Gaining experience and focusing on growth and curiosity: my graduate program experience at Telstra

My fascination with technology began during the COVID-19 pandemic; it seemed a natural fit for me. I began to realise just how crucial a role technology plays in helping people around the world keep their jobs, stay connected with loved ones, continue with their education, access healthcare, and much more.
Aanan Abdullah · 28 June 2024 · 3 minute read

From web conferencing tools, social media and all sorts of apps, I could see how indispensable technology was (and continues to be) especially with significant global disruptions around us.


The pivotal role of technology sets my career focus

Technology, to me, is a facilitator, connector, and a much-needed solution to a whole host of problems - that’s how pivotal it is in the modern world we live in. This realisation got me thinking about the value of an IT degree, and so, I pursued a Bachelor of Information Technology, majoring in cyber security at Deakin University in Melbourne.

I enjoyed immersing myself in my studies, and when I heard about the Telstra Graduate Program in my third year, I knew I had to apply.

I had been tracking Telstra in the news and understood they were on a massive transformation journey (known as T22) and then, they announced T25 - their strategy for growth. This was going to be all about delivering leading technology solutions and creating an attractive workplace and this resonated with my passion for innovation.

I saw this as a true-blue, one-of-a-kind opportunity to get in with a company right at the forefront of the digital world - how good is that! I was beyond excited and honoured when I went through Telstra’s rigorous interview process only to be selected for a technology consulting role.


A commitment to investing in women in tech

This was my very first full-time role, so naturally, I was a little nervous when I started, but the environment has been nothing short of professional, warm and welcoming.

My chapter-type leader has been so accommodating, doing everything she can to ensure I settle in well – this can be quite the challenge when you’re not in the office physically on your first day.

I noticed very quickly Telstra’s commitment to investing in women in tech – a significant number of the Technology consultants and software engineers in my cohort are women.

I had the privilege of hearing Vicky Brady share her inspiring journey to becoming CEO during one of the sessions she hosted for graduates. I found her story about Telstra’s support when she needed time off work during her cancer diagnosis, particularly heartwarming.


Aside from the amazing culture, let’s dig into the work itself

Working agile has allowed me to get experience in several different teams, and my very first team had me contributing to a software engineering and IT insourcing project. Our focus was on building Telstra’s in-house IP and transitioning our partner organisation employees to improve workforce attrition rates. While this project is more people-centric than about delivering a specific technical product, it has been an incredibly productive experience.

I have enhanced my communication skills, and while I was concerned, as a newcomer, that my ideas may not be taken seriously, my experience shows me otherwise. I am looking forward to my next rotation which will be more technically oriented.

In the short time I have been here, I can see the deep commitment Telstra has to the career development of women in technical roles.

I’ve applied for two female-centric mentoring programs: Lumina and Iconic Experience for Women in Technology. I start on the latter program this month; it’s a four-month initiative designed to help women overcome barriers and identify stretch opportunities. I also get Personal Career Development days every quarter where I can focus on specific skill development.

I am really enjoying my journey at Telstra so far. This is such a rapidly evolving space, and new trends and developments are emerging all the time. So you’ve got to continually enhance skills, acquire new ones, and keep working on diversifying your expertise.

If you’re a woman looking to pursue a career in this sector, be sure to embrace opportunities that push you out of your comfort zone. I know it can feel deeply uncomfortable but stepping outside your usual boundaries can reveal strengths you didn’t think you had and help you develop new skills. Who knows, you may even discover new career paths, so stay open, stay agile, and grow, grow, grow.

All in all, I’ve had an amazing graduate journey so far and I can’t wait for what comes next. If this looks exciting and interesting to you, it is! Take a look at the Telstra Careers site today.

By Aanan Abdullah

Technology Associate Consultant - Technical Program Project Delivery

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