Describe Technology in a nutshell.
Technology at Coles is about both supporting existing technical systems as well as driving the business forward through technical innovation. If our stores are the heart of the business, then our digital systems are the lifeblood – both are critical to keep the business going. So many of the new projects in the business involve IT in some way. Who said Coles was just about bananas?
On the support front, there is a lot of work that goes into following IT best practice (i.e. ITIL framework – get used to acronyms). On the innovation front, there is a big pipeline of projects that will supercharge IT delivery at Coles. There is also some future-focused project work going on in the Disruptive Tech team and Advanced Analytics – so plenty of exciting stuff happening.
What do you love about Technology?
One thing I love about Technology is the range of different market-leading tools you get to play with. Given the scale of Coles, it has a huge number of specialist IT teams that must work together and with that, comes a whirlwind of tool sets you get exposure to.
This means you pick up cutting-edge industry trends and tools by osmosis. It’s been fantastic for building a base of technical knowledge as an IT professional. Apparently, I’ve even started to babble some random tech jargon in my sleep!
More important than the tools though, I can honestly say the people I’ve worked with in the digital space have been great. Friendly, supportive and a lot of fun to be around.
What is the most rewarding experience you’ve had in this function so far?
The most rewarding experience I’ve had so far has been building an internal tool that helps IT teams find security information for different server infrastructure. I really felt like my contribution was valued and the tool has been used several times during critical incidents, which has been very rewarding. My time at Coles has yet to be marred by anything overly challenging so for now I’m still riding the buzz of this project!
I think there are three compelling reasons to consider Coles as a graduate interested in tech:
On the first point, Coles is massive and deals with the very real-world problems of a large-scale retailer. As such, you’ll work with enterprise-grade tools and processes doing work that could affect millions of Australians.
The second point highlights that as a large enterprise, delivering projects involves significant collaboration between teams. This means that as a graduate you build both personal skills as well as the technical skills needed to do your job.
Finally, there is a big demand for technical talent at Coles. Next to tech juggernauts like Microsoft or Google, it can be hard to see Coles as a tech company. A lot of graduates might look at Coles and think “bananas” not “next-generation AI technology platforms”. I think this is a real missed opportunity as there are many unique technical issues faced by a big, agile retailer like Coles and a crying need for technical graduates to help tackle them.
What piece of advice would you give to the graduates of the future?
One piece of advice would be to try thinking “in parallel” about their work. What I mean by this is considering how work done by others fits alongside work you are doing. Many projects depend on input from other team members to progress and ensuring others can start their bit early can really help things along. This is something I’ve been discovering is an important skill in an enterprise environment – collaboration is everything.
Another slightly fluffy but important piece of advice is to bring a good attitude. Key parts of a good attitude in my opinion: humility, being receptive to feedback, and being friendly with everyone.
How have you been supported on the graduate program at Coles?
Each team I’ve worked with so far has made me feel welcome and happy to come to work. In terms of the program itself, the graduate support team has worked hard to ensure I’ve received my first preference for teams to work with. There is also a cool role-reversal where the line managers pitch to us grads to convince us to join their teams, instead of having to sell ourselves to them!
The other big selling point is the great network of other graduates to swap stories with and assemble lunch buddies from. Overall, I’ve been very happy with the support offered though the program.
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