“Make the right friends and opportunities will arise”


Representing the good people of Adelaide, Tim Healey, was the first South Australian to join a HEX cohort in July 2017. Tim’s studying his Bachelor of Computer Science (Advanced), loves video games, soccer – and we reckon he’d make a kick-ass technical co-founder… take a number, folks.

HEX: Hi Tim! Can you tell us what inspired you to go on The Hacker Exchange?

Timothy: Initially I was looking for study tours and I wanted to go to America because I’d never been overseas and I thought America would be fun. I initially applied thinking it would be more of a touristy thing to do – but I was wrong! It was a lot more value than what I expected.

HEX: Did you only find out the nature of the trip once you got there?

Timothy: There was a bit of preparation we had to do – in the interview I had to talk about an idea I’d like to develop. But to be honest, the idea wasn’t really the one that I worked on over the two weeks. On the first day you will feel what the rest of the two weeks is going to be, it’s very intense but it’s very rewarding in that intensity.

HEX: What was your favourite part of the trip?

Timothy: I made a lot of friends and probably my favourite memory would be our final dinner – it just felt like a big family and it was only a month ago but the memories are really nostalgic, it was a great time.

HEX: And what was the most significant aspect or insight you gained whilst you were over there?

Timothy: This phrase called ‘quid pro quo’.

HEX: What does that mean?

Timothy: People are happy to see you succeed, so long as you’re there for them if they need you as well. So you just help others where ever you can, and the connections you make through this mindset will only ever be beneficial.

HEX: On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your experience at Silicon Valley overall and why?

Timothy: I’ll give it a 9, purely because it was my first time overseas so I don’t really have a lot to compare it to but I also made a lot of friends and it was very rewarding.

HEX: So why a 9 and not a 10? If you don’t mind me asking…

Timothy: I didn’t go for the 10 in case I experience something even better in the future – and you can’t go over the 10!

HEX: Fair enough! So, on a personal level, how do you think you benefited from your time in Silicon Valley?

Timothy: Probably the people we met, the connections we made. Having met people in the Valley with such big connections and high powers in the industry, and being able to contact them on LinkedIn and message them whenever we need – that’s very valuable and something you can’t really get out of any other study tour.

HEX: And how has the experience helped you on a practical level?

Timothy: There was a bit of advice we got during the pitching workshop, which was that the job interviewers want to see you succeed and that really helps me with my anxiety. People seem less intimidating when I talk to them and it just lets me be myself a bit more.

HEX: And has your approach to business changed?

Timothy: Well before I went I had no idea about business, I didn’t know what investors were or what they wanted to hear or what all these business terms meant.  

Something I’ve always thought about doing, was creating an app or a game but I’ve never really had the sort of knowledge on the business side of things. A lot of the stuff we learned was the business and the marketing aspects – I learned a lot that I wouldn’t get in a Computer Science degree. And I realised I’m going to need a co-founder if I’m going to build a startup because I can’t do everything myself.  

HEX: What are your future plans for yourself? Has going to Silicon Valley sparked your future career plans?

Timothy: Yes definitely! I went into my uni degree hoping to find direction for my career and where I want to go – and I think this exchange has done that for me. I want to get back to Silicon Valley as soon as I can once I’ve graduated, and get some experience working in a small company or maybe even in a start-up before trying to start my own business.

One of the things we learned there was the difference in market between Australia and America – and America has a bigger market. There’s so many opportunities, especially for people in computer science, to get some jobs.

HEX: Would you recommend this program to future students?

Timothy: Yes, I would 100 percent recommend it, I already have to some of my classmates. I think this experience is extremely valuable for anyone interested in Silicon Valley as well as people who have aspirations for having a start-up.

I think just being able to connect to the networks is going to help you out no matter what. Even if you’re not trying to found a start-up, job opportunities will come out of these connections you make after the exchange.

HEX: What kind of projects have you been working on since you’ve been back

So I’ve been working on a daily programmer that generates a daily software problem that you have to solve with programming and I’m going to add that to my portfolio, as well as creating my own website to showcase what I can do.

HEX: That’s really cool! Thank you so much for your time.

Applications for San Francisco in June-July 2018; and Tel Aviv in January 2019 are open now.

Interview conducted by Aleena Dimopoulos, RMIT Bachelor of Communications (Advertising and PR).