Career fair at University of Queensland

UQ held a career fair today (April 1st). I managed to talk to a few employers (Defence, Gov’t of QLD, and more) about IT related jobs. I should have done engineering, seems like were a vast proportion of the demand (jobs) are. oh well!. And in the IT realm, seems like programming and software design (engineering) are also on the strong side, with Networking beneath that, and security somewhere on the bottom 🙁

Did grocery shopping, and fogot to get toilet paper.

Posting from class

I am currently sitting in my I.T. Project Management class where we are learning about PRINCE2 project management methodology. And so far (in 5 weeks) I have learned little. There is an (optional) exam coming up so we can be certified in PRINCE2, but we have been given no suggested readings, although they have sold over 70 textbooks for students to study. Of course, google helped me read the book for free …

I phoned one of my references today to give him a gentle and polite kick in the butt: 2 weeks and he has not submitted the reference email given to him by the University of Queensland. I’m dying for a new job, one that pays more, has better hours, reflects my interests in I.T., closer to home, cleaner, quieter, easier. ohh.

3:49am

Heading off to work. Hopefully my last Sunday at Fruity Capers. If all works out with UQ, I can say good bye to waking up at 2:30am

Three months

I’ve officially been in Brisbane three months. This will be short post to keep my appreciative fans happy. I’m studying full time at Queensland university of Technology in Brisbane. Taking Computer Forensics, Cryptology and Algorithms, I.T. Project Management, and Information Security. The courses are all challenging, and interesting, and homework is beginning to pile up.

I have an interview later today with UQ about an IT Help Desk position. I hope it goes well…

My boss at Fruity Capers cut my hours from about 40hrs/week to about 13hrs/week, and so I am in need of a little more work. We’ll see how my interview at UQ goes. Apprarently, it pays $26/hr.

I can feel the weather lowering slightly, nights are cooler, and when it rains it feels cooler too. I think winter won’t be too bad around here.

Oh well, Ta-Ta for now

Neat facts about major cities in Australia

If anybody reading this has been curious of macro-meteorological medians (average climates and temperatures) visit ACU. They have interesting facts which I never knew, like:

Brisbane has a humid subtropical climate with hot, humid summers and dry, mild winters. The city’s highest recorded temperature was 43.2°C on the 26 January 1940 and its coldest was -0.1°C on 9 July 2007, which was the first time Brisbane’s temperature fell below freezing point.

Beautiful! a near-zero probability for snow and freezing temps! Brisbane-australia.com has more statistics like:

June/July/August – Winter
Mean temperature: 15.60 C
Max average temperature: 21.20 C
Min average temperature: 10.10 C

Hardly ever less than 10C in the winter! Rock on!

EDIT:
More great pages on climate
http://www.weatherzone.com.au/qld/brisbane/brisbane
http://www.weatherzone.com.au/station.jsp?lt=site&lc=40913&list=ds

The first day of the rest of my life

Getting up at 4am for work was a b**tch the first day. At the end of it I was exhausted. I came home, made dinner, played online for a bit, then went to sleep about 6pm. I awoke at midnight quite refreshed but, with two hours remaining before having to official rise for work, I went back to bed.

They are training me of veggies – cutting up the caulis (cauliflower) and brock (broccoli) and displaying them in the most fantastic and aesthetically pleasing way possible. Any brown or dull spotted veggies go to cheap, the name they give to discounted products. Really terrible ones vanish in the rubbish (don’t say ‘garbage’ in Oz, it puzzles them).

Yvonne’s school is getting a little tougher. She had her first visit to the hospitals last week. She also got her first experience with a cadaver. Ewww, yuck!

Now what’s on my mind most is enrolling in Master of Information Technology (Management) program at University of Queensland. Obviously my prospects are open. But the situation here is positive for a number of reasons, some include:

  1. I do not have a 4-years Honours Bachelor Degree. Many Universities in Canada (and other places) do not accept Undergrads into Post-Graduate studies without Honours Bachelor Degree
  2. I have no (official) background in Computer Science or I.T. Most I.T. or Computer Science post-graduate programs require this.
  3. UQ is the 3rd best University in Australia, and the 43th best University in the world (based on the findings from the Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University)

There is, I believe, a very large and growing demand for IT in Australia, and the rest of the world. Too few people have been entering into CS or IT in the last decade or so because of the industry’s decline, but too many are retiring, and too few are replacing them. In any case, I’ve got to get started on something, right? I am 26 years old, after two years of study I will be 29 (add my birthday somewhere in there) and I will hopefully find a job within one month. That is what one professor that I chatted with told me, that 99% of Masters of IT graduates found jobs within 1-2 months after graduating, and many got jobs before graduation. How about that? More on him in my  next blog.

Ta-ta for now,

Felipe

Now a part of the Brizie way of life

Finished my first week at my new job. I plan to upload some pics of my workplace and my snazzy new uniform! I think it should pay around $20/hr. THat’s what the other employees are making, so I think I should get the same pay. I only got about 23 hours last week. They were training me on a bunch of new things. Unloading the truck with fruits and veggies, putting them away in the fridge, stacking them correctly. There are 5 huge fridges (coldrooms) where fruits, vegetables, herbs and berries are kept.

They also trained me putting veggies on display. “Presentation is everything,” they keep reminding me. If I see any whilted leaves, or dirt, or marks, or soft spots, they fruit or vegetable either gets tossed or gets chopped up for us by the next-door deli (which is part of the same business anyways).

I plan to work about 30-35 hr/week. Boss said “It’s up to you,” so I feel good about the freedom/flexibility.

I got another job offer, for 37.5 hr/week, for over $650/week. Calculated hourly, that amounted to just a little over $16/hr. Is it worth it? I have to meet quota every  month ($17,000). Everything I sell above that, I make 10% of profit. I have to pay nearly $200 for a security check (similar to police check), and I need an International Drivers Licence. He wants me to spend more than 50% of my time on the road, meeting prosepective clients, and creating new ones. Good experience, but I don’t think it is worth my time. I would have to train + bus to work everyday. I would need to work more hours per week. And I would be earning about the same amount of money weekly (not including commissions, which I generally don’t mind, but I don’t put much faith in).

Next step is finding a Master of I.T. program that interests me, and one which I am likely to get into. If I apply through OzTrekk (Canada) my application fee of $100 is waived, and I win a $500 scholarship if I get accepted into any Uni.

A program of 1.5 years  (Masters of I.T.) to 2 years (Masters of I.T. Management) would mean I graduate at 28 years old, in 2011. Not to shabby. I.T. is growing (again) in Brisbane, Queensland, and the whole of Australia. Salaries range from (approx) $66,000 to $110,000 depending on the job. Property is costly, but grocery prices are going down, inflation is dropping. I think it is a good time to jump in and get wet.

STAY TUNED! PHOTOS COMING SOON!

(i promise…)

Looking forward in St. Lucia

Yvonne and I are setting well in our new place. We are close to almost everything. Toowong is only 25 min walk away, and UQ (University of Queensland) is just 10 min away. Grocery shopping can be done in Toowong, which we mostly prefer, because there is more selection, and we can also shop for other things not available closer to home. If we only want, say, eggs, butter, milk, bread, we can buy it from the grocery store just 10 min from home, but it has less selection, so we only visit a few times for quick and small things.

Now that we have an address and a phone, the next step for any geek is to get — the Internet! We decided to setup with aaNet with their $39/mth 40GiB Download package. Australian internet is more expensive that what we are used to in Canada or USA. They have major download restrictions (40GiB in my case) and you are penalised for going over your limit. aaNet charges just $3/GiB over the limit (charged per MiB, $0.003/MiB over limit, 3 tenths of one cent). This is not a bad rate, considering some ISPs charge $0.15/MiB, which is $150.00/GiB over limit!

We’ve also signup with with phone services with them. We get $10 off the internet, plus 50% discount on connection charge (flag fall fee) on all outgoing calls. We were paying $0.35/call, aaNet charges just $0.15/call.

I met a young Indian student while waiting for the bus. He was very kind, and a little shy about his English abilities. He asked me what I thought of his English, and I told him that I understood everything he was telling me.

He also mentioned a cheaper place near where I am currently staying, about $100/week, which saves me $80/week or $346/mth. Is it better? Is it clean, with ample space? How many people will I be sharing it with? Answers yet aquired, but we are getting there.

Deposit down on our first apartment

We’ve been getting used to the public transit system here. We hopped onto the train at Geebung station and rode it all the way to Toowong station, where we got off. We headed to ProRentals, where were added some important letters of reference to our already-submitted applications.

RENATA TAKE NOTE. You were my previous landlord (only me), as was Kevin Turino.

We looked at another place yesterday at 72 Warren Street, St Lucia, only two blocks away from UQ (University of Queensland) where EV is going to study. She doesn’t need to take a bus to school. But I may have to take a bus to work, if I can find a job outside of St Lucia (like Toowong or something). If I find word in St Lucia, I may be able to walk or bicycle. I wonder if a small gas-powered scooter will be less money than a montly bus pass …

Well, we submitted the application to 72 Warren St, as well as one week deposit. If we change our minds, we lose the deposit, but we want to show we are seriuos about the place — which we are. So we gave them $185 for week 1, and submitted two letters of reference from previous landlords (Renata Moreno and Kevin Turino), as well as a supporting document from parents Rocio and Ruben, all of which will greatly help strengthen our application, and imporve our chances of getting into that room. $185/week isn’t bad. Divide by two and we only pay $92.5 per person/week. This will probably be paid fortnightly (every two weeks) via automatic payments from Chequing account.

In addition to finding places to live and work, I’ve been doing some (free) computer repairs. Because they are keeping me here for free, I thought I could contribute back for free. They have all been very nice to us. First was EV’s cousing Aaron. His notebook was crashing before even presenting a windows desktop. We loaded openSUSE LiveCD on it, and it brought us to a nice GUI with networking etc. We backed up his important pictures and music to my 500GB drive I bought in Canada just before leaving. To my surprise, there was a recovery partition on the drive, which allowed me to resinstall Windows XP Home to factory settings easily. Anti-virus, spybot S&D, spywareblaster, K-lite Codec Pack, firefox, CCleaner, Service Pack 3, windows updates — and she was good as new (long list!).

Then came Uncle John’s HP mini-note 2133 pre-installed with vista. Because of the VIA C7-M processor inside, vista ran slower than frozen molasses on the minute gravity of a small moon (meaning it was really slow). HP 2133 Guide was an invaluable resource to help me install Windows XP on the little netbook. Some “chinese” copies proved useless since they were all pre-SP2 which was an explicit pre-requisite. I dug out a copy from a binder I had brought with me, and it installed relatively easily after that. I am creating an install guide to help others in the future make the “upgrade” easier.

Asian food droppings

We got a phone number today [finally]. I can’t tell you the number, because it’s like .78/minute + .29 connection fee to send a receive calls. Sorry. We will have to keep emailing and Skyping. The phone is a hand-me-down from one of EV’s cousins; some cheapo white candybar Nokia with 1998 ringtones and no camera.  Hey — it does the job and it cost us $0.

We looked at another apartment today. $385/week $325/week, which, to me, is quite a lot of money. It’s over $700/month per person. We decided we have little choices left and asked for the application. It asks for things like references, passport, drivers licence, and previous landlords. We filled in the missing details, more or less to the letter, and made the necessary photocopies at the local library. Oh! Funny story! We get to the photocopier and start taking out change from our wallets when we see $1.00 credit already in the machine. Sweet! After using it all up, we realised we needed more, so EV gave me a .50 coin to make change. In my fanciest Australian accent I asked the woman for change. “20 cent coins is OK?” she asked. I nodded. I received the change and walked away. As I opened my hand I counted 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Five 20 cent coins! She just gave us extra money to use for free! What a dummy! Anyways.

We got hungry (more like I) and went down to the mall’s food court and ordered noodles at the “Two Wongs Asian” restaurant (you can laugh now if you got the play-on-words). After the first bite, Yvonne accidentally knocks the tray and spills all the food on the floor. At first I was shocked. $8 gone, and still hungry. I went to the shop owner and explained. “Nothing I can do for you,” he said. I asked for a discount, and he agreed to sell me the same dish for $5.

Monday we look at more properties (2 so far I think). Tomorrow we hand in the applications for today’s place. I want to be out of here fast.