Dale (pictured) grew up on the Gold coast, now lives in the Moreton Bay region north of Brisbane and has just graduated with a Bachelor of Information Technology (Network Engineering) in the Charles Sturt School of Computing and Mathematics.
He attributes his University Medal to the benefits and rewards of determination, grit and self-belief.
“I found it very challenging at times to balance studying and all the competing priorities in my life, but the University Medal is something I can show my children to demonstrate the benefits and rewards of determination, grit and self-belief,” he said.
When younger, Dale began an IT degree but then chose a technical apprenticeship with the Army, which took him all around the world and gave him invaluable skills and experiences that he cherishes.
“But I always had that nagging ambition to go back and finish my degree, and I started it up again in 2018 with more than a little trepidation but thankfully I found my feet eventually,” he said.
“After doing my research, I found that Charles Sturt University was rated highly in information technology and was the largest online provider in the country.
“The Bachelor of Information Technology (Network Engineering) is a fantastic degree that prepares you for your future as an IT professional while also allowing you to specialise and tailor your degree to your aspirations.
“The degree itself has a great mix of theory-based courses and those that enable you to conduct practical real-world activities that are expected of IT professionals.”
Dale studied online because his previous job required him to travel around Australia while he was doing the bulk of his studies.
“You could say I lived out of my suitcase more than anything else, and I chose to study at Charles Sturt University because it provided flexibility,” he said.
“As a husband, a parent to two young men, and a full-time worker travelling all around the country, I needed my chosen university to not only provide great training but to provide a flexible, online learning platform that could be as malleable as I was trying to be.
“In no way could I have achieved what I have without the love, support, encouragement and patience of my beautiful wife Jo, she was there when I needed her, which was often, I can’t thank her enough.”
Dale is currently a Systems Engineer with a large Australian bank, where his team handles all the networking infrastructure for the corporate environment, including its stores and subsidiaries.
“It’s an incredibly dynamic, fast-paced and challenging job that encourages technical autonomy and continuous self-development, something that I look for in whatever I do,” he said.
As for what might be a dream career for him, Dale said, “Honestly, I think I’m living it.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have travelled to faraway places like Afghanistan, Dubai and remote Australia doing everything from structured cabling, routing/switching, cyber security, and satellite and radio engineering.
“Ultimately, any career that keeps me challenged and engaged and allows me to have the time I need to enjoy my family and friends is a dream to me and as much as I could ever hope for.”
His advice for future students undertaking his degree is that the IT industry is so diverse, challenging and ever-expanding that “ … the spoils are worth the effort”.
“No two days will ever be the same, so you’ll never be bored,” he said.
“Academically, I’d say the most useful bit of advice would be to have the confidence to continually ask questions, refine requirements, and not expect to know everything all at once.
“Like all things, it’s a process, and if you’re conscientious enough, that process will serve you well in whatever you do and wherever you go.”
While not ruling out further formal postgraduate study, Dale presently intends to focus on and master some of the emerging technologies within his industry, such as the internet of things (IoT) integration, software-defined networking, and cloud-based infrastructure.
Given the University’s graduations have been postponed this year due to COVID-19, Dale plans to wait until next year to do anything to formally celebrate.
“But we’ve definitely celebrated heartily and consistently already,” he said.
“We celebrated my final assessment, getting my grades back, and the final confirmation that the degree was going to be conferred ̶ it’s getting a bit much actually. I think we are just looking for any excuse to whip out the cheese and wine at this point.”
Charles Sturt remains committed to rescheduling its 2020 graduation ceremonies in 2021, with dates to be announced when COVID-19-related restrictions allow.