What's your job about?
As an ASIO Technologists graduate I’ve spent the last year rotating through various tech teams in ASIO (before my permanent placement in data analytics commences). During the past year, I’ve worked on projects that provide in-depth tactical analysis to ASIO’s investigations; I’ve undertaken a forensic analysis of digital media; I’ve been exposed to our telecommunications interception capability (which the legislation provides for us to do); and I’ve been getting hands-on with cutting edge AV gear, in advance of it being deployed operationally.
What's your background?
I grew up living in Melbourne where I always enjoyed school and all that which came with it – whether it be studying or learning, or friendships and sport. It has always been important to me to maintain a good balance of curricular and extra-curricular activities.
I went on to study aerospace engineering, majoring in mathematical statistics, before completing an honours project. I also worked in hospitality all throughout university. Here I started washing dishes in the kitchen before working my way up through some more enjoyable roles.
I applied for the ASIO Technologist Graduate program after seeing it advertised on the ASIO website. At first, I wasn’t sure that my technical skillset would be applicable, but after talking to someone from the Organisation they assured me there are a number of positions which can really use my skills. I applied for the graduate position in February 2019 and started in early February 2020. The process takes longer than other graduate programs as there is a need to go through positive vetting for top-secret clearance. We were told that the wait was necessary but worth it – and now I am in, I can say they were 100% right. It’s even better than I expected and the opportunities are amazing.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Yes! Those taken into the ASIO Technologists Graduate program come from a really wide range of technical backgrounds and education. In my intake, we have electricians, software developers, computer science grads, network engineers and mathematicians just to name a few. If you have a tech background, the chances are that ASIO will be able to use it.
If I boiled it all down, the qualities we all share are probably a passion for technology and a commitment to generating solutions from it that will contribute to the bigger picture.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
Even as a technical graduate you are responsible for meaningful work and projects. Each piece of work you undertake contributes to ASIO’s mission and has the power to make a real difference in protecting Australians. The Technologist Graduate program also provides amazing opportunities to do lots of different things and, being a tech-head, the gear you get to play with is pretty cool too!
What are the limitations of your job?
Working in a security and intelligence environment means the workload can be rapidly influenced by external developments for which swift response times are sometimes needed and for which we sometimes work (but get paid for) some pretty odd hours. Also, the need for discretion when talking about your job is a bit weird at first, but it doesn’t take long to adapt to.
Pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...