Bachelor of Applied Science in Computing Science, 1993
Group Vice-President (Higher Education Technologies), Oracle
UTS Alumni Award for Excellence 2018 – Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology
Computing Science graduate Vivian Wong is one of the few female senior engineering executives in the US. But that’s not the only thing that sets her apart. As Vice-President of Oracle’s Higher Education Technologies division, Wong is renowned for her human-centred approach, both to design and to her international team of software engineers.
“I’m not the kind of engineer who sits behind a desk,” she told her employer in 2015, when she was appointed Chief Technology Officer of software company TargetX.
“I enjoy interacting with customers and building products around their strategic and operational needs.”
Since graduating in 1993 from a Bachelor of Applied Science in Computing Science degree at UTS, Wong has held leadership positions at enterprise-software companies in Australia and the US. In 2014, she was appointed Senior Vice-President of engineering at California’s ServiceMax, where it was her job to speed up the delivery of new products.
I’m not the kind of engineer who sits behind a desk. I enjoy interacting with customers and building products around their strategic and operational needs.
Writing for Fast Company about the importance of gender diversity in the workplace, ServiceMax Chief Marketing Officer Stacey Epstein described Wong’s approach to the role: “Her first plan of action was not to dive into the code, but rather to meet with every engineer on the staff and understand them – what motivates them, how they’re feeling and how she can make them more productive.”
At Oracle, a Silicon Valley company with almost 140,000 employees, Wong is responsible for the roll-out of Oracle Higher Education products. Designed to help universities better communicate with their students, the information system has been adopted by almost 900 higher education providers and is used by 12 million people in 47 countries.
Wong is also leading the new development of Oracle Student Cloud, designed to disrupt the higher education industry via emerging technologies including artificial intelligence, chatbot, and blockchain.
Wong says she’s inspired by her mother, a railway engineer who moved the family from China to Australia when Wong was 11 years old. “We were illegal immigrants so my mother washed dishes,” said Wong. At age 40, her mother enrolled in an Australian engineering degree and, after 10 years, she led the design of the railway track built for the Sydney 2000 Olympics. “If my single mother could do that,” said Wong, “everything I’m doing is a piece of cake.”