The new Master of Internet of Things course is attracting talented IT professionals from around the world to study in Bendigo. And thanks to some unique local partnerships, the students’ experiences are set to benefit the wider community.
Student Ayush Mainali come from Nepal to join the first IoT cohort in 2020. He’d been working as a software developer and teacher in his home country before deciding to progress his career.
“My specialization was in mobile application development,” Ayush says. “I also used to do part time teaching of programming at Softwarica College of IT and E-commerce, which was affiliated to Coventry University, UK. I also worked in the sector of Fintech and GIS.”
Ayush says the Bendigo Campus’ unique Internet of Things course appealed to his fascination for how things could be automated using simple sensors, gateways and network connections.
“I always wanted to build something that could make life easier,” he says. “I still remember the first time that I heard about Raspberry Pi and the things that could be built using it.” (A Raspberry Pi is known as a tiny and affordable computer that can be used to learn programming through fun and practical projects.)
“Back in 2015 I tried searching for Raspberry Pi back in my country, but couldn’t find one because we didn’t have access to international e-commerce sites such as e-bay and Amazon, and it was difficult importing things from abroad.
“Finally, I managed to get my hands on one by requesting one of my relatives to import it for me while they were returning from Canada. And I still remember my first project Network Attached Server. So, this was how my IoT journey started.”
Ayush later collaborated with his wife, a bio medical engineer, to build a smart ECG machine using Raspberry Pi – which demonstrated the far-reaching health applications of IoT.
“During this project I really felt how powerful IoT is, how it can contribute to the field of medical science and have a great impact on society,” he says. “So, after this I made up my mind to do masters in Internet of Things and landed here in La Trobe, Bendigo.”
World-class learning embedded in Bendigo
Ayush is now combining classwork with some interesting real-life projects. In summer he undertook Work Integrated Learning with Bendigo Telco, where he worked on the digitalization of fibre assets.
“I worked with the IT facility management team and the field officers to map out their assets around Bendigo using the web app that I made for data collection,” he says.
“The internship benefited me a lot. Since it was my first Australian job experience in my field of study, I got the chance to learn about the work culture here in Australia. Also, I learnt how to work as a team to solve a real-time problem. I feel like this job has helped to boost my confidence. Also, I learnt a lot about data analysis and GIS-based tools and technology.”
Ayush is now part of the team working with the City of Greater Bendigo to monitor the water quality of the Bendigo Creek. Bendigo students have created high-tech sensors for recording data about the creek and its tributaries – including water quality, pH levels and movement.
The sensors operate through Bendigo’s open-source Internet of Things network, which was established in 2018 through a La Trobe and City of Greater Bendigo partnership.
“This project is helping me a lot by providing practical, real-time experience with all the hardware, sensors, IoT protocols, cloud storage and visualization tools,” Ayush says.
Ayush is very encouraging of other IT professionals looking to pursue a career in the Internet of Things.
“I would suggest that IoT is one of the trending courses around the world that has good scope in the international job market,” he says. “This course is practical, so you can enjoy the learning by having a real-time hands-on experience building the things that you can imagine, using technology.
“Also, the Bendigo location is perfect for a student as it is very peaceful, and you have less distraction compared to city areas. The living expenses here in Bendigo are also reasonable and you can easily get a part time job to support you while you study.”