Developing a career in IT

Jia KeatnuxsuoQ&A with Jia Keatnuxsuo

Master of Information Technology graduate (2019)

Jia is a thriving tech optimiser, a STEM advocate, TEDx speaker and multi-award winner of Women in Technology Western Australia 2019, the NASA Space App Challenge, Energy Hack, Transport Hack WA and UWA Innovation Challenge. Jia works at Microsoft, empowering her customers in the mining and oil and gas sector to do more with technology.

You’ll often find her involved in community events that increase technology accessibility and inclusiveness to underrepresented groups, such as encouraging other women to come into tech and inspiring disadvantaged students to be curious and confident in the world of STEM.

Jia is an IT generalist whose superpowers are learning new technology and smashing Microsoft certificates. Staying current in the world of fast changes, she strives to be 1% better technically every day by cultivating her abilities through persistence and effort.

What aspects of working in IT do you most enjoy?

I live to learn and I love passing on my knowledge of technology to others. Technology is ubiquitous and domain-independent, which could be a double-edged sword.

Yes, it has changed our lives – we can do things faster, cheaper and better – but for those who don't have access to technology or have technology working against them, how can we ensure that the underrepresented groups aren't left behind?

We have never been in a better position of closing this disparity in entire human history. I want to spend my entire life ensuring technology is accessible and inclusive for all.

What do you love about your job?

The most fulfilling aspect is the challenge. Being thrown into the deep end and having to upskill ALL THE TIME. It's almost impossible to be in the tech industry and not learn new things every day. The industry is ever-changing, which is the most interesting part of my career. I have no idea where it will take me but I know it will take me far away from where I am today. I dream of influencing the whole technology for the state or even at the country level.

Reflecting on your time at UWA, what experiences were most important for your development?

The gender gap challenge the Master of Information Technology presented was a big push for me to complete my course. It's so important to where I am today. The lack of females in this field was the drive in the development of learning and completing the degree. In a world of fast changes (as well as in the ever-changing field), the course content in technology doesn't matter much because things get outdated quickly.

However, transferable skills such as research, problem solving, networking, communication and presentation that I got out of the course, its projects, innovation challenges and internships are far more valuable to me. I'm equipped with the right tools and skills that enable me to empower my communities, customers and beyond.

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