Every year, Spotlight Reporting hires interns through Summer of Tech (SoT), a local organisation that connects IT graduates with top tech companies throughout New Zealand. It's a chance for us to nurture up-and-coming talent and hear from some of the brightest and newest voices in the industry.
This summer, we hired our latest SoT intern Farid Ridhwan. Originally a government-sponsored student from Malaysia, Farid joined SoT in mid-2020, before completing his degree at Victoria University of Wellington in Information Systems in 2021. Now he's an important part of the Product team as our Digital Adoption Analyst Intern.
A Degree in Information Systems
Farid came to New Zealand as a student in 2019, sponsored by the Malaysian government to complete a degree in Information Studies. This course of study suited him perfectly, as it combined two of his biggest interests: business and technology.
“I would love to eventually be in a decision-making role in a tech company,” he says. “I enjoy having a good understanding of both sides of it, the business side and the role tech plays in everyday life.”
"Farid has worked exceptionally hard. He hasn't viewed the internship as a summer job, but as an opportunity to learn about working in a company—and he’s lapped up any and all feedback we’ve provided."
In the penultimate year of his degree, he discovered the Summer of Tech programme through a career fair. The organisation offered a mix of opportunities for recent graduates like him, including presentations by subject-matter experts, tips on how to approach an interview, and other resources Farid found helpful.
But the biggest highlight for him was the weekend bootcamp, where participants competed against each other to build the best possible app in two 9-5 days.
The Avocado (App) on Toast
Farid joined a team of six others, tasked with building an app addressing millennials who were struggling to stay on top of their finances. What they came up with was Avocado, a money-management system designed around the popular meme about millennials spending all their money on avocado toast.
The app tracked spending by using avocado-themed products to measure their spending habits. For example, if users saved enough to ‘fill’ the app’s virtual bottle of avocado oil, then they would now have enough money to buy avocado on toast for brunch on Sunday, guilt free!
After two days of hard work, their app was ready to be presented to the judges. The team won the prestigious Technical Award for building the best solution to the problem they were given.
“The bootcamp really helped me get a feel for what working for a company is like,” says Farid. “I spent two days having discussions with my team members, and working on building this product. It was a great introduction to professional life.”
A New Role at Spotlight Reporting
At the end of the programme, Farid submitted an application to join Spotlight Reporting as an intern.
“I was drawn to how simple Spotlight Reporting’s software solution is,” he says. “Four products, all designed to report financial information for companies. It was really clear what the company was trying to do through the role they advertised as well, and that’s what got me interested.”
After two rounds of interviews, Farid was invited to join the team as a Digital Adoption Analyst Intern. Day to day, he’s involved with analysing how our clients use our software, so he and the Product team can make it easier for them to make the most of our tools. The role involves data analysis, but also collaboration and problem solving—areas where Farid excels.
"I enjoy having a good understanding of both sides of it, the business side and the role tech plays in everyday life."
“Farid has worked exceptionally hard,” says Nik George, Product Expert at Spotlight Reporting. “He hasn't viewed the internship as a summer job, but as an opportunity to learn about working in a company—and he’s lapped up any and all feedback we’ve provided.
“We’ve challenged him with a variety of work, given him the opportunity to come up with his own solutions, and held him to high internal standards so that he develops as an employee and individual. So far, we’re very impressed.”
As a first job out of university, Farid’s enjoying his time at Spotlight Reporting.
“I like the office,” he smiles. “There’s so much natural light.”
But what he really loves about the company, he says, are the people. The team at Spotlight Reporting are a diverse, accepting bunch, so it’s not hard to fit in. Being friendly and helpful is an important part of company values, which Farid really appreciates.
“It’s so open—you can just ask for help if you need it, and someone will take the time to give you a hand,” he says. “It’s a really nice culture.”