Vanessa Ung

Computer Science

For me, picking computer science was (luckily) an easy choice. I did a UNSW computing course in high school, and when it came to picking degrees, nothing else piqued my interest quite as much! I picked UNSW because of my prior involvement with the course, and because many of my friends in computing were going there.

I really enjoyed the flexibility that the computer science degree offered. There was a lot of room for trying out different areas, which was a great way to broaden my knowledge without committing to a particular specialisation. It gave me a solid foundation for critical thinking, and broad knowledge that helped me as a generalist software engineer.

Campus life was fantastic as well: I made new and enduring friends throughout my degree, and have so many good memories from university life.

Being involved in CSESoc as a High School Head running classes and workshops for high school students nursed my desire to help others learn in a welcoming environment. It was really meaningful to be able to encourage students in their early computer science journey – the same way others had done for me.

I had no idea what I really wanted to do with my computing career after university. Out of the blue, a Dropbox recruiter messaged me asking if I wanted to apply for a software engineering job in their SF office, and I couldn’t say no to that!

At Dropbox, I worked on Sign In with Apple, Sign In with Google, their Identity & Access Management service, and Dropbox Shop.

Now, back in Australia, I’m working as a Senior Software Engineer at Dovetail. I’ve always wanted to give start-up life a go, so here I am! I’m working on permissions architecture for our user research software. It’s been a very fun project to sharpen my brain on, full of juicy problems and opportunities for learning.

I’m grateful to have been involved in these projects, as they’ve given me a wide range of experiences as well as the privilege of working with and learning from many clever and kind people.

I feel very lucky to be in computer science – in general, there are so many directions to take your career. So far I know I love delving into backend architecture, with its product, scale & data consistency problems. But as the technology landscape continuously evolves, who knows what’s next?