Sydney University students offer smart solutions to Accenture’s Technology team

students-offer-clever-solutions-to-accentures-technology-team

26 May 2017

Hands-on industry experience not only lets students get a taste of the real world before finishing university, but it also gives companies access to the brightest students who can provide a fresh perspective to business problems.

This is the thinking behind the University of Sydney's 12-week industry placement required of all engineering students and is also what inspired the development of the Sydney Industry Project Placement Scholarships (SIPPS) scheme.

SIPPS provides students at the top of their class the opportunity to spend six-months working full-time at a company of their choice as part of their final year of study.

For the last five months four Sydney University students have been working at global professional services company Accenture in the Technology team. They have been developing data analytics and automation tools for operational applications. They work directly with Accenture clients, scoping out projects and presenting their results.

One such project was for one of America's biggest retail outlets on an automated incident detection and management system across their 5000 stores. The system monitors everything in the store: products, transactions and infrastructure. Data is analysed and automatic resolutions are sent back to the company's relevant teams.

Another project the students have been working on is anomaly detection and predictive forecasting. They use machine learning to identify or anticipate issues in a client's operational infrastructure.

Adam Paruk, Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Mechatronic)/Bachelor of Computer Science and Technology student is loving the freedom and responsibility the placement is providing.

"I have the same responsibilities as a full-time employee; they don't treat me as a student but as an equal and this is by colleagues with 15 years' experience. Having the trust of others to deal with critical project decisions is definitely a confidence boost," he said.

Accenture's Managing Director, Luke Higgins has found working with the students a refreshing and enlightening experience. "They have a different perspective and a great creative energy when attacking a problem. This perspective yields better results as the solution is more simplistic in its implementation. I have enjoyed working with such high-calibre students, which Sydney University Engineering is known for producing."

For SIPPS students while they undertake their placement they also work on their final year thesis and use their industry experience as the basis for their work. Adam's thesis is on the development of a machine learning algorithm that detects unused or obsolete resources and notifies the company of the wastage, which was spurred by his work at Accenture.

Fellow SIPPS student, Nicolas Dai is currently studying a Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Mechatronic)/Bachelor of Project Management. Through the program he has gained valuable professional experience which will add to his education.

"Before SIPPS I hadn't had much exposure to software engineering, but over the last few months I've gained confidence in my abilities to investigate new technologies, identify business applications and create integrated solutions."

What does Nicolas want to gain out of the placement? "By the end of the program I hope to have built a solid set of skills and will be much more informed about the options out there after university," said Nicolas.