“I’m itching to start something!” Sherbaz Hashmi says, appearing like he might literally burst with enthusiasm.
He describes his big plans to expand an app he’s been working on, which recently won his team the GEO Week 2019 Hackathon. Called Our Map, it uses GIS technology to preserve and share Indigenous knowledge.
He explains another app idea, Shout Out, which streamlines the process for reporting public issues, like graffiti or road damage. That project won him an Esri Young Scholar Award, and a trip to the USA to accept it.
Then Sherbaz mentions that two years earlier, he was on the OK RDY team which won an InnovationACT grant to develop a mentor-matching platform connecting students with professionals.
“I've always been very keen on trying new things,” he says, starting with his teenage years making “random stupid apps”, and continuing now, with his “entrepreneurial spirit”.
In his third year of a Bachelor of Software Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Environment and Sustainability double degree, Sherbaz says his current career trajectory was shaped by an internship experience he completed as part of his science program.
“I did a GIS course at the Fenner School of Environment and Society and through that, my lecturer recommended me for an internship at Esri Australia, the market leaders in GIS technology and services.
“At Esri there was such a great atmosphere of growth and opportunity. I could see so many things I wanted to do with my career pathway. It really gave me the training ground to decide what I wanted to do.
“I went in there thinking that it would be completely GIS-based and I came out of there seeing that there's a whole world where you can integrate software engineering principles with GIS, and that's what interests me now.
“I wouldn't have figured that out unless I went through the internship.”
Sherbaz now has a paid position at Esri as a Consultant, which he’s undertaking in conjunction with his studies.
“If I hadn't had the flexibility of this degree, where I’m able to take two degrees concurrently, I wouldn't have been career-ready, and able to perform well in the internship,” he says.
“No other university offered a program where I could study both the environment and software engineering in-depth, but at ANU I have had this brilliant opportunity to do both.
“There’s real synergy between the two: I can do something that will better the world, and also have the tools to do it.”
It’s just a matter of when.