2009 winner - The Outstanding Student Award
Professor Theo Van Leeuwen
and Steven Briffa
Can you describe your current job?
I am currently employed as a Web Information Analyst at Macquarie University. I am part of the web projects team which includes web programmers, web designers, information architects etc. Together we tackle large projects that involve hundreds of websites and people located throughout the campus and beyond. I mainly help organise large volumes of information from different sources and assist in delivering these via the web. This can involve various processes from user analysis, content auditing, development of site information architecture, to wireframes, and so on. It is always challenging and dynamic. I really enjoy working with intelligent people who are passionate about delivering high quality services for the university. Despite the attention to detail required and importance of the work we do, we still manage to have fun as well - it's never boring!
What student achievements helped you win the award?
In the last year of our studies we worked in groups to develop digital libraries for a variety of real clients. My group's client was our faculty at UTS and we developed a digital repository which we prototyped and finally presented to the faculty. After completing our studies we were employed to continue work on the prototype we had designed further enhancing its functionality and adding the finishing touches to its web interface. Using an innovative approach to problem solving and challenging the limits of both our technical skills and the tools at hand, we strove to expand the capabilities of the system we were developing and create novel solutions. This was for me, one of the most valuable experiences I had during my studies.
How have you used the content of your degree in your occupation?
I have found that the skills and experiences I gained while at UTS have been tremendously useful when applied in the workplace. I have worked in academic library roles and in information architecure/ web related roles and believe UTS provides a perfect balance of theoretical and applied coursework. The bar is set high when it comes to outcomes and students consistently exceed their own expectations due to the quality of the material and staff delivering it. UTS provided me with up to date professional skills that can be applied in a large variety of contexts giving me the foundation I needed in order to embark on a career in what is a diverse and hugely dynamic field of work.
Where do you see your career and lifelong learning heading?
In an industry as diverse and dynamic as Information Management you need to keep your skills as broad and up to date as possible. No two positions or projects are alike and lifelong learning is therefore an inevitable requirement. Right now my passion is in information architecture for the web but I am also interested in the production of digital libraries, interface design, user experience, usability testing, and more. I'd like to continue developing and refining my skills both in terms of formal study and via experience in the workplace. There are so many interesting areas to explore and learn more about, so I'm keeping all options open.