IT students are out of computer labs and into fields

IT students are out of computer labs and into fields

Bachelor of Information Technology ākonga (student) Kira Bryne, knows working in IT doesn’t mean sitting in front of a computer all day.
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Kira Bryne is excited to support the Nelson community through the Nelson AI Sandbox project.

Kira dreams of working outdoors, creating sustainable pathways for the future of farming and is using her Bachelor of Information Technology(external link) (IT) at NMIT Te Pūkenga to get her there.

“I applied for an internship with Willisbrook Farms using artificial intelligence (AI) to forecast the growth of apples,” Kira says. “I studied agricultural science previously because I wanted to be a farmer – what a roundabout!”

She was inspired to get her IT degree by a former colleague and mentor at Nelson Hospital, where she worked as a data administrator.

“The work we did there was really valuable, and it made a difference to people’s well-being,” Kira said. “I was inspired to get a degree so I could work in data science.”

Kira is now involved in several projects because of coming to NMIT and networking with industry partners.

“I’m part of the Nelson IT Student Association, and that’s how I began working for the Nelson AI Sandbox project. My tutor, Ali Kahwaji, told me about it,” Kira says.

The Nelson AI Sandbox is a community outreach project designed to demystify artificial intelligence in three ways:

  • easy engagement for people seeking a basic understanding,
  • tutorials and workshops for businesses and staff looking to leverage AI, and,
  • a self-discovery zone for computer-literate people who want to play with the tools while receiving helpful guidance.

“Nelson was built by and for intellectuals,” Kira says. “We have a vast amount of mana from our ancestors. The infrastructure is there to support intellectual capital, but we are faced with an exodus of talent.”

“The Nelson AI Sandbox project aims to support our community to utilise artificial intelligence,” Kira says. “AI isn’t going anywhere, and like the introduction of personal computers in the 90s, we have to adapt and learn.”

Kira believes young people like herself should be looking for opportunities that provide valuable experience.

“A sense of purpose is worth more than a large paycheck.”

She is grateful for the opportunities shown to her at NMIT, with tutors who are focused on helping ākonga find employment in areas they are passionate about.

“The tutors are so engaged in the industry, not just in Nelson, but the whole country and even around the world,” Kira says.

For more information about studying information technology at NMIT, visit our website(external link).

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