Project Manager, Datacom - New Zealand
- Bachelor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences
- Computer Science
- Summer Research Scholarship
Tom Lochore is on the path to his dream job in the IT industry, after graduating from the University of Waikato with a Bachelor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences with Honours in 2016.
Tom works as a Scrum Master, or project manager, at Datacom, a company that builds, designs, and runs IT systems for businesses. He enjoys the variety his job offers; every day is different depending on the projects at hand.
“There is no such thing as a typical day at Datacom and that’s what keeps it interesting,” he says.
Tom started with Datacom as a graduate software engineer, transitioning to a project manager role one year later. In Tom’s eyes, working in the IT industry is not just about computer science – it’s about bringing value to people and creating real-world results.
“I get really invested in the outcome of my work and I love making a positive difference in people’s lives.”
Tom decided to enrol at university after working in sales for several years in telecommunications, because he wanted to move into the more technical side of the industry. He chose the University of Waikato due to its close proximity to his Raglan home and because of the practical aspects of Waikato’s Bachelor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences.
While at university, Tom worked on several real-world projects. During his Honours studies, he researched genetic evolution, developing an artificial network to map the human brain to create artificial intelligence.
Tom also won a Summer Research Scholarship two years in a row, allowing him to put his skills into practice, while also getting paid. Tom took advantage of these scholarships to learn how to create a machine learning system, a form of artificial intelligence which enables software applications to more accurately predict outcomes without requiring programming.
Tom’s first machine learning system was designed to predict and add the appropriate macrons to Māori words. His work on this system is now used by the Ministry of Justice. Another summer research project involved creating a machine learning system to optimise space in wind farms, increasing kilowatts for the lowest possible cost.
Tom found success in extra-curricular university activities, winning first place at the 2013 Innes 48 Business Startup competition. As a member of Team Lightbulb, Tom created a digital immigration advisory to help streamline the immigration application process, reducing the cost for immigrants.
“The practical elements of the University of Waikato’s course really helped to prepare me for the work I would be expected to do in the industry. I recommend students get involved with Waikato’s Summer Research Scholarships because they give you great work experience and allow you to form good relationships with your lecturers – I still keep in touch with them today!”
Tom enjoyed the flexibility the University offered, broadening his horizons by taking all of his elective subjects outside of the Computing and Mathematical Sciences faculty.
“One of the best things about studying at Waikato was the wide range of subjects available – I took interest papers in finance, philosophy and physics. However, computer science was my top priority, because I knew I really wanted to be in this industry.”
Tom enjoys his job at Datacom and looks forward to his career in the IT industry.
“I would really like to work my way up to senior a management role at Datacom. I’m very grateful that my degree and experience scored me such a fantastic job in the industry I have always wanted to be in.”