Academy Xi Blog

What is quantum computing, how do quantum computers work?

By Academy Xi

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Quantum Theory explains the nature and behaviour of matter and energy on the microscopic atomic and subatomic levels. Combine this with computers and what do you get? Read on to learn about the world of quantum computing.

We have founding fathers Neils Bohr and Max Planck to thank for Quantum Theory, who were Nobel Prize winners in physics for their tireless efforts. Using their findings and theory, computer systems are being drastically improved to perform complex tasks far beyond what is already possible.

Many big players are committing significant resources to the development of quantum computers. IBM built the first circuit-based commercial quantum computer back in 2019, with Google claiming their own quantum creation was operating beyond supercomputer parameters around the same time. The race is on.

What is Quantum computing?

what is quantum computing

Essentially, quantum computing is a topic in IT study which is looking at the development of technology focused on the principles of Quantum Theory.

Quantum Theory:

A theory of matter and energy based on the concept of quanta, especially quantum mechanics.

And what does the ‘concept of quanta’ mean exactly? Let’s pop back to the 1900’s for a brief moment. Planck made the assumption that energy existed in individual units, as matter does, not just as a constant electromagnetic wave, so it was therefore quantifiable. He called these units quanta

Using the laws and principles of quantum theory, quantum computers can be used to solve complex problems that are too detailed for a regular computer to handle and they can do it at a serious pace.

How does a quantum computer work?

Traditional computers that we use day-to-day operate using known, definite measures. The operations are generally binary, which means they are based on two states – these could be on or off, up or down. Each binary unit, 1’s and 0’s, are known as a ‘bit’. 

When it comes to quantum computing, instead of operations using a ‘bit’ they use the quantum state of objects to create a ‘qubit’. Unlike a bit, a qubit is based on unknown measures that are undefined. 

Calculations are performed based on the probability of an object’s state. These calculations occur before the object is measured. The complex maths behind unknown and undefined measures is plugged into algorithms which rapidly generate solutions.

Uses and benefits of quantum computing

The major draw cards for quantum computers is the speed at which they can operate and the complexity of the problems they are able to solve. When we say speed, we’re talking calculations that can be conducted in a few seconds that would potentially take a traditional computer decades to solve, or longer. 

Any industry that is faced with complex problems can take advantage of this technology. Some companies already using quantum computing include:

  • IBM – machine learning and artificial intelligence 
  • Rigetti Computing – weather prediction
  • ProteinQure – drug research and discovery 
  • Volkswagen AG – automotive 
  • IonQ – sustainable energy

Potential downsides to quantum computers

Nothing is perfect. Quantum computers, while super speedy and able to work on complex problems, are still in the prototype stage for the most part and are expensive. Error rates are still reportedly high and research and development continues. The threat of cyber security breaches is all too real, as with any computer network, so solutions on this front are also being tried and tested.

Types of quantum computers

types of quantum computers

At this point in time, there are three types of quantum computers:

  • Quantum Annealer

This is easier to build of the three, but unfortunately also the weakest. Traditional computers can outperform the Annealer for everyday tasks (emails and gaming, for example), but the Annealer shines when it comes to its prowess with crazy large numbers, enabling it to break encryption and solve challenging optimisation issues.

  • Analog Quantum computer

This variety is where mainstream computer companies are heading when it comes to developing quantum computers for the consumer market. The analog quantum computer, without question, outperforms traditional computers on speed and will become the first quantum computer to drastically outperform our current models.

  • Universal Quantum computer 

The most powerful of the three types, the universal is also the most complex to create. Large scale quantities of energy are needed to operate them, as is cryogenic cooling to ensure that the optimal temperature is maintained to run effectively. 

How to get into tech and data

Before you can work with quantum computing, you first need to break into the world of tech and data. Learning while you train with practical, hands-on courses is the fastest way to get into these industries. Whether you’re looking to upskill to amplify your existing abilities, or seeking a new career path completely, building a solid foundation is paramount. 

Academy Xi offers both Software Engineering and Data Analytics courses, which will equip you with the essential skills and a stand-out portfolio.

If you have any questions, our experienced team is here to discuss your training options. Speak to a course advisor today and take the first steps in your tech and data journey.

Not sure which course is right for you? Chat to a course advisor and we’ll help you find the perfect match. 

Academy Xi Blog

Industry outlook for Software Engineering 2022

By Academy Xi

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Are you drawn to a career in Software Engineering and keen to find out what’s going on in today’s industry? We’ve put together this industry outlook to bring you all the latest Software Engineering insights, statistics and trends. 

Software Engineering is a field of computer science that deals with designing, developing and maintaining software systems, from basic applications to large online platforms with millions of lines of code.

Software Engineers are the unsung heroes of the digital age. It’s thanks to their skills (and the feats of modern engineering) that our devices have transformed into indispensable tools which we all depend on daily. 

If you’re contemplating transitioning into a Software Engineering career, it’s useful to have a detailed understanding of the latest developments in today’s industry.

Is Software Engineering a growing field in Australia?

The last few years have seen a shift toward online business, with the Australian eCommerce market now valued at more than $45 billion. Australian eCommerce is expected to increase by 13.27% before 2025, resulting in revenue of $66 billion.

Digital transformation means more businesses than ever want smarter, faster websites and apps, while the move toward cloud-based systems is also seeing increasing demand for the services of Software Engineers. A market forecast by Gartner predicts high industry growth in the coming years, with Australia’s spending on Software Engineering anticipated to increase 14.9% by 2025.  

Is there demand for Software Engineers in Australia?

There’s currently a widening skills-gap where Australian Software Engineers are concerned, with Seek currently advertising 6,007 vacant roles (as of July 2022). Breaking these numbers down by state: (Source, Seek)

  • New South Wales offers 2,177 roles 
  • Victoria offers 1,754 roles 
  • Queensland offers 958 roles
  • Australian Capital Territory offers 333 roles
  • Northern Territory offers 18 roles 
  • South Australia offers 295 roles
  • Western Australia offers 321 roles
  • Tasmania offers 18 roles

It’s also worth remembering that many Software Engineering roles can be held remotely. Innovations with online work systems mean working from home as a Software Engineer can be just as interactive and fulfilling as working face-to-face.

The Australian Financial Review has forecast that the move toward remote work will continue throughout 2022 and 2023, with Seek currently advertising 816 remote Software Engineering roles throughout Australia.  

Which industries most commonly hire Software Engineers?

Software Engineers can provide custom-built software solutions targeting the unique needs of a business, streamlining its internal functions and ensuring seamless user experiences. Some of the industries that most frequently hire Software Engineers include:

Tech

Unsurprisingly, the majority of professional Software Engineers work in the tech industry. Software Engineers hired in the tech space could be responsible for anything from building web applications and content management systems, to maintaining databases and updating operating systems.

As long as the tech industry continues to grow, so will its demand for Software Engineers. Seek is currently advertising 4,964 Software Engineering roles in the Australian tech industry alone.  

Healthcare

Software Engineers play a pivotal role in the healthcare industry, from building patient portals to developing applications for storing and processing medical records. 

Medical applications can be programmed with algorithms that tap into vast amounts of data, helping healthcare workers diagnose patients and provide treatment.

Some of the most exciting developments in medicine have been expedited by advances in machine learning and data science, which means there’s limitless scope for career progression as a healthcare Software Engineer.    

Retail

The shift from bricks-and-mortar stores to online shopping has seen surging demand for Software Engineers in the retail e-commerce industry. 

Software Engineers use programming languages like JavaScript and HTML to build slick transactional websites and mobile apps, while SQL is used to access and manage databases, which allows retailers to track inventories and monitor customer activity.

Education

In the past few years, education has digitised at an astonishing rate. Virtual classrooms, online learning platforms, video tutorials and student portals make learning more personalised and facilitate collaboration.

The education sector now relies on Software Engineers to build engaging software programs, which increase the interactivity of learning materials and create a more stimulating learning environment.

FinTech

From basic invoicing and billing, to tax calculations and project management, accounting software is an essential tool in the finance sector. Software Engineers working in fintech are also able to build systems that incorporate emerging technologies, including AI and machine learning, which increase the accuracy of financial forecasting. 

With fintech investing heavily in state-of-the-art software, Indeed is currently advertising 1,189 Software Engineering roles in Australian finance. 

How much is the average salary for a Software Engineer in Australia?

The latest stats from Talent.com record the average Software Engineer salary in Australia as $119,963. Entry-level positions start at $100,726 per year, while the most experienced Software Engineers make an average of $169,250 per year.

The average yearly salary in each state is as follows:

  • New South Wales – $105,753 
  • Queensland – $96,010 
  • Northern Territory – $87,457 
  • Western Australia – $100,109 
  • South Australia – $88,375 
  • Victoria – $98,368 
  • Australian Capital Territory – $90,352 
  • Tasmania – $98,360 

What other titles do Software Engineers go by?

When you’re job hunting for Software Engineering roles, it’s handy to know that Software Engineers often go by alternative titles. The following job titles are often used when describing the work of a Software Engineer:

  • Software Developer 
  • Software Development Engineer
  • Web Developer
  • Front-end Engineer
  • Back-end Engineer
  • Computer Programmer
  • Application Developer
  • Application Engineer 
  • Systems Programmer

What are the top skills a Software Engineer needs?

If you think Software Engineers only need to be able to write code, think again. Being a Software Engineer is a multifaceted role that calls for a wide range of capabilities. Here are the top 5 soft skills and top 5 technical skills needed to make an impact in today’s Software Engineering industry:

Top 5 technical skills that Software Engineers need

Object-Oriented Design (OOD)
Object-oriented design (OOD) is a software engineering technique that involves planning a system of interacting objects for the purpose of solving a software problem. Software Engineers use OOD to break down a program’s structure into simple, reusable pieces of code. ODD can improve the accuracy of coding, while reducing development time.

Programs created through OOD are normally more flexible and easier to write, offering Software Engineers the conceptual tools needed to build systems that perfectly match any specifications they’re given. 

Programming
Perhaps unsurprisingly, programming skills are the cornerstone of a Software Engineer’s work. Using programming languages to write code enables Software Engineers to create detailed instructions for a system to execute. 

Software engineers don’t need to be able to code fluently in every language, but will normally develop expertise in at least one. The four most commonly used Software Engineering languages are Javascript, HTML/CSS, Python and SQL.

Software testing
Software testing is the process of verifying that a system does what it’s supposed to do. The benefits of carrying out tests include preventing bugs, reducing development costs and optimising software performance.

As well as having the technical skills to perform tests, many Software Engineers are responsible for creating test management plans. This helps to clarify which types of testing will provide the most value, factoring in the time and resources available.

Version control
Version control is a class of systems that’s used for managing changes to software. Software Engineers use version control skills to track changes to code, revert coding to a previous state and give teammates clarity over how a development project is progressing.  

As well as code, version control systems allow Software Engineers to manage changes to text, html, images and pretty much any other file a software project might entail. 

Code Documentation
Maintenance consumes most of the total life-cycle cost of a software project, and the ability to write clear documentation is one of the most important skills a Software Engineer can have. Without formal in-code documentation, a software project can quickly become impossible to maintain and modify. 

Good documentation will very precisely explain what a piece of code does and how it does, making it easy for anybody else to work with that code and build on the software in the future.

Top 5 soft skills that Software Engineers need

Problem solving
Effectively guiding a software development project to completion requires the ability to quickly identify and solve any problems that crop up along the way. The best Software Engineers will be able to anticipate issues before they arise and take measures to resolve them in advance. 

Attention to detail
Software Engineers are expected to be precise and meticulous, with a high level of attention to detail applied to everything they do. To give an example, Software Engineers have to be able to sift through large amounts of code to pinpoint a programming error that’s impeding the functionality of an app. 

Collaboration
Building software systems often requires the input and skills of a number of people. Because Software Engineers often work as part of a team (or might even lead one), it’s vital they have collaborative skills. Software Engineers need to be able to give and receive critical feedback, and motivate the people around them to deliver their best possible work.

Communication
No Software Engineer exists in a vacuum, and having effective communication skills increases collaboration, saves time and minimises errors. As well as coding fluently, Software Engineers need to be able to communicate clearly with teammates and stakeholders, regardless of their technical expertise.  

Adaptability
The Software Engineering industry is defined by constant innovation, with new software and tech being released on a daily basis. This means today’s Software Engineer has to be willing to self-learn and embrace the possibilities that come with the latest tools. Adopting new tech enables faster project deliveries, reduced spending, and enhanced end user experiences.

What are the most commonly used programming languages?

When it comes to Software Engineering, different problems can be solved with different tools. Each programming language has unique features that make it suitable for completing specific tasks. 

Here are the most popular programming languages and their common uses:

JavaScript

JavaScript is the world’s most popular scripting language and widely used in website development. It can be used to program a website’s functionality, allowing a site’s visitors to interact with its content. 

Because JavaScript is primarily a client-side programming language, it normally operates within the user’s browser. However, the release of Node.js has enabled Software Engineers to execute JavaScript code within servers.

HTML/CSS

Strictly speaking, HTML/CSS isn’t a programming language. It’s a markup language that’s used by Software Engineers to determine how a web page is displayed to web users. 

HTML/CSS uses tags to structure the elements of a document, determining how components like headings, images, tables and hyperlinks will appear on the page. Once these tags are included, the web browser interprets them and displays the content according to the instructions.

Python

Python is a general-purpose programming language that’s known for being simple and readable, and is normally used by Software Engineers when working with back-end servers.  

Python has become industry-standard in data science, enabling data professionals to perform complex statistical calculations, manipulate and analyse data, create custom data visualisations, and even build machine learning algorithms.

SQL

SQL is the most commonly used language for extracting and organising data. SQL programming is used to communicate with databases, enabling users to update, retrieve and manipulate data. Even if the data analysis is being performed in Python, SQL is the programming language that’s needed to extract the data.

The latest trends in Software Engineering

With advances in the tech space always pushing the boundaries of Software Engineering, it’s an exciting time to be involved in the industry. Here are the latest Software Engineering trends to watch out for in the future. 

Cloud-native technology

Modern software has become increasingly complex, with clients and users always demanding more from applications. Cloud-native architecture strips away many of the networks, servers and operating systems that restrict a Software Engineer’s build process.

Cloud-native architecture offers the latest technologies, including Kubernetes, Docker and Kafka, which allow developers to reduce their tasks, create scalable software and quickly build more powerful applications.   

Progressive web apps

A progressive web app is a mobile compatible website that acts and feels like an app. Using enhanced background processing, progressive web apps accelerate page loading and deliver a much faster user experience.

Offering a cost efficient alternative to multiple builds, a good progressive web app can effectively replace a company’s mobile app, its native app and maybe even its desktop site. 

Low-code and no-code (LCNC)

The advance of low-code and no-code platforms is the next big leap in making app development accessible for all businesses. Rather than choosing between ready-made or custom platforms, LCNC enables businesses to build applications by simply dragging and dropping components. 

For Software Engineers, LCNC can automate stages in the build process and speed up the work flow. In the coming years, expect to see more hybrid projects that combine manual coding and the use of LCNC tools.    

Machine Learning

Recent years have seen rising attempts to incorporate machine learning into software. As a branch of AI, machine learning algorithms collect, organise and analyse data, which can be used for predictive modelling. In short, the software uses past performance to adjust and optimise its current performance. Machine learning can also dramatically increase the accuracy of software testing, leading to greater quality assurance.   

Entry points and career pathways in Software Engineering

Looking at the industry from the outside in, the prospect of becoming a professional Software Engineer can seem daunting. However, thanks to the evolution of Software Engineering training, it’s never been more achievable to enter the field as a beginner. 

Remember – don’t underestimate the value of your work experience. If you have prior exposure to problem solving, working in teams or project management, these are all experiences that will come in handy when learning Software Engineering. 

To enter the world of Software Engineering, you’ll need to strategically plan your career development. This usually entails five key steps: 

  • Getting an education – You’ll need to master the industry’s essential tools and practical skills, including the fundamentals of programming. A computer science degree could take a minimum of 3 years to complete, whereas training at a private college could see you graduating job ready in software engineering in a much shorter period of time.
  • Gaining experience – Software Engineering skills can only be fully grasped ‘hands-on’, so you’ll need plenty of practical experience with coding. This will also give you the chance to specialise and develop expertise in particular programming languages. 
  • Getting certified – The Software Engineering industry is highly competitive and you’ll need to have a formal certification that concretely demonstrates your new programming skills to prospective employers. 
  • Building a portfolio – Potential employers will also be keen to see your skills put into practice. A custom portfolio is a perfect chance to show off your own unique approach to solving problems with coding.  
  • Applying for roles – By this stage, you’ll be ready to start pinpointing roles based on your capabilities. You’ll want to update your CV and LinkedIn profile so potential employers have an accurate snapshot of your skills and professional experience.

When searching for your first role, it’s not uncommon to start as a junior Software Engineer, which might entail:

  • Assisting with basic software design
  • Writing and maintaining code
  • Performing minor bug fixes
  • Monitoring technical performance
  • Conducting development tests
  • Writing reports

Once you’ve built up experience and a more extensive portfolio, you’ll have the chance to apply for mid-level and senior roles. Senior Software Engineers will have the skills to modify software components anywhere in the software stack. They can also identify the root causes for complex software issues and implement effective solutions.

Senior Software Engineers will often work freelance, designing and developing software systems for a number of clients on short-term contracts.

As a senior Software Engineer, there are also normally opportunities to lead projects and teams. You might even land a formal management role, which involves overseeing budgets, work schedules and team development. 

Given enough time, continuing on the management path can lead to executive roles, such as VP of Engineering or Director of Engineering. 

Ready to revamp your career with Software Engineering?

Academy Xi Software Engineering: Transform courses have been built in collaboration with the award-winning Flatiron School (New York, US). Taught by industry-expert mentors, our courses come in two flexible formats, meaning you can go from beginner to hired in 10 months (part-time), or in 5 months (full-time). 

Both course options offer you the chance to:

  • Get full-stack skills employers are searching for in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, React & Redux, SQL, Ruby, Rails, Git & GitHub.
  • Spend 50% of your time coding, with labs, practical exercises and hands-on programming projects.  
  • Complete 4 hands-on projects of increasing complexity, plus your final capstone project.
  • Showcase your final project to guest industry professionals. You’ll not only receive feedback from a panel of experts, but also have an opportunity to network and expand your connections in Australia’s tech space.
  • Land your dream Software Engineering role with CV, job search and interview advice from our proven Career Support Program (97% job placement rate in FY 22). 

Want to discuss your transferable skills and course options? Speak to a course advisor today about our Software Engineering bootcamp and take the first steps toward becoming a professional Software Engineer.

Student Spotlight: Ryochi Tanaka

Academy Xi Blog

Student Spotlight: Ryochi Tanaka

By Academy Xi

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Ryochi followed his passion, retrained in software engineering and left sales to become a full-stack developer.

Student Spotlight: Ryochi Tanaka

After a few years of trying to crack the art of coding, Ryochi joined the Software Engineering: Transform course. Find out how Ryochi’s passion for programming developed and how the course helped him land an exciting new full-stack developer role with Moonward.

Thanks for chatting with us today, Ryochi. Can you tell us about your career history?

I was born and raised in Japan but moved to Brisbane in 2018. After I graduated from university in Japan, I took the mainstream path, whereby you get a traditional education and then seek out financial stability by finding work with a big company. After graduation, I started working as a recruiting consultant – which was a role that focused on sales.

I dealt with companies operating in various fields, but I occasionally consulted with people working in IT and was always interested to find out about what was going on in the tech industry. At that time, I wasn’t completely satisfied with my sales career.

Arriving in Australia, I managed to get a sales job with a food supplier in Brisbane and stayed with the company for about 2 years, but I knew deep down that I wanted a very different career.

I felt a sense of freedom in Australia – there was no need to live-up to the stereotypes of what a successful person should do in their professional life. I realised that I had options – I had a chance to do anything I wanted and could follow my passion.

A friend had introduced me to coding years before at university. It was a cool experience that made a big impression on me. Initially, my motivation to learn software engineering didn’t come from a concrete decision to establish a career as a coder, but more from a desire to get back in touch with a sense of enjoyment.

I knew that if I spent my time practising a skill that gave me real pleasure it would lead to a happier and healthier lifestyle. That’s when I started dedicating myself to coding.

How did you arrive at studying with Academy Xi?

Well, that was a journey in itself! Once I made the decision to learn how to code, I carried out loads of research. I looked into learning methods, schools, online resources and all the different programming languages.

I started by completing a Certificate IV in Programming, which I studied for while I was still working in sales. It took about 3 hours of my time each week, which was a manageable workload, but the qualification mostly focused on the theory of programming. I spent hardly any time practising coding hands-on and didn’t get much support from the course provider.

I graduated with a logical understanding of programming but very little practical coding experience. After that, I taught myself JavaScript for a couple of months and managed to build some simple applications.

I was keen to develop a career as a full-time coder by that stage, but didn’t have the confidence to work as a professional programmer, so I started researching courses again. I decided I needed more practical training to boost my confidence and luckily, that’s when I discovered Academy Xi.

What convinced you to enrol in the Software Engineering course?

Initially, I was a little hesitant to take another online course, since my first experience hadn’t lived up to my expectations.

After looking closely at the Academy Xi Software Engineering: Transform course, I realised that the curriculum and syllabus were really thoughtfully put together.

All the online course materials were perfectly organised and gave a very clear breakdown of the skills I would develop. There was lots of emphasis on gaining coding experience, which is exactly the kind of course I was after.

Another big plus was the promise of lots of guidance and support. The course offered everything that was missing from the first qualification.

Finally, I compared the course content and price to other major bootcamps and decided that Academy Xi was by far the best option.

How did you find the course?

Honestly, there was a lot to learn! Luckily, my instructor was Albert and he dedicated a lot of his time to making sure the students grasped all the skills.

Albert was knowledgeable and understood coding inside-out, but as well as being an expert, he was a really caring and helpful person. He genuinely wanted the whole cohort to develop all the skills the course taught.

There were stages when the coding became pretty complicated and Albert always made himself available to explain. If anyone in the cohort had a question, he responded within the hour. Even if someone was stuck, they were never stuck for too long!

If any of us were really struggling with a particular module or project, Albert was flexible enough to rearrange our timelines so that we had a chance to get to grips with it. In software engineering, that kind of approach is vital, because each new skill builds on the last.

What was your most important takeaway from the course?

It completely changed my mindset toward being a programmer. When I was trying to learn to code by myself, the more I found out about programming, the more I realised there were skills I didn’t have. It really knocked my confidence when it came to applying for jobs.

Albert has developed software for multiple companies and knows from experience that the key to being a successful programmer is a willingness to work with new technologies. He helped me understand that the field is always evolving, so programmers have to evolve too. Learning new skills is an essential part of the job.

Early in the course, I stopped seeing the things I couldn’t do as obstacles, but as opportunities to evolve and improve. Everything I did throughout the course gave me the chance to reinforce that mindset.

Albert also told me that being able to adjust to new technologies is often more important to employers than experience. That boosted my confidence and I started applying for jobs just a couple of weeks after the course started.

Thankfully, it didn’t take long after graduation for me to land a new role as a full-stack developer with Moonward, a design-led app development agency.

Nicely done, Ryochi! Do you have a few words of advice for anyone considering an Academy Xi Software Engineering course?

The course outcomes have been fantastic for me. Studying Software Engineering with Academy Xi helped me secure a new role and has given me the skills and experience needed to really perform. I use the knowledge I developed throughout the course all the time.

However, completing the course takes hard work and you do have to pick up a lot of new skills in quite a short period of time. Before you start the course, you have to be fully committed and passionate about learning to code.

If someone seriously wants to be a software engineer, I’d advise them not to get an online certificate, or study alone, and definitely to join Academy Xi instead. Speaking from experience, Academy Xi courses are well taught and give you everything you need to learn to code to a really high level.

Academy Xi Blog

Community Spotlight: Luke Lewandowski

By Academy Xi

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Co-founder Luke discusses how ParentalEQ is helping improve the mental health of parents across Australia and the UK.

At ParentalEQ, co-founder Luke Lewandowski and the team are hard at work providing a service that helps build emotionally strong families. A few of our Software Engineering students got to work on the app with Luke, gaining valuable insight into how real developers think and build.

Thanks for chatting today, Luke. Can you tell us about the service ParentalEQ provides?

ParentalEQ is an on-demand counselling service designed to help with the challenges of parenting. Parents can log on to our app anywhere, anytime and start a conversation with a counsellor without needing to make an appointment.

We worked with a team of psychologists and put together simplified, practical parenting knowledge that’s delivered in specific modules. The modules come with suggested activities that parents can carry out with their kids.

Initially we offered just the self-help modules, but early in 2021 we realised that parents also wanted to access a mental healthcare professional for personal guidance and reassurance that everything is going to be okay. That’s when we introduced on-demand counselling, which has really rounded off the service we’re able to offer.

Whatever a parent’s challenge might be, we aim to provide professional advice and relationship-building activities that help them move beyond it.

Was there a ‘turning point’ or moment when you realised the importance of ParentalEQ?

There certainly was. Very early in the project we discovered 50% of adult mental health issues actually stem from traumatic experiences that occur when people are aged 14 and under. That was definitely a ‘woah’ moment for me and my co-founders – it really spurred us on and reaffirmed our sense of purpose.

We wanted to find a solution to the accessibility problem and realised that if parents are able to receive qualified healthcare assistance in good time, they can prevent these issues from escalating and becoming a chain reaction of problems as kids move through adolescence into adulthood.

When the project started, pre-covid, the wait time for psychologists was about 30 days. Since the start of the lockdown, that period’s increased to a number of months. Lots of the clinics aren’t taking on new patients right now and probably won’t for the rest of the year. It’s creating a second pandemic of unresolved mental health problems.

Helping families to recover from the stresses and strains of the lockdown environment is going to be a long-term fix. The ParentalEQ app will hopefully play an important role in that process. Our ultimate goal is to make a high standard of mental healthcare accessible to as many people as possible, exactly when they need it

ParentalEQ is an on-demand access to parent-science experts and personalised programs. It is available in the App Store and Play Store.

Why did you choose to bring our Software Engineering students into the project?

I actually brought Academy Xi students on board to help develop a few of my previous projects. The results have always been great. Once the ParentalEQ project reached a certain point in its development, I decided to get some of the Software Engineering students involved. They were joined by some of the Academy Xi UX UI students and everybody worked together beautifully. 

There was lots to be done, so the engineering help was valuable and it gave the students the experience they needed to launch their careers. The students take a leap of faith in their own abilities and it can lead to a total career transformation – from a taxi driver yesterday to a software developer tomorrow.

Four students stepped into the project and the assignments they completed are not throw-away – it’s been something to put on their CVs, show to prospective employers and say “look, I helped develop this product.”

It was a partnership that worked out nicely – the Software Engineering students helped us improve a product that’s on the market and they were able to showcase their contribution to that product in interviews. For everyone involved, it was a win-win scenario.

How did you find working with our students?

What I appreciate most about working with Academy Xi students is they arrive from different walks of life. They're all mature adults that have lived full lives, but have decided to try something different and change careers. They are open-minded and work hard to get there.

Luke Lewandowski

I also find the Academy Xi students are like sponges in how they collaborate – they really want to learn as much as possible and are completely open to discovering a more effective way of doing things.

Completing the Software Engineering course asks the students to develop a range of new skills quite quickly – so it’s my responsibility as an experienced coder and software developer to show them how to apply those new skills. They arrive with a toolbox of Software Engineering skills and I show them what work to do with what tools, which really crystallises their development.

I was also very impressed with how the students worked as a team. They arrived from all walks of life, but really bonded and supported each other. Those are vital characteristics to develop, because in the real-world you’ll be working in scrums with a number of professionals and getting things done collectively.

Would you consider working with Academy Xi students for future projects?

Absolutely – it worked perfectly, but at the moment I’m carrying out most of the development work myself. That said, I’d be up for doing something similar in the future. It’s the perfect environment for the students to apply everything they’ve learned, and they also learn some completely new skills at the same time.

I really enjoy the mentoring role the student projects place me in. The students were applying for jobs parallel to completing the assignment, so I also gave them non-technical guidance by helping them polish-up their CVs and prepare for interviews.

It wasn’t just a transactional arrangement of ‘you complete this task and then you’ll graduate’. I dedicated time to giving the students additional mentoring and did everything I could to ready them for that shift into the Software Engineering industry.

That’s wonderful to hear, Luke – thanks! We’ll look forward to working with you again soon and we’ll also keep an eye on the ParentalEQ app. It’s a service that makes a huge difference for all the families using it and we’re proud to be involved!

Make an impact in the tech industry and the wider world with our Software Engineering: Transform course. Designed by tech experts and professionals, this course will have you thinking and building like an industry-ready Software Engineer.

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