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Rain McAdam

Bachelor of Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

Rain McAdam

Looking for something to challenge her skills, 23-year-old Rain McAdam (Ngāti Raukawa) started an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) degree at UCOL | Te Pūkenga. It was a subject she knew almost nothing about, yet her life soon fell into place.

“I moved to Palmerston North from Levin in 2018 to study social work at university, but it wasn’t for me. I wanted to do something a bit more technical, using more logic, maths, and science - so I switched over to IT at UCOL.”

“It was an impulsive decision. I wasn’t an IT-minded person before I started here, I just thought it looked like a cool industry to be in with lots of opportunities - and it turns out I was right!

"Little did I know I would meet my soon-to-be husband in my first year at UCOL. He said a really corny joke about my name. After a lifetime of ‘Rain’ jokes, I didn’t think it would work on me, but it did, and by the second year we were married and planned to start a family - my son was born at the start of my final year at UCOL”.

As she learned to balance family life and her studies, Rain says UCOL provided amazing support.

“The kaimahi at UCOL have been wonderful through the whole journey. Since returning to study, they’ve let me do a lot of my work from home, and if I can’t find childcare, they’re happy to do virtual meetings to accommodate me.”

“I love how hands-on the work is at UCOL too. I always found university courses too theoretical for me, whereas UCOL offers a lot more project-based learning, and we get to build a portfolio as we study. It’s given me what I need to confidently enter the workforce. Whatever sub-field I decide to get into, I already have a portfolio of work ready to show potential employers.”

Arriving at UCOL with a limited background in computers didn't deter her, says Rain, as she quickly ramped up her skills with the help of her lecturers.

“The lecturers are awesome. I can ask so many questions and they always have the answers. They have a wealth of knowledge across the industry. It’s constantly changing too and they teach up to date content, which is useful!”

Adding to her experience, Rain has been developing her skills volunteering in the community before beginning her internship working with local iwi at Tanenuiarangi Manawatū Inc.

“I’ve volunteered with Neighbourhood Support and the New Zealand Police in Feilding. I helped to organise and analyse their weekly reports so they can show the community where crime is happening and where to be careful.”

“I now have an internship with mana whenua Rangitāne o Manawatū working on a database project. I’m organising data to make it easily accessible for people in the organisation. It’s quite an interesting project!

“Tanenuiarangi Manawatū (the iwi authority) have lots of contractors working for them, and they all have to file reports manually in a spreadsheet. I’m trying to make this easier by setting up templates and a notification system so they can ease their workload, reduce any errors, and make things faster.”

Rain says her academic supervisor has been instrumental during her internship journey.

“He has provided a lot of guidance. I talk to him about the challenges I’m having, and he gives me ideas of how to go approach them. My manager at my internship is great too and always offers support when I need it.”

For those considering studying ICT at UCOL, Rain says give it a go.

“Even if you don’t have IT experience, you’ll gain all the foundational knowledge you need in the first year, and you’ll go up from there.

“I found all the database courses really helpful, and I’ve carried those skills into the work I do now. I’m leaving with a lot more technical knowledge, and I’ve developed my communication skills massively thanks to my studies.”

“I’m looking forward to graduating now. I think Palmerston North is really up and coming, and I’m keen to explore the opportunities on offer here in data analysis.”

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