Meet Mason, LAB3 Graduate Program 2023
On the way to becoming a Cloud & DevOps Engineer
Mason aspires to become an expert in Cloud & DevOps, and 6 months into the LAB3 Graduate Program 2023, he is well on the way. Mason appreciates the opportunity for learning and the space given for this to happen.
“I came from attaining a math degree and metaphorically speaking, my head had been in the clouds.” said Mason, who is deeply introspective and enjoys understanding how everything fits together.
Although Mason had taken some programming units at university, he nevertheless felt like an imposter when he first started the graduate program.
“In the weeks before starting, I felt incredibly under prepared. I thought about all the things I didn’t know, and I was quite worried about having to fill the gaping holes in my knowledge in my own time. But it turned out I was not expected to know all that much. The program gave me both the resources and the time to learn everything from scratch.”
The graduate program starts out with a focus on learning – so graduates can learn the foundations and gain work ready skills through attaining industry certifications. This is a bonus for people like Mason who do not have the strongest background in tech.
So why did Mason move from an abstract math degree to IT? Along with taking programming units during his degree, in his spare time Mason enjoyed learning about how computers worked—such as improving the speed of his laptop by changing the components or learning about how computers can talk to each other over the internet.
“I initially really enjoyed the thinking behind programming. As I learnt more about computers themselves, it was exciting to see how they worked and what optimisations could be done. I would describe my career choice as a gradual explosion of interest which culminated in my being adamant about working in tech,” said Mason.
During his first rotation Mason and two other graduates were placed on a project with a major client. They were introduced into the engineering practice of Cloud & DevOps and Mason relished the experience.
“The project seemed complex to start with and new to the workplace, there were so many new tools involved. Things like Github and Git and Azure DevOps with fancy pipelines. There were so many buzz words, and everything sounded obscure and mysterious,” said Mason. “But the pace and support meant there was space for us to learn.”
“What we thought was complex was broken down into simple steps and the tools also became familiar. At the end, it was satisfying to see how this approach made achieving the complex possible.”
In their first rotation Mason and his peers were guided by an ex-grad who Mason described as “pivotal” in ensuring how much they progressed in their capabilities. “She always made herself available and took the time to support us by explaining everything,” said Mason.
The exposure sold Mason on becoming a Cloud & DevOps expert and he requested to keep this as his area of focus for the rest of the graduate program. Mason is now with the Bedrock team and under the mentorship of a principal engineer, and he could not be happier. Of course, to be well rounded in his engineering exposure, Mason will continue being exposed to other practice areas (such as Security and Data).
Overall, in addition to learning there are two overarching things for Mason in terms of the immense value he has received from his involvement in the graduate program – the people and the flexibility.
Mason feels welcome to message people regardless of who they are and has been impressed that people always get back to him.
“There is a strong culture that it is okay to ask if you don’t know and that people will be happy to help. I see this happening and with a care factor for our wellbeing which I’ve noticed is rare from chatting with friends about their grad experiences elsewhere.”
Mason feels particularly grateful for the support he has received from his manager. “During my time at LAB3, one of my closest and most supportive relationships would be with my manager. She always emphasises the balance between work and life and through our fortnightly check-ins, ensures that I am well looked after,” said Mason. “Without fail she always asks whether there is anything I need that she can help with.”
Mason and the cohort of LAB3 graduates also in Sydney have chosen to work from home for most of the week and join each other in the office on a Wednesday.
“There is something immensely powerful about the freedom to work where you choose. I never feel I have to be anywhere, and this means I enjoy the times I go into the office. I want to be there.”
Mason also enjoys the flexibility in hours and although most days he works from nine to five, he can “move things around to attend appointments which really helps”.
Outside of work Mason prioritises spending time with his girlfriend and he also enjoys an active life, running, swimming, and playing ultimate frisbee.
“I make sure I look after my wellbeing – my body and my mind. I do quite a lot of journalling to process my thoughts and ideas, so I can work things out and express myself eloquently. It helps me stay on a path that I find meaningful – I am not so much competitive but interested in learning and growing,” says Mason.