Tech firm turns to interns

Leading tech company DataTorque has adopted a new approach that will see its bevy of new graduates thrive

DataTorque interns sitting with their mentors

One of New Zealand’s leading tech businesses has taken on an additional new approach to recruitment.

Wellington-based DataTorque has just hired 14 interns as part of its very first internship programme.

Already the approach is paying dividends.

DataTorque interns working on computer

“They are powering through their work and we’re definitely enjoying the unique new buzz around the place,” says chief operating officer Raymond Marshall.

Founded in 1994, DataTorque develops specialist software that helps governments around the world collect taxes (or revenue) from individuals and businesses to fund public services and infrastructure.

Today, with more than 140 staff in what is described as a vibrant, supportive, corporate environment, DataTorque is keen to provide interns with new opportunities.

“DataTorque has been growing steadily and we have recently won major new business that has enabled us to take some new approaches to the way we are doing things,” says Raymond.

“We now have increased capacity to mentor, train and take care of people early in their careers, whether they be developers, testers or business analysts,” he says.

“We have a lot of smart people who can benefit from the experience of sharing their knowledge and also offer valuable practical experience in a product environment to a group of interns.”

The new intake of interns, sourced mostly through the Summer of Tech, comprises eight developers, four test analysts and two business analysts.

Working at DataTorque will expose them to international tech systems, and a whole new world of the crucial importance of tax reform to nations based in Africa, Europe, the Pacific and the Caribbean, says Raymond.

“This will also give them many opportunities to learn and have fun as part of our inclusive team that always has a number of social activities on the go.”

Intern Vincent Cherry has joined DataTorque as a software developer and, having graduated from WelTec with a Bachelor of Information Technology majoring in Software Development, he says it’s a great logical next step in his career.

“It’s such an awesome feeling, being able to get into this straight after my qualification and start working with languages and technologies that I enjoyed the most in my time at WelTec, which is really cool.

The Kiwi-born 20-year-old believes businesses should hire interns because they bring a different energy to a team and are quick learners.

“There’s so much to learn so I’m trying to absorb it like a sponge, and while I’m by no means an expert, I like to think that I have an understanding of at least what I need to do!”

Fellow intern Sandy Kaur, originally from India, believes internship programmes like DataTorque’s will help to close the skills gap.

“New grads develop the necessary work values and skills before they actually start working at a company,” says the 30-year-old test analyst.

“And once they start as an intern, they are great for bringing fresh new ideas to work which can increase productivity and help employees to share their workload so they can focus on core business goals.”

Interns at DataTorque workplace

Armed with a Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering and Post-Graduation Diploma in Information Technology (level 8), Sandy says the opportunity to work at DataTorque is a dream come true.

“The greatest thing I have learned so far is from working in a team – four testers and eight developers all in the same team working on the same project and everybody is very supportive and helpful.

“Teamwork motivates me to learn new things from each other and gives me the ability to share different ideas with others.”

As a business, Raymond says there are many great reasons to employ interns.

“Like Vincent and Sandy, they tend to be eager to put their knowledge to work and hungry for opportunity – and that’s a great thing for a business like ours which is growing fast and has core values of ingenuity, focus, determination and doing things together.

“We need to keep looking for fresh ideas and new ways of doing things, and people new to the game are pretty good at doing that, particularly when you team them up with experienced operators.”

DataTorque interns playing table tennis

Like any other technology firm, Data Torque is competing for talent in a growing New Zealand IT sector, and with other Wellington businesses.

“So being able to provide a range of opportunities for people at different career stages is a positive thing for us,” says Raymond.

“We’re also mindful that with borders closed right now the ability to employ migrants new to the country is reduced, so it is a good time to keep broadening the way we think about attracting people.”

As Raymond says, neither the market nor technology stand still, which means recruitment approaches must continually be reassessed.

“It’s always a real balance for a business to attract and retain the right mix of skills and experience.

“Our staff have to keep delivering at a high level in order to meet the needs of our clients and those pressures inevitably increase when we are in a growth phase.”

Right now DataTorque is well-placed to provide opportunities for the next generation of talent.

“We are in a position now where we think we can provide the right support for interns, from suitable work to mentoring as well as things like having adequate space and a culture in which they will thrive,” says Raymond.

“All of these things are important, so they are supported to contribute to the business to the best of their ability, as well as to get the most out of their experience, that way we all see the benefits.”

For Data Torque it’s a win-win situation.

“We are excited to give new things a go and to see how we learn from our interns as a business, as well as to see how they grow and develop.

“We love their enthusiasm and the buzz they bring in around the office - the team is looking forward to helping them grow and to seeing where this opportunity will take them.”

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