‘Swinburne offered the ability to connect with others who are passionate about the application of technology,’ says Chris Dilger, a graduate in Swinburne’s Bachelor of Computer Science (Professional) 2020 cohort.
Chris is the founder of the newly established Swinburne Leadership Hub, which began over a coffee catch-up with Bachelor of Computer Science (Software Development) student Dan Ferguson. After hearing about Dan’s initiative Helping Homes, which offers housing to those escaping bushfires, Chris was inspired to create a space to share his friend’s success.
‘We knew there were other leaders looking for a home for leadership. So, we set out to validate and develop somewhere that leaders could experiment, learn and grow,’ he says.
The Swinburne Leadership Hub is an online space where students and leaders can share their projects and successes, in addition to finding collaborators. As well as their website, they have a community on Slack to share the latest opportunities, events and resources.
The experience of a lifetime
Chris’ favourite part of studying at Swinburne was getting to know like-minded students who created communities, clubs, not-for-profit organisations and apps.
‘I believe strongly in the hands-on and applied nature of the Swinburne experience. What stands out for me is the perception that a Swinburne graduate knows not just some theoretical ideas but can translate a concept into something tangible if given the support and resources to thrive.’
Chris completed an industry-based placement at a Swinburne-led data consultancy, The Data Experience, while studying. The Swinburne Innovation Precinct’s startup gave students real-world experience to develop their skills for their future career. During the 12-month paid placement, Chris and 11 other students attended a consulting boot camp, learned methods for project management and practiced doing so with a wide range of clients.
‘As a team of students, we built solid portfolios of work showcasing our ability which led all of the students in the program to employment in their final year. As ridiculous as it sounds, the IT industry in Melbourne isn't that big, and getting to demonstrate your skills so early is a real game changer.’
Chris also went on two overseas exchanges – to Swinburne’s Sarawak campus in Malaysia and Northeastern University in Boston in the United States. During these experiences, he gained valuable skills in probability, data science and algorithms, in addition to experiencing a different kind of university.
‘While in Boston, an intensive weekly study load permitted weekends off road tripping and getting to know the other exchange students while visiting the snow and rural farmland in a hired Tesla,’ he says.
Chris is now enjoying his role as a Senior Engineer at information, technology and services company Versent, where he spends most of his time using Amazon Web Services to build applications, process data and create better understanding of how technology can create solutions in Australian enterprises.
Currently happy ‘learning the tools and processes to bring new things into the world’, Chris doesn’t have a clear career path in mind but has bright hopes for the future.
‘I’ll be successful if there are a lot of people who have something in their lives that I’ve helped to bring into existence.’
Chris hopes that future students ‘honour the struggle’, in the words of leadership author Brendon Burchard.
‘Everyone has their own story, and I really like hearing about those who are striving to get better every day,’ Chris says.