John - Staff profile - Technical Officer
Diplomatic Security Branch/Security Counter-measures Section
Other key placements including overseas assignments
Ottawa (2006-2010) Technical Exchange Officer to Dept Foreign Affairs and International Trade. New mission openings Berlin, Port of Spain, Accra and Bandar Seri Begawan.
What qualifications do you have
Senior Telecommunications Technical Officer, Bachelor of Applied Science (Physics) (1st Class Honors) (Central Queensland University), Diploma of Security and Risk Management (Canberra Institute of Technology).
What were you doing before you joined DFAT?
Prior to joining DFAT I was a senior technical officer at Telstra with 16 years experience from bush tech to national escalated service disputes manager. As I finished my degree I moved to AirServices Australia for 12 months then left to do my Honors degree at CQU full-time. After finishing my Honors degree I was offered a scholarship for a PhD in Electrical Engineering at ADFA and spent 3 years there.
Why did you apply to DFAT?
I always keep an eye on the jobs pages in the newspaper. There was an advertisement for technical officers at DFAT and I knew someone in IT there who recommended it. Time was running short on my PhD so I had to make the painful choice to leave ADFA for DFAT without completing my studies.
How have you used your training during your time in DFAT?
While at DFAT I have worked on several projects that have involved several facets of my physics training, as well as my technical skills, from electronics to optics, acoustics, radiation, signal processing, programming and instrumentation.
DFAT is an organisation always looking to improve its performance through its processes and technology it is very cutting edge. We are always evaluating and trialling new technology to apply to our operations and sometimes, if it doesn't exist, we invent it.
What has been the highlight of your career so far with DFAT?
I have had so many memorable experiences in my 8 years; being posted to Ottawa and working with the Canadian Foreign Service has to be the ultimate though. I worked with great people in interesting situations, made good contacts and came away with additional skills and experiences that I can apply in Australia.
I have been involved with several new mission openings that were all highlights in themselves. It is great to be involved in large projects where timing and coordination are critical and conditions are difficult. It is tough work and very satisfying when completed.
As an IT/tech specialist, why would you recommend DFAT as a career (as opposed to other options)?
DFAT is an excellent organisation to broaden both your professional and personal horizons.
No other organisation in Australia operates a global communications network with the level of security and availability DFAT does. This presents a unique technical and computing challenge that will test and enhance your skill set.
Being a global organisation you can expect to travel and be able to manage your activities with little or no communication with your superiors. In that regard you get to work with more responsibility than in many other organisations.
How do you enjoy living in Canberra?
Canberra is a great city to live in, especially to raise children. There are plenty of activities in and around Canberra to keep you occupied; Sydney, Melbourne and the NSW coast are easily accessible as are the ski fields of Kosciusko too. Getting to and from work is very convenient, no traffic jams here.