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Programming prowess earns MIT student kudos

Thursday, 11 May 2006

Programming prowess earns MIT student kudos

Crackshot Manukau Institute of Technology graduate Chunhua Nong has impressed IT professionals with a system she developed while still a student.

The Pakuranga resident graduates from MIT on 16 May with a Bachelor of Information Systems degree. One of the practical projects she completed as part of her course has already earned her kudos and work within the IT industry.

Chunhua’s third-year practical project was to develop an HIV database system for the Department of Virology and Immunology at the Auckland District Health Board (ADHB).

The application Chunhua developed is the first for the department to feature both a Windows and web-based user interface. “The database system was based on Microsoft Access before, so I upgraded that using the .Net programming language. They didn’t have a web interface, so I developed that as well.”

The project not only earned Chunhua an A grade, but also the praise of the health board’s IT department and fits in well with future plans to make lab reports accessible online to medical professionals, says Department of Virology and Immunology team leader Dr Bryan Schroeder.

The ADHB also rated Chunhua’s application highly as it simplifies record keeping through a tidy and easy-to-use user interface and a faster and more extensive search function than the previous system. It will also allow the department to use paperless reporting in future, while its strong security features further ensures its value as on online tool.

Bryan and his team were also impressed with Chunhua’s attitude. “We were definitely impressed with her determination to get it right. Chunhua had a very genuine desire to write something to meet our requirements. She was always keen to ask questions to ensure she understood what we needed.”

Although it took Chunhua more than 400 hours to develop the programme, she enjoyed the work. “I learnt the most from this project. It was a good introduction to the field of programming.”

The project has also won Chunhua ongoing work at the ADHB where she continues to tweak the application and is developing similar applications for different databases at other laboratories.

Chunhua began her studies at MIT six years ago when she enrolled in an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) course after arriving in New Zealand from China, where friends recommended the institute to her.

From the outset, Chunhua had her sights set on a career in computing and after successfully completing the ESOL course she enrolled in the Certificate of Computing (Level 3). This course further sparked Chunhua’s interest in computing and studying and she progressed on to the Bachelor of Information Systems degree.

“My interest in computing became stronger and stronger with increased in-depth studies within the IT field.”

Achieving her qualification, along with the practical experience Chunhua gained while studying at MIT, has armed her with great skills for a future career as a programmer or web developer, she says.

“The course was great. We got really good support and expert advice from the lecturers. It has enabled me to develop a solid grounding in the IT industry.”

John Peppiatt, principal lecturer Computing & IT at MIT, says the expectation for all BIS graduates is for them to demonstrate they have acquired the special combination of professionalism and technical competence that makes them “more than a nerd”.

“We are proud of Chunhua's achievements - especially as when she originally came to us from China she was challenged by the New Zealand way of doing things. She is one of the many international and local students we are pleased to award the Bachelor of Information Systems degree - she will be an asset to the IT industry.”

The MIT Bachelor of Information Systems degree is a three-year full time programme, which is also offered on a part time basis. The programme provides students with the appropriate academic theory and applied skills to become a professional in the field of information systems. For more information on the programme contact MIT on 0800 62 62 52, or visit


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