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Tanika progresses her career with programming

Wanting a career she could progress in, Tanika Cooper came to TAFE Queensland and got more than she expected.

"I wanted to study something that had future potential and work somewhere I could build a career, and programming was the most appealing," explained Tanika.

Her search for courses brought her to TAFE Queensland, as the Diploma in Information Technology (ICT50220) only took a year and was offered at the Bracken Ridge campus, not far from her home in Northlakes.

"Studying as a slightly older student meant I was conscious of getting into the workforce as soon as possible, and TAFE's short but intense study option was perfect for me," she continued.

"Additionally, my qualification was discounted through government funding, making my decision to enrol much easier."

After a seamless enrolment process, Tanika began studying towards her dream career, with her teachers and classmates helping ease her nerves from the first day.

"I was nervous about studying and managing the workload because I was expecting lots of work, but it was laid out fairly well. My teacher, Shaun O'Sullivan, had an infectious passion for programming that made life easy.

The hands-on nature of the training resonated with Tanika, and her skills began to blossom with every task and assignment, as did her confidence and ability to handle the course requirements.

"Because none of us had any expected knowledge, we went from the very basics of programming through to creating full-blown applications. Moving through it so fast was a lot of practical programming and exciting," she explained.

"There was always that moment of panic when we talked about a new concept, and it seemed daunting, but then in a few weeks, you'd realise that it was okay, and you understood it. So, my classmates and I kept reminding each other that we would always get there despite how complicated the programming was."

Also helping Tanika was the one-on-one training she received with her teacher, whose passion and accessibility ensured she could learn and apply her new skills and pass with flying colours.

"My teacher's passion and knowledge blew me away. He always had time to check in with me, which was good when learning something as complex as programming."

"One of the greatest things about his classes was his 'Friday Power Hours', where we'd learn extra industry insights. He was excellent about sharing things beneficial to know, like different collaboration tools programmers use and things that aren't taught in the course."

"He was always excited to discuss all things programming, that you could get stuck talking for hours after class."

Her teacher's passion for programming extended beyond the classroom and into the job market when he connected Tanika with Commonwealth Bank's Graduate program in Brisbane.

Through the program, Commonwealth Bank works with TAFE Queensland to give students and graduates a pathway to join CBA's Tech Associates and Graduate programs, creating employment opportunities for engineers, cyber specialists and data scientists in Brisbane's emerging tech industry.

"We had a Zoom meeting where the Commonwealth Bank people talked to us, and the teacher sat on that with us. He supported us when I was applying for jobs, and I could always ask for his advice, which was helpful."

Advice that paid off, with Tanika now working as a Technology Associate and cutting her teeth in programming with CommBank's Graduate Program.

"It's good but intimidating because I'm new to programming and the corporate world. But everyone has been welcoming, and I'm learning quickly. The speed of my course prepared me to keep up, and I remind myself that it’s stressful now, but in a few months, I'll understand it."

Tanika's training and job outcome has landed her exactly where she wants to be – skilled and confident while working in a big company with plenty of opportunities for career progression.

"Eventually, I want a senior full stack development position, which is a front end and back end. It’s a constant learning process to get there, but I'm in the right place to build my skills and learn new programming languages."

“Studying at TAFE helped prepare me for the real world. Taking advantage of my teachers' industry knowledge, I've fearlessly learned new skills and started a new career.”

“Just know that you may think you can't do it initially, but all it takes is having a passion for learning, and you'll get there," concluded Tanika.