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Aleisha Amohia

I love working in a company that cares about its people. I also really enjoy working for a global open source project!

What's your background?

I currently live in Wellington, New Zealand, where I was born and have lived my whole life with my big family.

At high school, I realised I had a knack for Digital Technologies. I loved the challenge, the process, and the satisfaction of seeing your code finally work. At the start of Year 12, I was a student at the Catalyst Open Source Academy 2014, which gave me my first look into a real tech company, and my exposure to open source. In Year 13 at Wellington East Girls College, I became the Technology Prefect which involved being an ambassador for technology within the school and running the school’s technology club. I also continued to work on Koha, leading to Catalyst offering me an internship at the end of the year. 

These two years clearly set the tone for my future, because in 2016 I began studying a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Computer Science, and a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Management, at Victoria University of Wellington. While studying, I institutionalised the Victoria University of Wellington Women in Tech club (VUWWIT) and was elected President two years in a row. This was such a milestone role for me – during my Presidency, I networked and maintained relationships with industry professionals, learned about communication, public speaking and people management, participated in political events and campaigns, and organised many events, including leading the organisation of two tech conferences.  

While studying at university, I was fortunate enough to turn my internship at Catalyst into a permanent part-time role. Catalyst supported me while I was studying, supported my VUWWIT initiatives, and made me feel valuable. I’m very proud to say that I now work at Catalyst full-time, having concluded my studies.

How did your student society help you get hired?

VUWWIT provides incredible and unique networking opportunities. Industry professionals are invited to all VUWWIT events, as often the events have been sponsored by tech companies. Some of the great networking opportunities VUWWIT offers are workshops, because these are usually run by industry and have time to chat at the end, plus their events designed specifically for connecting students to employers. These include events to celebrate International Girls in ICT Day and Tech Week, and their biggest event, WITcon – a tech conference that highlights new, diverse, and student voices in STEM.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

I love that I am always supported to learn, make mistakes, try new and challenging things, and take personal care. Catalyst makes sure employees are given opportunities to upskill and grow, and that we can access all the resources we might need, whether we’re looking for professional or personal advancement, or whether we need advice or support that isn’t directly related to the job. I love working in a company that cares about its people. I also really enjoy working for a global open source project!

What are the limitations of your job?

Most limitations to the job are related to the fact that Koha is a global open source project. Most of the community work we do, tools we use, timelines we work by, and processes we follow are decided by the Community, not by Catalyst. Often, we’re working while developers on the other side of the world are asleep, which is tricky if we have questions or need something tested quickly. Because the project is so big and many of its contributors are volunteers, it’s possible for patches to slip through the cracks and get forgotten about, which slows enhancement.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  1. Make sure you have hobbies that are unrelated to your major or career goals. It’s important to experience different things, but it’s also nice to be able to pull back from your studies or job and fill your time with another activity you enjoy.
  2. Stay connected. It’s really easy to get stuck in the study bubble, but it really helped me to keep talking to my friends and family, making sure I saw them as much as possible. It also helped me to stay informed on national and international news so that study wasn’t all I could think and talk about.
  3. Prioritise. Look after your hauora, and allocate your energy based on what you care about and what is important that you complete or do.