18 Jun Students engaging with industry – Viliami Finau
Among our allies out in the IT industry, Techtorium is lucky enough to count Ryan ‘The Lion’ Ashton – Founder of the networking event A Few Quiet Yarns (AFQY). Recently Ryan offered our Level 6 Systems Administration student Viliami the chance to attend 2019’s Digi_X conference with him. Digi_X is where New Zealand’s tech industry leaders gather to share stories of transformation, innovation and real-world uses of groundbreaking technologies in business.
Viliami (At the very top of the photo in the middle) found himself in rare company as a set of distinguished speakers shared experience and perspectives about where they believe the future lies and how technology is going to shape it. The theme of this year’s conference was Change and each speaker was able to offer a unique insight on the topic. Speakers included Rashida Hodge, Vice President of IBM North America – Insurance Industry, Victor Yuen – FaceMe Director of Design, Huia Burt – Co-founder and Director of Electric Kiwi and many more industry leaders and innovators. Topics that were presented ranged from AI’s real-world applications, the role of diversity in the shift from analogue to digital culture to the future of work itself and more.
The event made an impact on Viliami who describes it as a ‘mindblowing experience’. Along with insights into how IT industry leaders see shifting technology changing life and the workplace, Viliami got a rare chance to network and interact with them. Rather than stick with the one person he knew in Ryan, Viliami took the opportunity to actively seek out and engage with the other influential people around him. Ryan reports feedback about Viliami was all positive, with many impressed at his willingness to interact and build networks.
Along with some valuable time spent networking with IT industry giants, Viliami was able to gain some valuable insights into how people at the forefront see the IT industry evolving. An overarching point that he took away was the changing face of AI and the role it will play both in and outside of work. Along with the aforementioned topics of diversity and the analogue to digital culture shift, presentations included how to handle change in a business context and using blockchain for automating processes. Blockchain particularly interested him for its ability to both privacy and transparency while users and consumers control their own data.
Overall the conference was a hugely positive experience for Viliami. No doubt he will carry the knowledge and insights from these tech leaders into his own career going forward and they will play a role in his development. His willingness to interact with industry influencers and shapers bodes well for him. Ryan let us know that Viliami has already made positive impressions on the people that he spoke with at Digi_X and we have no doubt that he’ll continue this positive trend when the opportunity arises.
Thanks are due to Ryan for allowing one of our students such a unique and positive opportunity. Ryan will be hosting another AFQY event on the 27th of June. Finally, a big thank you to Viliami. It took hard work to be given the chance to attend the conference and when he got the chance, he took it and did a great job representing both himself and Techtorium.