Matt Lowman’s career path has already taken some interesting turns, but something the IT student knows is that work integrated learning (or work experience) has helped him on this journey.
Now in his final year of a Masters in IT, Matt spent some time with UWA’s Cyber Security team to increase his skills and knowledge in this ever-evolving field.
“My first degree was in chemistry, and after I graduated I worked as a chemist engineer for BHP. This is when I was first really exposed to code and programming.
“Everything on site was robotic and I found it really intriguing and interesting, and it definitely sparked my interest in the area,” he says.
From this experience Matt was given the opportunity to get involved with BHP’s data warehousing and analysis and headed to UWA to formalise these new-found skills.
“Going back to university wasn’t a difficult decision and it’s proved to be a really positive step. For one, I’ve been able to build networks that I know will be really useful when I’m back out in the workforce
“It was through these networks that I was able to arrange the internship with Cyber Security and it was an invaluable experience.
“I was given the opportunity to develop my skills, while building my knowledge of how IT systems work on a large organisation-wide scale,” he says.
Matt was particularly interested in learning about how a university helps keep its students and staff safe online and one major outcome of his internship was to conduct a series of cyber self-defence workshops with students.
“I think it’s a really important message. As students we don’t really think of ourselves as being targets to online scams, we don’t have assets or big bank balances.
“But we’re usually quite casual in our approach to cyber security which make us easy targets,” he says.
Matt says the opportunity to present to his peers on this important topic was a good experience and he hopes he was able to help kick-start some good cyber habits with the group.
“Like creating any new behaviour, it takes about 21 days for them to become a habit. So while it may seem like changing your passwords regularly for example is a hassle, it’s all about switching your mindset.
“The internet isn’t like a bank, where we trust our money to be kept secure. It’s important we all take responsibility for our own information,” he says.
“My Masters at UWA, coupled with the work experience opportunities I’ve had are preparing me well for a career in IT security. For any student wanting to get some real world industry experience, I’d definitely recommend an internship.
“I was able to set mine up through networks, however UWA’s Career Centre has a website that outlines all the formal opportunities that are available,” he says.