ChannelLife NZ - The final furlong

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The final furlong

With the inaugural Diploma in Computer Technology coming to a close, the ACE students refl ect on the course and prepare to take their newfound skills to the workplace. But with a fair amount of catch-up work to do and their fi nal and most important exams on the horizon, they can’t relax too much just yet.

By the time you read this, all of the ACE Diploma in Computer Technology students should have fi nally completed the course. At the time The Channel spoke to ACE students, Michael Lovell and Shayna Bryers, both were just a couple of weeks away from putting the study books down and looking forward to the future. Bryers was about to take on some extra for-experts-style work in the form of a voluntary exam. “I’ve fi nished my two compulsory exams, but we had the option of taking an additional exam, which is the next level up and the equivalent to the MCSE 2008. So I’m planning on doing that at the end of next week,” she said.
Lovell, on the other hand, was as we left him last issue: still playing catch-up. He had three exams to go, which presented the extra challenge of revisiting old coursework on top of getting his head around the most recent material.

“I’m finding it tough because I’m going back to previous [topics],” he began. “I’ve basically done two, three courses since, and I’m trying to sift through my brain and unlearn things. It’s a bit frustrating.”
Even more diffi cult is the nature of the content that he was preparing for at the time. Bryers grimaced as she recalled her experience with the same troublesome material. “It’s all case study-based, so you have to learn six or seven pages of information and then you have to decipher from that information how to answer the questions,” she explained. “But you’re under a time limit as well, so you’ve got to do that four or fi ve times with different case studies.”
And it’s not a very forgiving time limit, according to the students; reportedly, they have roughly 10 to 15 minutes to answer a series of questions after a brief window to read some seven pages of detailed text. “Then you’re given another case study that you have to read, memorise and become familiar with and then answer a couple of questions on that and move on to the next one,” continued Lovell, noticeably a little daunted by the task that lay ahead.

While Bryers and Lovell agreed that such high-level networking scenarios would allow more time for research and consultation in the workplace, the challenge really does develop the students’ ability to quickly identify the key aspects of any given problem and to fi lter out the unimportant details. But even though it’s preparing them for situations they ordinarily environments, the pair puts it down to the fact the exams were originally designed for people with industry experience.
“It’s kind of hard in a way, because even to do your MCSE, you’re supposed to have experience, but to get a job, you have to have MCSE, but then you need the experience as well,” explained Bryers.

The twosome also took the opportunity to reflect on the course, and why they consider themselves fortunate to have secured jobs in which they will start immediately upon graduation; a luxury not afforded to many graduates. “It’s just fi nding that person that will give you that opportunity,” mused Bryers.

Although Lovell has been too busy to give it much thought, he plans on heading out of town away somewhere for a week and just chill out, and then come back to Auckland and start work.”
Bryers is still uncertain of exactly what her duties will entail upon beginning work with Microsoft, except that she’ll be “working with the engineers and the consulting teams”. Lovell, on the other hand, has already been tasked with at least one assignment. “I’ll be learning about a company that Axon supports and helping that company, so I’ll be joining a team that’s already doing it.”

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