New country, new career

Herman Engelbrecht
  • Auckland Transport

A passion for information technology and a desire to further his education took Open Polytechnic Bachelor of Information Technology graduate Herman Engelbrecht from a farming job in South Africa to an IT career in Auckland. 

Herman says the decision to study through Open Polytechnic, New Zealand’s specialist provider of online and distance education, was the ‘golden answer’ for him when choosing to kick-start a career in IT after his move to Auckland.

“I was working full-time so the big benefit when picking the Bachelor of Information Technology through Open Polytechnic was the flexibility, which was great,” says Herman, who now works for Auckland Transport.

“It meant I could do work in my own home and fit study and submitting assignments around work and my personal life. I really wanted a balance between work, life and study and Open Polytechnic respected that.”

Herman began his tertiary study in marketing in South Africa before going on to graduate with a degree in Agricultural Business Management. After working as a farmer in his homeland for several years Herman and his partner decided to move to New Zealand.

A passion for IT

“Once we moved to Auckland I decided to get into IT,” says Herman. “I really love technology. Even when I was a farmer I really enjoyed working with technology and installing IT on agricultural machines. It would just make life so much easier.”

After completing several university papers Herman decided to look for a new challenge.

“I decided that studying something in my field would be a good idea. I had a look on LinkedIn to see what qualifications others in my field have and started to notice that employers prefer it if you have a degree.

“Due to work commitments studying full-time was not an option for me, so studying through Open Polytechnic was the golden answer.”

Having already studied at tertiary level Herman says he was used to giving up his weekends and spare time for study.

“With Open Polytechnic there were a lot of bonuses that I didn’t have through my previous universities such as the flexibility around study and submitting assignments. The challenge of fitting study around work has made me better at prioritising and this has had a good impact on my whole life.”

Career goals a key motivator

Herman’s passion for IT along with his career goals kept him motivated throughout his studies.

“I always kept in mind my end goal and where I wanted to be. After that I would always be quite motivated.

“Working in IT makes you really think about what the future might look like. I really appreciated that during the course we explored what the future of IT would look like, some of that material was quite mind blowing.”

Herman says his work place supported him through his degree as they could see the value in him furthering his education. Since finishing his Bachelor of Information Technology Herman has changed roles with Auckland Transport and is now an Application Support Analyst.

New qualification, new role

“The new role is a bit of an upgrade for myself, I am here because of my study. My employers see potential in me and my future because of my study.

“It makes a big difference having a qualification in my field of work. For any IT role that somebody maybe considering then I think this is a really good qualification to do.

“Doing the Bachelor of Information Technology through Open Polytechnic really opened my eyes to other fields that I didn’t know anything about. That was really helpful to me.”

Herman completed his Bachelor of Information Technology at the beginning of the year. After a short break he plans to continue studying and exploring new opportunities to further his education.

I really wanted a balance between work, life and study and Open Polytechnic respected that.