5 Minutes With... Matt Lama, Tech Professional
25th May 2020
- ACS member, Matt Lama, recently moved from London to Australia to follow his dreams in IoT and Blockchain.
- ACS supported Matt in his career through the Skills Migration process and certification.
- Discover how Matt made the move with his family during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what advice he gives to others looking to develop their professional career in these unprecedented times.
How has ACS membership supported your career journey in tech?
I’ve got a lot to thank the ACS for. Two years ago, living and working in Australia was just a dream. I distinctly remember sitting on the train into London on my daily commute, which was about an hour and half, and making a firm decision to commit to moving to Australia. It was almost certainly raining at the time, and it was a long road from there, but the positive skills assessment from the ACS really galvanised my belief that we could make the move and also gave me the impetus to make it happen.
What drew you to the ACS and certification?
I became aware of the ACS as I worked through the skilled migration process. Since arriving in Australia, it became obvious to me that I’d need some help to build a new network with like-minded and brilliant people in order to secure a future here, so it was my first port of call in that respect.
In terms of certification, I’m just starting down that path so I’m hoping for a successful outcome, but I wanted to pursue that because having arrived in Australia recently I wanted to give potential employers an extra level of confidence in my ability as I go about my search for employment. It goes without saying that the job market is highly competitive at the moment, so I think you need to try to find ways to give yourself an edge and stand out.
What previous roles have you held and what roles are you looking for in the tech sector?
My previous roles have been mainly Project Management orientated, focussing on technology implementations in the private sector. More recently I’ve been in a leadership role in a global applications team, which has been a fantastic experience and really elevated my soft skills and commercial acumen. It has also given me the chance to work alongside some amazing people who I’ve learned from and been inspired by.
In terms of what I’m looking for in Adelaide, I’m keen to be a part of the burgeoning tech sector here. Blockchain and IoT are particularly interesting to me so I’d love to be involved in some way with those technologies. Culture is also really important to me now, so I’d like to find an organisation where I can contribute to shaping a solid team culture.
What is your greatest challenge as a leader/ business owner?
I’d have to say adapting to the rate of change and keeping yourself relevant in that environment. I’ve noticed a lot of my LinkedIn network taking the opportunity the recent circumstances have presented to get on top of their certifications and qualifications which is a fantastic positive response and a great way to position yourself for a post-pandemic workplace. But it does perhaps indicate that there is a tendency to shelve personal professional development in favour of productivity in normal operating conditions, so I think as professionals, we need to try to maintain a good balance between the two. I’m definitely guilty of this, so that’s something I need to get better at as well... Nothing like a global pandemic to nudge you in the right direction!
What is the key piece of advice you’d give to your younger self?
Try to find your focus early and commit to it. When I reflect on my younger years I think I’ve had quite a varied background, which has given me good perspective as I’ve absorbed lessons from many different contexts and walks of life, but I think I’d be further ahead now if I’d have really focused on one particular area and stuck with it. As I’ve developed and grown, I’ve become a much deeper thinker and less haphazard as a result. I think that’s had a really positive impact on my life because I’m a lot more focused on what I want.
Finally (and we just had to ask this question) what’s your experience of moving to Adelaide in the middle of a global pandemic been like?
In short... very tough. My wife and I have been planning and dreaming about this move for 2 or 3 years now, so we weren’t going to let a little thing like a global pandemic prevent us from going through with it. We actually accelerated our plans to make the move in March and I’m delighted that we did, as there’s no telling when we’d have been able to make the move, if at all, had we waited. Since being here, we have been astonished by the kindness of the community and frankly it’s hard to see how we would have survived, particularly during the first 2 weeks when we were isolating, without the support of the community. Since then we’ve started to find our feet and now, we’re feeling so lucky to be here, even more so as life is gradually getting back to normal. So, in spite of the challenging conditions we’re now feeling really positive.
"5 Minutes With..." is a series of articles showcasing exceptional ACS Members and their amazing, innovative, and game changing stories. Representing over 45,000 tech professionals across Australia, our Members work across industry, government, research, and education organisations and each edition highlights the role they are playing in making Australia a world leader in technology talent, fostering innovation, and creating new forms of value.