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EIT | Te Pūkenga graduate credits degree for equipping him for IT career

May 5, 2023

Former EIT Bachelor of Computing Systems student Jacob Hennessey is thriving in his role at local company Tribe.

Former EIT | Te Pūkenga Bachelor of Computing Systems student (ākonga) Jacob Hennessey is a problem-solver by nature, who finds it “rewarding once he’s figured something out and gotten to the bottom of something”.

It comes as no surprise then that the twenty-six-year-old has been at Tribe, a local IT company, for the past four years. Jacob’s role as Support Engineer sees him act as the escalation point for Tribe’s service desk.

“I work as the service lead on the account, I develop relationships with a selection of our customers that I am assigned to.  I work to find the common pain points with their IT environments as well as taking on escalation from our service desk”.

Jacob, who was born and raised in Hawke’s Bay, acknowledges that studying locally, where he has a strong support system, had its benefits.

“I lived in Hawke’s Bay already. It was local. I wouldn’t have to pay as much for accommodation, because I could live with my parents while I was studying and just pay a bit of board.”

In 2015, Jacob, a former Napier Boys High student, enrolled in the Bachelor of Computing Systems at EIT | Te Pūkenga.

“I’d heard about EIT through school, because that was where a lot of people went after school. That’s probably how I got to know it. They offered a one-year scholarship to Year 13s as well.”

According to Jacob, the degree equipped him with industry-related experience from the outset.  

“I think what I liked about the degree was it was very hands-on. There was a lot of practical stuff and some theory as well. That was important, but the main thing was just the hands-on practicality of it. You were doing stuff that you would actually do in the industry.”

Jacob, who completed his internship at Furnware’s, IT Department, says “that was probably the most valuable part.”

“You didn’t just leave with a piece of paper. You left with real-world experience that you could add to your degree, in the field that you were leaving to hopefully find work in as well.”

For his project, Jacob documented Furnware’s Local Area Network (LAN).

I documented their LAN, so worked out how everything was interconnected, and put that into a Visio diagram for them. I did a second project as well, where I upgraded a suite of their computers from hard disc drive to the solid-state drives.”

For Jacob, the smaller classes offered at EIT | Te Pūkenga also provided opportunities for students (ākonga) and lecturers to build connections, which in turn supported student engagement and success overall.

“I liked the practicality and smaller classes. So you had one-on-one time with the lecturers, and they knew your names. You could get to know them.”

Jacob acknowledges that he’s “happy working at Tribe because it has a great culture. And that he is consistently motivated to learn and grow in the industry”

Tanya Upritchard, Head of People & Culture for Tribe, says: “Having Jacob as part of our team here in Hawke’s Bay has been awesome. It’s been fantastic to see Jacob make the most of the professional development opportunities available to him, whether that be industry recognised certifications (Tribe fully supports this investment in our people!) or learning on the job from his colleagues (nothing better than practice and play!).A credit to Jacob that he in a short amount of time has established really good rapport with Tribe’s customers and has become a really important part of Tribe’s engineering team.”

“Jacob is a perfect cultural fit for our business and embodies many of the Tribe core values that are an important part of who we are, its been a real pleasure to see Jacob realise his potential and with a well mapped out career progression here at Tribe Jacob has a path forward where he will continue to be challenged and grow.”

Ian Purdon, Information Technology Lecturer in the School of Computing at EIT | Te Pūkenga, says: “Jacob was a quiet achiever through the degree, and his obvious success in the workplace is a testament to his dedication and personal interest through the BCS programme, and another successful outcome for all stakeholders – well done Jacob!”