Why working at Telstra has been the most enjoyable part of moving to Australia

From my summer internship, to my grad days, to now, I have always been surrounded by people who are happy to share their knowledge with me, explain things to me and support me when I want to learn something new.
Akansha Pandey · 01 July 2021 · 4 minute read

Moving to Australia has had its challenges, however working at Telstra has never felt like one of them. I work with amazing people here, and I’ve made some great friends. I quickly picked up on little nuances of working in Australia when I started, while still bringing my culture and experiences to the table. Diversity is welcomed with open arms and I have so much fun working with my team.

My role right now is as a Security Technologist in the Cyber Security Enablement team, which manages our risk and governance.

Discovering Telstra

My bachelor’s degree was in computer science engineering. When I first moved to Australia, I did an internship with KPMG and worked for a short while at IBM, before doing a Master’s in Information Systems at the University of Melbourne.

I found out about Telstra’s summer internship program through a grad talk in my first year of my Master’s. When I spoke with the team I realised Telstra is heavily invested in empowering and encouraging women in STEM, which is very close to my heart. I could also see how much Telstra values its employees’ physical and mental health and I really wanted to be part of the team.

Since being here, I’ve had the opportunity to work in areas such as Cyber Security Risk & Governance, the Security Operations Center and Telstra Labs. I have also worked on an AI ethics pilot project.

Other projects include helping to develop a machine learning model for a COVID-19 related project and leading a project to test the fairness of an AI system by developing a digital human (humanoid). On top of this, I am currently working on a 5G project.

My Team

My team’s responsibility is to secure data and help prevent unauthorised interventions. We identify, manage and safeguard data, information and assets.

We assist in investigating potential cyber security risks and contribute to the continuous improvement of Telstra’s cyber security environment by using best practice tools and techniques, and providing input into the development of security policies, standards and procedures for multiple technologies.

Our team culture is collaborative and open. Everyone is always ready to help each other out. When I was a grad in this team (pre-COVID), we all would go for coffee regularly and have monthly team-building activities like bowling or playing pool. This makes work that much more fun and I always looked forward to going to the office. Now, with all of us working from home, we get together on Fridays via Teams and have a strict ‘no work talk’ policy. We play a lot of online games and there is a lot of fun and laughter.

Growth and development

I am very passionate about what I do and I am always willing to learn and grow. I constantly seek opportunities to increase my knowledge by talking to subject matter experts (and learning from their experiences), and attending workshops and conferences.

The biggest piece of advice I have for anyone in this field is to stay current: I have made following cyber security blogs and news sites a part of my daily routine. Cyberspace is constantly evolving with changing political scenarios, technologies, natural disasters and of course, the pandemic. COVID-19, for example, has led to a significant increase in cyber attacks.

I also upskill myself by doing courses and certifications. Telstra gives us a lot of support here. We have really good platforms for training on anything you can think of, and vendor partnerships provide workshops.

Telstra is a big organisation, so opportunity is everywhere. I have worked in three different teams, two completely different areas and across numerous projects. I have had such a wide range of experience by being here. One of the best things I have discovered is that if there is something in particular that interests you, you name it and you will find a piece of work in that field somewhere at Telstra!

Are you interested in learning more or applying for the Summer Internship Program? You can find out more information here.

By Akansha Pandey

Information Security Specialist

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