the company – particularly if you’re not sure what to do in your next rotation. Send them a message, ask about their team, and find out if it’s the right fit for you! Express your interest in nbn’s 2023 Grad Program. Applications open from 27th June 2022. 

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About the Author
Jacynta Clayton’s career started in recruitment advertising and employer branding, working with global clients to create and deploy strategic and creative content. Now she combines her industry experience with the knowledge from her psychology and professional writing degrees to write unique and resounding stories. As a WORK180 storyteller she relishes the opportunity to elevate the voices and experiences of so many amazing people, while also empowering and educating audiences on how to choose a workplace where they can thrive.

Looking for a new opportunity?

Our transparent job board only has vacancies from employers we endorse and lets you see what benefits, policies and perks come with the job. Check out the latest job vacancies with nbn