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Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO)

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Aiya

Aiya studied Bachelor of Engineering (Software) at University of New South Wales and is now a Technologist Graduate at ASIO

7:15 AM

After sleeping through my first two alarms, I finally get up and face the morning.  The Canberra ‘traffic’ means I will still end up in the office well before 9 am even if I had slept another 15 minutes, as I want to get away earlier today to take my dog to the dog park. (I definitely don’t miss the set hours of retail).

8:00 AM

Final check of the phone for texts before heading into the office.  Getting through physical security checkpoints at work can feel time consuming, but the cheap, dedicated parking on site more than compensates for it. First check of the emails to see what happened overnight and who is in the office today, some days are busier than others.  COVID means we are currently all still in the office, although we do keep our distance and ensure that anyone that feels evenly remotely unwell is appropriately tested and has a negative result before returning.

8:30 AM

Coffee time!  I meet the other graduates in the internal café to quickly grab a coffee before we go our separate ways.  I love not having to travel out of the office to get coffee and food. 

8:40 AM

Stand-up time! I work in a team that uses some aspects of Agile, mainly daily stand-up’s and a Kanban board, to keep track on what people are working on each day and see if there are any blockers that others can help with.  Today, I’m going to see if I can derive some information from certain records we receive from an external provider.  We anecdotally suspect they periodically may not be meeting their obligatory requirements, but it’s hard to say without looking at a larger number of records.

9:00 AM

Stand-up over, time to get down to work.  I realise the three screens and two mechanical keyboards are probably overkill, but you need to be comfortable when at your desk, right?  I’ve started with writing some scripts to collate the data I’m interested in and filter out records that are not useful to us.  I’m starting small, and will run it while I go to my meetings this afternoon, with hopefully some results to come back to.

10:05 AM

11 warnings and a KeyError, that might explain why I’m not getting any data.

11:30 AM

Data is being collected, processed and showing that some providers are taking four to five times longer to provide information than their counterparts.  I’m going to expand my sample space before heading off to lunch.

12:00 PM

Lunch time! Back to the internal café, they’re doing a Poké bowl special this month.  It’s a nice day so we sit outside for once, taking advantage of the warm Canberra weather while we can.

12:30 PM

Back to the desk, and one of my colleagues is trying to figure out why a build is failing for testing.  I’ve got some time while waiting for my script to finish, so I sit down and we debug it together.  We help each other out as we’re all working for the same mission.

1:00 PM

Off to an operations meeting, where a number of Intelligence Officers are determining how they want to gain additional information on a subject of interest.  There has been chatter of dangerous activities being planned around Australia, and hopefully the information we retrieve through this operation will provide insight into the exact specifics so that it can be swiftly mitigated.  Employees from technical areas are brought in to provide insight into the suitability of actions from a technical standpoint, and I’m along to both understand the process and contribute.

3:00 PM

In what I considered a small miracle (yes, I’m known for my self-deprecation), my code worked and we now have a number of statistics and pretty graphs and further evidence that the provider in question has an issue with select records.  Time to clean the output up, document the process and take this to our external engagement leads.

4:00 PM

A quick desk chat with our engagement leads who handle the relationships with our providers.  They suspect remedial action may be required.  While it is late today, the first job for tomorrow will be organising a time to meet with the external providers and get to the bottom of the issue.

4:15 PM

Time to get away from work.  After trying to figure out the minimum number of doors that can be taken to escape the office, I head home to take my dog for a walk and get ready to head back out.

6:00 PM

The graduates have decided on dodgeball for tonight and select nights over the next 12 weeks.  While I don’t think I’d be the first pick for the team, I’m not fazed as there will be another sport to join after this one I’m sure.

7:30 PM

Burgers and beers to lick our wounds post dodgeball, looks like I wasn’t the only uncoordinated player.

9:00 PM

Back home for a shower and relax before bed.  I think I’ll watch Spycraft on Netflix…