Career Options Panelist Q&A: Laura Trevenna, Engineer, Telstra

Laura Trevenna graduated from La Trobe with a Bachelor of Electronic Engineering and Master of Biomedical Engineering in 2014 she now works as a Senior Device Specialist with Telstra. Laura will be a panelist for the Career Options Panel in Engineering on Wednesday 7 August at La Trobe – register today.

MyLaTrobe: How did your course and your time at La Trobe prepare you for the workplace?

Laura: I enjoyed understanding how things worked as well as problem solving at school, so I thought I would enjoy engineering at University. My mother is also an engineer and always spoke positively about her work. She often had flexible working arrangements to suit her lifestyle, as well as many working overseas opportunities – both of which were appealing to me.

My course at University allowed me to build on my problem solving and communication skills, which are two key skills which help me succeed in my role at Telstra today.

MyLaTrobe: Are there any aspects of your degree that have proved particularly important in the workplace?

Laura: The most important aspects from my degree were learning how to go about solving problems as well as understanding my learning style. I have found these aspects more useful than learning about any particular technologies, given technology is rapidly evolving and requires engineers to continually learn throughout their entire career. Once you know how to problem solve effectively and learn quickly, you can apply these tools to any technology or field of engineering.

MyLaTrobe: After studying Engineering, you landed a role with Telstra, can you tell me about the steps that you took to land this role after graduating?

Laura: Having a range of experience through engineering internships, part time jobs while studying, and a year working in the Biomedical Engineering field, I equipped myself with many soft skills. This included an ability and enthusiasm for learning, communication skills with people of different ages and backgrounds, and teamwork skills. When applying for the Telstra Graduate Program, I therefore didn’t just focus on my academic university results, but also my soft skills.

MyLaTrobe: When it comes to graduate roles in Engineering – what key skills are employers now looking for?

Laura: In Network Engineering, there is a big focus on software development, coding and programming skills due to the shift to software defined networks and network function virtualisation.

MyLaTrobe: What additional steps, outside of the classroom, can our current undergraduates take to enhance their employability?

Laura: Engineering experience in the workplace, such as through student internships, is a great way to enhance employability. 

MyLaTrobe: Based on your experience, what practical employment advice do you have for current students in Engineering?

Laura: My advice would be to prepare well for interviews, by practicing answering interview questions as well as learning as much as you can about the company you’re applying for. 

MyLaTrobe: As the world of work is changing rapidly with tech advances, do you have any specific advice for students on how they can be prepared for these changes in relation to Engineering?

Laura: As mentioned previously, “learning how to learn”, as well as being open to continual learning, will help prepare you for a career in engineering. Ultimately, rapidly evolving technology means you’ll never work on the same thing for too long, which is one of the many exciting aspects about a career in engineering.

Read more La Trobe alumni stories here.