KJR Collective Catch Ups: Nick Dryden

The Collective

11 October 2018

A couple of times a month, we like to get to know members of the KJR Collective a little better. Today we catch up with Nick Dryden.

Years in the industry: Various IT industry roles for 9 years.

Started at KJR: In October 2018

Based in: Canberra

Currently working with: Department of Health and Department of Defence

What Nick loves most about his job…

Having cut his teeth in alternate IT roles, Nick has found his recent experience in a more technical environment (here at KJR) has given him an appreciation for the process and the benefits that come with being a part of the complete product lifecycle. He’s no longer a lone wolf – “the biggest thing I’ve noticed coming into KJR’s world is the communication; the opportunity and benefit of building rapport with the devs and the clients.” He also loves seeing the ‘end game’ of a project and the user experience once the work is done.

How Nick got into this industry…

A story of passion, frustration and friendship. All the way from Perth, Nick joined KJR after working in hardware and technical roles over in the west. Not something you’d hear from many, but Nick felt the undeniable pull to Canberra! Specifically, so he could study all things artificial intelligence at Australian National University. Hitting his second or third honours year, “it’s all a blur, honestly”, Nick felt unsettled and started seeking something else. Not wanting to go back to the helpdesk, but not wanting to stay at university (at that point in time), Nick received the heads up from a former colleague about roles going at KJR – and that former colleague became former-no-more. The opportunity he was looking for, Nick embraced the chance to use his tech knowledge to dive deeper into product delivery. And he says, “it’s been a big surprise as to how much I’ve taken to it. And enjoy it!” Don’t fret though, he intends to return to uni (hopefully part-time) to complete his Bachelor of Advanced Computing (Hons), specialising in Intelligent Systems.

What Nick thinks about the future of tech…

It’s a common theme with the KJR Collective, we simply can’t get enough of AI. For Nick, it’s a matter of how it will unfold within society. “Everyone will have to deal with the impacts of AI on society in one way or another. As humans, we’ll have to grow with it.” Nick is hyper-aware of both the positive and negative effects of an AI immersed world and cautions those at the top to clamp down now on the bad bunch who might be developing or using AI for the wrong reasons. The industry needs to remain open to each other and ensure there is education directed towards the general public – “education is key.”

He also does other things…

As far as interests go, Nick is a triple threat! Fitness, art and music often takes him away from the computer screen but like all good explorers, he finds ways to combine his passions. Most recently, Nick has been experimenting with AI to compose music and create portraits. You can check out his work over on LinkedIn. If you’re looking for him on the weekends, we suggest checking out the hills in Canberra, you’ll likely find him hiking.

Nick’s final word of advice…

Be kind and patient with each other.

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