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‘Old Gold’ Graduate Story: Theo Visan (2012)

Theo Visan (2012), after his time at Nazareth, completed a double degree in Petroleum and Chemical Engineering at the University of Adelaide and is now working as a Senior Data Engineer at MaxMine.

The role of a data engineer is to design, develop and maintain the systems and infrastructure responsible for data storage, transformation, management and retrieval. These systems are pretty much critical to everything on the internet nowadays. For example, they enable social media platforms and search engines,” explains Theo.

During his studies in late 2017, Theo was offered a half-scholarship by Santos, where he went to work as a Petroleum Engineer.

He shares, “for my first six months, I worked as an analyst carrying out modelling, simulation and production optimisation of the Cooper Basin gas network.” Theo’s role was to improve how much gas was used out of the wells.

Theo then joined the Advanced Analytics team as a Graduate Data Engineer. “I spent the next two years working on cutting-edge data projects such as real-time drill rig monitoring using artificial intelligence.”

This role revealed his strong passion for data analytics and data science. In 2020, Theo decided to pursue his passion for data analytics and improve his programming abilities and knowledge of computer science.

“I began work as a Software Data Engineer at Boeing Defence Australia, helping to build a secure data analytics platform.”

Theo explains, “this role was a big change for me – it was a completely different line of work in a completely different industry with a heavy focus on security. The learning curve was steep, but that kept me motivated to learn.”

He continues, “I was very fortunate to have great mentors and leaders who helped me grow and develop my skills so early in my career.”

“Looking back on my journey so far, I think all these experiences have made me a more insightful and well-rounded person. I wouldn’t have the same passion and direction if not for the opportunities I was presented with and the mentors who helped me grow”.

Theo shares, “throughout my time at Nazareth, I was interested in mathematics and sciences like physics and chemistry.  But I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study or be once I graduated. I wanted to continue pursuing my interests, but I was never sure on exactly how”.  

“There are really too many staff members I want to thank for nurturing my interest in STEM subjects throughout my time at Nazareth.”

Theo explains how participating in the Aurecon Bridge Building Competition during high school sparked his interest for engineering.

“With the SATAC preferences deadline looming, the challenge helped me in my initial plans to become a civil engineer. But when I saw a scholarship for petroleum students, I made a last-minute switch to my degree at the University of South Australia”.

“My transition from high school to university was a mix of both excitement and anxiety. Some of my classes had ten times the number of students compared to when I was at Nazareth.”

He continues, “at the time, high school felt very structured. University was a much more open experience where you were expected to take the initiative and responsibility for your learning. That lack of guidance felt quite odd at first.”

A piece of advice Theo would give the current and future Year 12 students is, “it’s fine to not have a solid plan for exactly what your career will look like. It’s great if you do, but not worth agonising over if you don’t.”

Theo’s aspiration is to become a mentor both in and outside of work. “I find that helping others can help you also feel good about yourself. I want to continue gathering experience and skills so I can move towards a technical leadership role later in my career.”

He finishes off, “I’ve been very fortunate to go through the journey that I have so far. I did have to work hard at it. But it’s not something I could have planned or achieved without the sum total of my experiences so far.”

 “I feel like I’m very lucky to have a career I enjoy, which gives me plenty of motivation and opportunities to learn new things.”


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