With a fascination of internet networks, international student Chinmayi is living her dream

“I’ve always been fascinated by how networks work!” says Chinmayi enthusiastically, when asked why she chose to study a Master of Science (Network Systems). “I’m not sure if you remember asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) connections, but back in India, this was the type of internet connection we had. And whenever it was down, I’d jump at the chance to pull apart the cabling and check the sockets.”

It's no surprise that Chinmayi followed her passion and is now a proud Enterprise Support Network Engineer at Australia’s leading national broadband network (NBN) internet provider Aussie Broadband. Here, she deals with technical network resources, assists and advises clients, and configures managed services. She credits Swinburne’s lecturers, course content and real industry experience for ensuring she was more than prepared for the interview that landed her the job.

Meet Chinmayi
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Thriving with Swinburne

“I worked hard in my classes and my lecturers were extremely supportive. So, in my third semester, I was recruited as a networking help desk tutor,” she said. That tutoring job (which she still holds!) required her to assist fellow students with assignments. To do the job well, she had to make sure that her own knowledge was impeccable. That extra effort equipped her perfectly for the responsibilities of her Aussie Broadband position.

At the start of her university search, Chinmayi made a shortlist of both American and Australian institutions. But why did she choose Swinburne? “The courses at most other universities were general in nature. On the other hand, Swinburne allowed me to focus on the area I was interested in – network security.”

She believes that Swinburne also gave her the real industry experience she needed to thrive in her current role. “Most units (classes) I took involved team projects. This made it feel like I was practising in a real workplace. For example, in my final project, I teamed up with others to answer a brief from an external client.”

  • International student Chinmayi (Master of Science - Network Systems)

    Learn everything you can. It will be really helpful when you join the culturally diverse Australian workplace.”

    Chinmayi , Master of Science (Network Systems)

Tackling the real world

The Internet of Things-related project required her team to design a home automation system that would maintain the dwelling’s air-conditioning. “If it was already cold outside, the system would know to cut back its cooling efforts. If no one was in the living room, it would automatically turn off the air-conditioning in that area,” said Chinmayi.

Her team prototyped the system and presented it to the client mid-semester. The client provided them with feedback and suggested modifications, which they took on board and implemented within the deadline. As a result, her team received positive feedback and she scored a distinction for the unit!

Via the project, Chinmayi also feels that she learnt much about collaboration and navigating differences of opinion. “In groups, it’s so important to listen to other people and try to work things out. It helps us improve on ourselves.”

Looking into the future

That leads into a piece of advice she has for other international students – don’t let your shyness hold you back from meeting people who have come from other cultures. Says Chinmayi, “Learn everything you can. It will be really helpful when you join the culturally diverse Australian workplace.”

And what’s next for her career? She’s currently upskilling her knowledge in Fortinet and Cisco Meraki enterprise security products. She also hopes to become a senior network engineer and join Aussie Broadband’s network operations centre (NOC) – a centralised location where the company’s services, databases, firewalls and network can be monitored 24 hours a day. Beyond that, she’s open to opportunities anywhere in the world. Now, that’s a next gen attitude.

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