What role do you play in the local/NZ tech sector?
I am a software engineer/scientist (I often wear both hats) who has worked for many local and international companies. I am normally brought in when there is a specific project that needs my specialist skills involving computer vision & machine learning.
What is your favourite habit to keep up to date with the latest technology trends?
I like to follow technology news.
There are many, many websites for this such as "The Verge" and various Sub-reddits. I also listen to some technology podcasts such as from tested.com. Lastly, as an engineer I like to try new technologies out to learn how they work.
What are your priorities as a tech enthusiast/leader?
I'm always considering how new technologies that come along could be applied to a problem I've seen. Alternatively, I view learning some new advance in computer science (or increasing knowledge in Mathematics, Statistics etc) as a way of broadening my abilities to solve problems I may encounter in the future, or as new tools to help me build something that interests me.
What advise would you give to young people wanting to get into careers in tech?
Foster a love of technology and advances in technology. Make it a hobby to follow this and to seek to broaden your understanding of how new technologies work. Virtually every tech colleague I've worked with shared some sort of passion in technology before making it a career.
What in your opinion are the greatest opportunities and challenges the technology sector faces in the Waikato/NZ?
Opportunities: In the Waikato we have a great university and a proven track record of producing excellent engineers & scientists. As time goes on New Zealands geographic isolation will become less and less relevant as technology workers will have increased employment opportunities on the global stage.
Challenges: As the location of workers becomes less relevant in the tech sector, the same opportunities for the workers could present challenges for local companies who will increasingly compete with large international tech companies when trying to hire engineers.