Home Blog Graduates and Interns November 2019 My journey from Telstra Graduate to Telstra Labs expert

My journey from Telstra Graduate to Telstra Labs expert

by Luca Stamatescu

Data Engineering – Senior Specialist

At Telstra Vantage this year, I had the opportunity to share some of the AI and machine learning projects I'm working on as part of the Telstra Labs team. 

It’s a great feeling to be able to say I’m a subject matter expert in emerging technologies, and it’s thanks to my time in the
Telstra Graduate Program.
From day one I had my sights set on Telstra because I knew about all the exciting work they’re doing in the emerging tech space. In my own time, I enjoy working on virtual reality and 3D printing prints and racing FPV drones – so tech is something I’m incredibly passionate about.
But as a new grad, it can be hard to know how to translate personal passion into professional development. The Telstra Graduate Program gave me the opportunity to build the real-world skills and experience needed to execute my current role.
What’s it really like being in the Telstra Graduate Program?
Everyone in the program does three rotations to learn about different areas of the business and be exposed to different learning opportunities.
I started as a technical resource in the accounts team, where I got to interact with customers and learn about our approach to customer experience.
From there, I moved to Telstra Labs (then called the Chief Technology Office) to get hands-on experience working with emerging technologies like AI, AR, VR, 5G and drones.
For my final rotation, I worked with the networks and big data team to get an in-depth look at how we manage data at an enterprise level.
Those three perspectives – the sales and customer perspective, the technology perspective and the ‘at-scale’ enterprise perspective – have collectively driven success in my current role and equipped me with valuable tools for the future. Now I can say I not only have a deep understanding of tech, but also key skills like managing teams, vendors and budgets.
Throughout the Program, the leadership teams were always there to lead me to the right experiences, giving me visibility and the opportunity to excel.

In particular, my leader Steve Harley has been one of my strongest advocates and helped set me up for success.

Where I am today
Since finishing the Graduate Program a year ago, I’ve moved into a full-time role at Telstra Labs as an AI and Machine Learning expert.
Day to day, I look at what will be happening in the space over the next three to five years, and also how we can use the technology to improve our products and analytics capabilities in the short term.
At the moment I’m working on an asset tracking and monitoring project examining how we can utilise machine learning to make sense of all the data coming through our network. Our goal is to have the technology not just provide insights, but also actions for offering a better customer experience. 
I’m also working on a project where we’re looking at using drones and AI for search and rescue. We want to answer the question: “What if we popped up a drone sending video over our network and trained an AI model to find people who are lost?”
We’ve tested this over 4G at about 20 metres height with 1080p resolution, and then over 5G at about 80m height with 4K resolution. What we found is that the search and rescue effort is much faster at a higher bandwidth and resolution.
These are just a couple of examples of the exciting challenges I get to tackle on a daily basis – and the foundational experience I gained in the Telstra Graduate Program has been essential in getting me where I am today.
Interested in a career in emerging technology? Learn more about Telstra’s Graduate Program.

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