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Welcome to our 2017 graduates! Reflections on Intergen Bootcamp 2017 and our grads’ tips for grad jobseekers

No graduate left behind. Twenty (of our total intake of 23), of the finest IT graduates took this quite literally on the first day in the office back in January. They squeezed into a lift together which then managed to get stuck; no, this was not an intentional ice breaker to encourage team bonding!

Intergen graduates stuck in liftAfter 20 minutes of being pressed up against each other, with no personal space or air conditioning, our graduates exited the lift laughing, supportive of each other and ensuring the person next to them was okay. An interesting way to get rid of that horrible first day awkwardness!

When the day officially got underway, it consisted of a business and strategy overview provided by Intergen’s CEO, Simon Bright, and Executive GM of Solutions and Services, Emma Barrett. This was followed by catch ups with business unit leaders who shared exciting client experience stories, why they choose to work at Intergen and how their business unit help drives the success of our wider business.

Once the formalities of the day were over, 23 graduates and seven Yellow Ambassadors boarded a chartered bus headed for Makahika Outdoor Pursuits Centre, located at the foothills of the Tararua Ranges, near Levin.

The purpose of our grad camp experience is to place our graduates in an unfamiliar environment, pushed purposely outside their comfort zones where they must InterFace, InterAct and InterLock (the three key guiderails we use to make sure we’re always delivering the very best experiences to our clients) with peers who feel just as uncomfortable as they do.

Our bootcamp experience has a strong focus on self-awareness, acknowledging strengths, recognising risk, teamwork and problem solving – all of these learnings can then be applied back in the workplace.

The transformation that occurred over the course of those four days was incredible to witness. Many of our graduates stretched themselves outside their personal comfort zones by overcoming a fear of heights and completing the high ropes course, putting their trust in their team to support their weight while on the top of a ladder and navigating their way into the bush at daybreak to dig trenches, build fires and cook breakfast.

When bootcamp was done and dusted, we welcomed back into the business an incredible cohort of graduates who are more self-aware and mentally stronger than they were when they left for camp. They fully understand and embrace Intergen’s core values and client experience framework and are ready to make their mark on the world.

April Hickson

Studied: University of Derby, UK
Intergen office location: Christchurch office as a graduate developer in the Modern Applications team

April Hickson

In (roughly) five words my Bootcamp experience was “challenging, team-building, muddy, awesome week”.

I loved boot camp as I absolutely enjoy being challenged! The team I was placed in gelled together very well straight away so I thoroughly enjoyed any time we spent in our teams. Due to our team getting along so well our clients kept making our challenges more difficult by removing or silencing team members, reducing time and generally being a pain. It surprised me how well our team worked, even with the challenges. One of the big lessons learned from my end was it was all about attitude. If you went into a challenge with a can-do attitude and weren’t afraid to make a fool of yourself, it really helped the team along!

The biggest highlight for me was the team members who were scared of heights conquering the ladder challenge, where four ropes were holding a ladder up while one team member climbed it. We did this on the second day which ensured that our entire team trusted each other, and I’m so proud to say we succeeded.

I love working as part of a software development team so when we are back in the office, I am mainly looking forward to adding my own code to the projects, and making my mark here at Intergen.

A piece of advice for students moving into the workforce is learning good communication skills is more important than your coding abilities! They know you can program, you have a degree in it, what they want to see is: Are you going to work well in a team? Can you take feedback? Can you hold a conversation? Are you presentable enough to meet their clients? These are the questions you should ask yourself.

Ashley Midgley

Studied: University of Otago
Intergen office location: Wellington office as an Application Support Developer

Ashley Midgley

If I only had five words to describe our Bootcamp week, they would be: “Blood, sweat, tears and beers”.

My bootcamp highlights? I definitely enjoyed navigating through the ranges, high ropes activities and the late night poker sessions the most. The biggest surprise I had was how much I learned about myself and how I fit into a team. As well as being a great icebreaker for you to meet all your fellow grads and some of the faces at Intergen, you get to build your confidence by leading during the team activities and presenting in front of the group. This made it so much easier for me to dive straight into life at Intergen come Monday.

Developing my skills and applying what I learned over the past few years to real-world projects is what I am now most looking forward to, starting my working life at Intergen.

My advice for students looking for a job is: be prepared to learn a whole lot more! It isn’t over yet!

Brian Cham

Studied: University of Auckland
Intergen office location: Auckland office as a Modern Applications Developer

In five words, boot camp was: intense, exciting, uncomfortable, wet and fun.

Bootcamp was quite an experience. There were so many things that I enjoyed. I really liked the opportunities to push myself and try new and challenging things. I also liked meeting all the new grads and bonding together. I was most surprised by how demanding the boot camp was – the action never ended! From sunrise to sunset, there were so many fun things to do. It was constant high-pressure and they kept switching things up. Sometimes our team members changed, sometimes we were (literally) tied together and sometimes our activities changed. We never knew what to expect, which made it all the more exhilarating.

There are many things I learned, but perhaps the biggest lesson was that individuals’ abilities do not necessarily translate into group ability. Our team members were rightfully confident in their capabilities but we tended to conflict and talk over each other so nothing got done overall. We had to learn how to properly manage these in a group dynamic, e.g. having one person talk at a time, giving everyone a say and agreeing to reach a consensus at the end of the planning phase.

Right now I am most looking forward to having the opportunity to continually learn and improve my skills in order to make a positive difference. Intergen has a lot of passionate people to work with and to learn from, so opportunities abound.

If you’re a student looking for a job in IT, my advice would be to not underestimate yourself. Don’t avoid applying for certain positions just because you don’t fulfil all the years of experience or haven’t used the particular technologies stated in the description. They will not necessarily discount you, so neither should you. Many companies will still give you a chance if you can prove that you have good communication skills, understand general principles and are a fast learner. Your real strength lies in your capacity to grow.

Chris Read

Studied: Victoria University
Intergen office location: Wellington office as a Graduate Developer in the Modern Applications team

Chris Read

If I could describe my boot camp experience in five words, it would be: “Exhilarating, hilarious, insightful, fun, CHAOS”.

Overall, bootcamp was fantastic! I think the aspect that I enjoyed the most was having to keep the “clients” happy while completing all the activities. Consideration of what they wanted meant we had to look at each challenge based on what they valued and not what was necessarily easiest, quickest or most effective.

Entering the working world, I am most excited to finally be able to develop my skills to a professional level.

My advice for student looking to find a job in the future: don’t focus on what programming languages or technologies you know, instead focus on making a good impression as a person. Someone who is friendly and willing to learn is much more desirable than someone who simply knows a lot.

Christie McArley

Studied: Victoria University and completed a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Information Systems and Marketing
Intergen office location: Enterprise Productivity team as a consultant in the Wellington office

Christie McArley

If I had to describe bootcamp in five words it would be ‘amazing start to my journey’. This was a very clever way to kick off our graduate programme as it resulted in not only understanding the Intergen culture but led to each of us understanding something new about ourselves which we could take from bootcamp.

What I enjoyed most about bootcamp was getting away from the city, and meeting all of my new colleagues. When I imagined bootcamp I didn’t quite realise how much we’d be challenged. The biggest lessons learned throughout this experience was that you have to get to know the people who you are working with in order to determine how to best communicate with them to get the job done.

What I am most looking forward to about now being a full-time worker is growing my knowledge base from the large bunch of talented yellow ambassadors working at Intergen.

For those students looking to get into the IT sector my advice is to make sure you start looking for job openings early in your final year of study. Ensure you always show buckets of enthusiasm and passion for IT and find those qualities that make you unique and push those to the forefront in interviews.

Faizal Ansari

Studied: Bachelor of Health Science conjoint with Bachelor of Science, University of Auckland
Intergen office location: Graduate Consultant (Enterprise Productivity), Auckland office

Faizal Ansari

Five words: bugs, challenging, high-spirited, teamwork, new-experience

The boot camp experience is one that definitely helps you push your boundaries and get out of your comfort zone. You are challenged to push, work and take the hard way instead of the easy way out. I personally enjoyed the thrill-seeking activities the most, especially the high beam. The biggest lesson that I learnt was to just try and believe in yourself.

I am looking forward to the learning opportunities I will get as I enter full-time work.

The advice that I would give to students looking to find jobs in the IT sector would be to take up the opportunities that life throws at you, whether it be a three-month internship or a one day project.

Francisco Vilches

Studied: AUT, Diploma in Computer Science
Intergen Office Location: Auckland office as a Graduate Developer in the Dynamics CRM team

Francisco Vilches

My bootcamp experience summed up is: “Wet, cold, fun, little sleep, no internet”

The flying fox was my favourite activity and it was good to have Paddy, an Intergen founder, around. I really learned how to work better in a team and have a positive influence.

I am really looking forward to everything there is to learn in the IT industry, I want to master so many skills.

For anyone wanting a job in the IT industry I would tell them that hard skills are important of course, but never underestimate and disregard soft skills (leadership, teamwork, communication, etc.). There are many courses out there to help you with that.

Greg Greenfield

Studied: Weltec completing a Bachelor of Information Technology, majoring in programming
Intergen Office Location: Seattle team, based in the Wellington office in the Modern Applications team

Greg Greenfield

If I only had five words that would best describe bootcamp I would use: Enjoyable, Insightful, Enlightenment, Enrichment and Development.

My boot camp experiences were mainly focused around team building as there were a lot of tasks based around this and luckily it was what I found most enjoyable. As at the end of boot camp we have kept in constant communication, along with doing further activities i.e. laser tag and bowling which was surprising to me. The biggest lesson that I learned was that the Intergen team really is that awesome.

Before I commenced studying I had been a full-time employee for quite some time and I was looking forward to getting into the swing of things in a new industry. After/during boot camp I came to the realisation that I am not only looking forward to getting started, but also meeting the people that I will be working with.

I would say to any IT student out there looking/working hard to get into the IT industry to first do the research into the company and try to find one that meets what you would like to do in the industry. Further to this, do not hesitate to contact them as even if it is just about finding out their hiring process you will have a contact point when it is time to apply.

Haydon Baddock

Studied: University of Canterbury
Intergen office location: Graduate Developer (Modern Applications), Christchurch office

Haydon Baddock

Bootcamp was educational, fun, wet, active, encouraging.

I had a great time getting to know all the fellow grads at boot camp. The activities they had set up for us were educational in lots of ways: I learned to be a cooperative team player, a bit about how to lead a team and also surprisingly a little about myself. The most enjoyable thing for me would have to be the activities on the high ropes since they were the most exciting.

I’m strongly looking forward to getting to work on a project that’s fun, enjoyable and that I can really feel passionate about.

Some advice to students looking for jobs in IT: find what you’re most interested in and run with it; companies appreciate passion.

Jasbir Dhaliwal

Studied: Christchurch Polytechnic
Intergen office location: Graduate Consultant in the Christchurch office

Jasbir Dhaliwal

In just five words, bootcamp was a fun, exciting and learning experience

Bootcamp was a lot more than what I expected. It was a great ice breaker and an amazing way of learning Intergen values. The moments when we finally completed a given task, as a team, after struggling with it for a while were the most enjoyable moments. Especially when we successfully completed the bridge building activity after two tries.

I learned a lot about myself which was a surprise too as I was only expecting to learn about Intergen and its values.

I am really looking forward to adding new skills to my list when I start in the office and want to tell students looking for jobs in IT to be prepared to learn a lot more once they start working.

Jester Attygalle

Studied: Victoria University of Wellington
Intergen Office Location: Enterprise Productivity in the Wellington office

Jester Attygalle

My five words to describe our boot camp week are: Life-changing, inspirational, exhilarating, enjoyable and awesome!

My bootcamp experience from day one, until the end was fun and overall an enjoyable experience. I looked forward to each day because it was always different, with all the puzzles, challenges and activities. The people were the ones that made the experience great for me, meeting Paddy, the new grads, and getting to know some of the other senior management team while learning more about Intergen was the highlight for me.

As someone that started six months before the other grads, the biggest lesson I learned is that I needed to get out of the mindset of being ahead of the other grads. I needed to stop taking the lead so much or stepping up during some of the challenges and back off to allow the others to shine.

“What else can I learn today that could help me move forward?” is something I always ask myself before I go to work. So definitely looking forward to more learning, specialisations and meeting new people/social drinking when back in the office.

The best advice I could give when looking for any job is to take the first step and put yourself out there. Experience is important but having that confidence to go with it can give you that little push to differentiate you from other candidates.

John Sun

Studied: BE (Hons) specialising in Computer Systems Engineering
Intergen office location: Wellington office as a graduate infrastructure engineer

John Sun

Boot camp was a great time. Challenging, enjoyable, information-overload, muddy, work hard/play hard – yeah that’s one word!

I learnt how to become a better team member, how to get people to listen to my ideas, and how to respect and give space to members when they are expressing their ideas. Our first day was quite challenging, with each of the members not really working together as much (we spent a lot of time discussing and arguing, and not really listening), after the debriefing sessions, we realised our problems and that night called a meeting to lay down some ground rules that we all agreed to respect. We planned out how to do the other activities for the next day and put our trust into each other and the plan we created, each successive activity the next day was performed in a far more efficient way, with all the members working cohesively.

I was surprised how many good ideas some of the quieter people had, where they would just discuss amongst themselves and not express their ideas to the group. Myself being quite a vocal person I think contributed majorly to this.

I’m looking forward to getting into the office and being able to pay my rent by myself, living a life of luxury, and being able to eat anything I want, whenever I want.

Seriously though, the new “adult” world is somewhere I haven’t explored very much and I am looking forwards to meeting the challenges and expectations that come with the role and lifestyle.

For future IT grads, learn how to get along with people, do heaps of group projects and get out of your comfort zone. Intergen, and many other IT companies, are people and culture driven organisations, to work here, you need to be able to fit into the company culture and to work with others. Of course, make sure you choose a company that fits your needs as well, don’t waste time applying for roles that you aren’t interested in. Be honest with yourself and be honest with others, don’t put on a persona just to pass an interview or get through a project.

One of the most important things in group projects that I learnt in bootcamp is that to perform well as a team, you don’t have to be best friends with your teammates and colleagues, but you do have to respect them.

Jonathan Hill

Studied: Southern Institute of Technology
Intergen office location: Dunedin

Jonathan Hill

Five words that I would use to sum up boot camp are exciting, enjoyable, challenging, fantastic and fun.

Bootcamp is an all-round unforgettable experience. From building a bridge in the rain to walking along a 10-metre-high slippery log. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I won’t be forgetting the friendships I made along the way.

I can’t wait to get into the challenge of full-time work and begin to learn new skills.

The best advice I could give to future IT grads would be: while studying, participate in the extra activities whether they be programing challenges or start-up weekends. Everything helps get your foot in the door.

Kirby McKenzie

Studied: Otago University
Intergen office location: Graduate Developer, Dunedin office

Kirby McKenzie

Boot camp in five words: challenges, rain, beers, fam, yellow  

Bootcamp started with greetings and handshakes and ended with hugs and goodbyes.

I was nervous starting a new job as well as spending a week in the woods with a bunch of strangers, but those nerves were quickly eased as we began to mingle and introduce ourselves to the other graduates and Intergenites.

I really enjoyed how my team, who on day two were struggling on most of the challenges, overcame these by uniting as one team, by listening to each other, and by running our ideas over with our client first. The next day we absolutely smashed every challenge! 

I’m really looking forward to working with intelligent and like-minded people on meaningful projects that can have a real life, big impact on a business and how it operates.

To future IT graduates your soft skills are just as important as your technical skills. You may be able to hack the pentagon, but if you can’t work in a team and communicate to your peers, then you will really struggle.

Madhvi Laxman

Studied: Otago University and Otago Polytechnic
Intergen Office Location: Graduate Consultant (Dynamics CRM) in Auckland

Madhvi Laxman

Boot camp was a terrific experience. The most valuable lesson learnt was the point of self-realisation and confidence. It was a totally different experience than what we initially thought, full of surprises and challenges and the best part about the entire time has to be the friends that we made.

The best part about getting into the office, from a person that has already been with Intergen for six months, is the Intergen culture and the people – plus there is a lot to learn and upskill on. It feels like being at home with a family, Intergen is very welcoming and everyone here is super helpful - I look forward to going to work every single day.

Knowing what I know now, six months into the working world, my advice to future IT graduates is, if you are after a rewarding career and a workplace with an energetic culture, Intergen is the place! 

Nina Malinao

Studied: Victoria University of Wellington
Intergen office location: Wellington

Nina Malinao

In five words, bootcamp was a challenging but amazing experience.

I liked almost every second of bootcamp, apart from the high ropes courses!  I enjoyed getting to spend time with my fellow grads and the yellow ambassadors. It was fun getting to know who I will be working with, without the distraction that comes from social media and our smartphones.

The biggest surprise came before bootcamp when we got 20 grads in one lift, then got stuck in there for about 20 minutes. What an icebreaker…

The biggest lesson I learned from boot camp was how it is so easy to forget about the bigger picture when you’re focused on a single task. Sometimes you have to take a step back and remember what your overall goal is.

The thing I am looking forward to the most about working full-time is learning more from the people around me and gaining real world experience and putting what I have learned at university into practice.

For students looking for jobs in IT: don’t be afraid to show your passion for IT. Practice what you’re going to say in interviews – it really helps. Make sure to keep your CV up to date and always write a cover letter with your application.

Ricky Cheung

Studied: Victoria University
Intergen Office Location: Graduate Consultant, Enterprise Productivity

Ricky Cheung

Amazing, Challenging, Useful, Insightful, Fun.

Boot camp was an experience of a lifetime, it was a great introduction to how Intergen operates and embedding their core values into our heads. There were many highlights throughout the week but it was great to meet the other grads, being able to work together through mental and physical challenges that were used to simulate real life scenarios.

One of the surprises was being selected as a strategic leader on the second day for “team speed”. I was coming into an already successful team so it was a little daunting at first, but it all came together in the end. Coming out as winners!

The biggest lesson I learned was the importance of working together as a team- understanding everyone’s strengths and weaknesses and understanding the dependencies of each team.

I look forward to getting into the office, being assigned to a project and being able to become an integral member of the team.

To future IT grads, show that you a passionate about IT, your willingness to learn and grow your understanding in the field.

Sheenagh Evans

Studied: Victoria University of Wellington
Intergen office location: People and Performance Coordinator, Wellington

Sheenagh Evans

My five words to describe boot camp are: exciting, tactical, challenging, fun, bonding!

My experience was awesome! I never thought I would get to be involved in another boot camp/outdoor experience since leaving high school – particularly not the high ropes course! Added to this the strategic element and being able to bond with my fellow Intergenites made the whole experience very memorable and rewarding. My biggest takeaway was recognising how we all have different personalities and characteristics and how deciphering our different “bird” types allowed our strengths to be highlighted and therefore allowed us to work better as a team.

I came from a full-time role previous to Intergen! The key difference however is that I wasn’t working within my preferred industry, HR and People! I’m looking forward to starting my career within such an innovative and fast paced company and learning all I can from my seniors and fellow Intergenites.

I was in the unique position of being the only non-IT graduate at the bootcamp so can’t say I pursued IT-specific roles. However, from a general perspective of a student when job hunting I would say do your research when looking at companies to work with, ask whether their values align with your values and if their core objective appeals to you – if the company and the culture appeals then you’ll probably be a natural fit!

Shivanka Kathiravel

Studied: University of Auckland
Intergen office location: Graduate Developer, Auckland

Shivanka Kathiravel

Enjoyable, worthwhile, rain, mud, insightful.

Going away for a few days without reception with people I had yet to have met seemed crazy at first, but it turned out to be an amazing experience and a brilliant way to be welcomed to Intergen. We started off the week getting stuck in an elevator together (great ice breaker but still wouldn’t recommend it!), which was an interesting way to kick things off. I really enjoyed getting to know all the other grads. It was great to see people with different backgrounds come together and become good friends over the course of a few days. Throughout the week, it was also interesting to see the huge transition my team made from the first activity, to the last activity we did. From this I learnt a lot about communication, teamwork and how to interact with a client. It can make a significant difference on how successful the end result is. I was surprised about how much I learnt about what Intergen’s values really mean.

Like most people, I am excited to get into the office, upskill, and to get involved in developing and delivering beneficial solutions to clients!

When thinking about going for a job in the IT industry, think about what you’ve enjoyed studying the most within your degree and apply for jobs that align with that. You want to spend your time working on something you enjoy, and you will have a better chance of getting the job if you would be doing something you are passionate about!

Sunil Khuttan

Studied: AUT University
Intergen office location: Graduate Developer, Modern Applications, Auckland

Sunil Khuttan

Five things that sum up my boot camp experience are awesome, getting out of my comfort zone, accepting challenges, work as a team, planning.

Bootcamp was awesome. It was a great idea to learn the Intergen values and team members. I did not expect to be completing the activities that we did. My team failed to complete our very first activity but we started again with full energy and planned the rest of the activities properly. All the team members performed their part very well and as a result we completed all the activities before the other teams. I have learned a lot about my strengths and weaknesses that will help me in my professional and personal life. Walking through the mud in the early morning surprised me the most.

I enjoyed the high rope activities the most. It was bit scary in the beginning but I challenged myself and started enjoying it. My biggest lesson I learned is to accept new challenges outside of your comfort zone and perform under pressure.

I am looking forward to start working on real projects in teams with passion.

I would say to future IT graduates that the best way to learn is fail fast, fail often. Always keep trying something new, you might fail but this is how you will learn the new stuff. Apply for the jobs that you think you are really passionate about.

Susan Zhu

Studied: University of Canterbury
Intergen office location: Christchurch

Susan Zhu

If I were describing the boot camp week with five words I would choose: challenging, surprising, hilarious, fantastic, and muddy. Boot camp was mentally and physically challenging, you learn to work quickly with your team (#luxury) to make things happen and achieve your goals. Our clients were enthusiastic to challenge and test our abilities, while keeping the team theme in mind: speed, gourmet, or luxury. 

I really enjoyed watching our teammates and fellow grads go out of their comfort zone, achieving more than they thought they could and exceeding their own expectations. At first, you might feel nervous meeting all your fellow grads and the executive staff when you arrive for bootcamp – I know I did, but in a short time you will work together, see your fellow grads rise up to challenges, share ideas, and lead tasks in a way you wouldn’t have had the chance to to otherwise. By the end, you will be in awe and have made many new friends!

I’m really looking forward to working with my team on some interesting projects, and learning about the tech from the experts!

If I could give any advice to students looking for jobs in IT, it would be to be passionate and involved in the projects you do. These experiences are valuable and can reflect real-world experiences. Be positive and open, whether it’s being receptive to advice or learning from failures.

Posted by: Moana Haronga | 27 February 2017

Tags: Graduate Oppportunities, Graduate Recruitment, Bootcamp, Graduates

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