Whitecliffe alumni Avalie Zhang is helping athletes and coaches lift their game as a senior software developer at Avgar.
The local IT startup is breaking new ground with its ingenious app TotalCoach – and Avalie is playing a pivotal role in its success. Designed as an all-in-one coaching platform, the app helps coaches and organisations manage their business operations, and gives athletes easy access to lesson videos, resources, bookings, and payments.
“I spend a lot of my time working on the TotalCoach app, particularly focusing on bug fixes and new feature implementations,” says Avalie. “I especially love it when I get to implement new features – it’s so exciting to create something by coding.”
Since joining the company last year Avalie has flourished, quickly working her way up from graduate to senior software developer. But bug fixes and feature implementations haven’t always been top of her wish list – in fact when Avalie first enrolled at Whitecliffe her sights were set on a career in arts and fashion.
“Initially I did the Certificate in Arts and Design, but after completing it I wasn’t sure if that direction was right for me, so I did some research and discovered programming. That piqued my interest so I transferred to Whitecliffe’s School of IT instead! It turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made because not only do I really love programming, but I’m also pretty good at it.”
Studying at Whitecliffe laid solid foundations for IT success, giving Avalie the chance to study different kinds of programming languages and software and honing her knowledge of industry standards.
“Whitecliffe helped me realise that programming is my passion. The courses I took gave me the foundation of the languages I now use every day at work, and they also strengthened my problem-solving skills, which is a big part of being a software developer.”
Avalie landed her job at Avgar before she’d even completed her degree, which made the flexibility offered at Whitecliffe invaluable.
“Having this flexibility was vital since I was also working full-time, and all the self-study worked well for me.”
But just because she’s now completed her bachelor’s degree, doesn’t mean her studies are taking a back seat. As Avalie rightly points out, if you choose to pursue a career in the IT sector, you’ll be a student for life.
“The technology industry evolves every day so continuous learning is a must. I strive to stay current with emerging technologies and methodologies to ensure my skills are always relevant and cutting edge.”
So what’s her advice for someone considering studying IT at Whitecliffe?
“Firstly take the time to explore the different specialisations on offer and identify which one aligns best with your interests and career goals. Information Technology is an incredibly broad field – there’s software development, cyber security, data science, network administration, and more.
“Secondly strive to gain as much hands-on experience as you can. Theory is essential, but practical experience is equally valuable. Engage in hands-on projects, internships, or volunteer opportunities to apply your knowledge and build a portfolio of work.”
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