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Tina Chen, Implementation Project Manager at ecoPortal

Dreams of becoming a Zoo Keeper took a back seat when a university internship led to a career in Software Engineering. Tina shares her career journey, dispelling the myth that software development is more of a solo pursuit rather than a team sport full of collaboration.Thanks for sharing, Tina.  

Firstly, how would you explain to a five year old what it is you do?

I talk to people and find out how they want the buttons on their computer to work, and then I try my best to make that happen!

And for the adults, what does that translate to in regards to your day-to-day?

I work with our clients to see what their health, safety, and risk management requirements are, and then work with the team to align our software system to meet them.

What are some of the common misconceptions about working in software engineering?

That all you do is sit at a computer and code all day. Whilst coding is a big part of the job, there’s also a significant portion that involves collaboration with other developers as well as other teams. It’s not just a solo activity, you really have to work together to deliver a project.

“As a kid I had always wanted to work with animals in a zoo, so a career in tech wasn’t on my radar for a long time.”

Was working in tech something you dreamed about doing as a kid, if not what was?

No, growing up, I would have never imagined myself to be working in tech. As a kid I had always wanted to work with animals in a zoo, so a career in tech wasn’t on my radar for a long time.

Tell us a little bit more about your career journey and ultimately about how you ended up working at ecoPortal? 

I actually started out at ecoPortal during my second year of university, I was an intern over the summer and that really gave me my introduction into the tech space. I was exposed to a lot of different parts of the business, from working on internal projects to parts of our client work as well. 

From my internship, I stayed on with ecoPortal while I completed my Software Engineering degree and then transitioned into a project management role after graduation. 

I’ve really enjoyed that transition from the implementation and configuration of our software to working directly with our clients and their requirements. Every project is different and it pushes you to think creatively to come up with a solution for each one.

Can you share some more insight into what that transition from university into working full-time was like?

While working part-time at ecoPortal in my final year of university, I was fortunate enough to be offered a graduate role with them. I found that this really helped my transition from university to full-time work and made it a smooth experience. I was already familiar with the company and had worked with my team before, so the transition felt natural and simply like a continuation of work.

What is it specifically that you like about working ecoPortal relative to your past jobs? 

There’s a lot of variety in the work I do, and I’ve found that the team here really supports you in finding out where your interests and strengths are. This has been incredibly helpful, especially coming straight from university into a field that’s so big with so many possibilities. 

Furthermore, I’m appreciative of the work we do here, where there’s a lot of focus in the health and safety area. It’s always great to hear how our software has helped businesses manage their safe work practices, and helped keep their employees safer.

“Tech is such a wide field and there are so many different areas to explore - you just have to find out what suits you.”

Do you have any advice for people considering tech as a career path and how they might get there quicker?

There are so many resources around, it’s a great time to get into tech. If there’s something that you’re interested in, you won’t have any trouble finding an online video or article about it. There’s a real sense of community in the tech space and a lot of guidance out there. 

I would definitely recommend people to make the most of all these opportunities and not worry if something doesn’t work out. Tech is such a wide field and there are so many different areas to explore - you just have to find out what suits you.

Lastly, ecoPortal continues to evolve.  What kind of candidates do you think ecoPortal is looking for in terms of experience, attitude and character?

Our work centres around people, so it’s important that we have open team members who are able to view our software from all perspectives. By understanding the issues that we’re solving, we’re able to continuously improve our product and end user experience. We look for people who are passionate and motivated about their work, and can bring that energy to the company.

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