STICKLAND, Ben

 STICKLAND, Ben photo

Degree:

Bachelor of Computing
Bachelor of Management

Graduation year:

1999 and 2000

Current Position:

CEO, Founder - Alliance Software

Employer:

Alliance Software (the business I started at UB's Greenhill Enterprise Centre in 1999).

What are some of your career highlights?

Meeting two brilliant and loyal business partners, and then working with them to build two great companies. Between these firms we've been lucky enough to attract and keep a group of 27 smart, loyal and genuinely funny (read also slightly quirky) staff. Our crew is unbelievably talented and a pleasure to 'do life' with.

Not having to work 80 hours a week in a corporate job

Launching a genuine IT startup in the Internet Marketing niche a year ago and seeing it establish a strong global brand and make serious profits.

Describe the most enjoyable and challenging aspects of your job:

I most enjoy designing IT systems and devising online marketing strategies for our business and clients.

My greatest challenges generally relate to the parts of our businesses that we've not yet been able to properly systemise and on a personal level I'm realising that the bigger our companies grow, the more I only deal with 'bad' problems. All the 'normal' problems don't make it to my desk any more.

What are your strongest memories while you were studying at the University of Ballarat?

Making some great friends (hi Matt Coates) and the informal nature of relationships with lecturing staff. I'll always be aware of the exceptional calibre of some of the lecturers I had the privilege to study under (Geoff Boyd, Brian Firth, Dr Andrew Stranieri). Geoff Boyd made a comment about software estimation that's become a mantra in one of the firms.

Do you have any advice about life after study to pass on to current students?

I've learned that University gives you a structured learning environment and in many industries a degree is your entrance ticket for being considered 'employable'.

However, in any field, and certainly IT and online marketing, the people who get the great jobs, make the most money, are respected and never need to worry about unemployment are those who love what they do. Great programmers didn't become great by doing a degree; they became great by writing software when they were 10 years old. The degree taught them structure, but their passion for the field is what makes them brilliant.