Looking to dive head first into a sector in the midst of digital disruption? IT is the career path for you, says Certus Talent Manager Carol-Ann Hickmore.
It is increasingly common for young people to avoid studying for a career in the technology sector, thinking it is too boring. Many aspire to so-called dream jobs in the arts, fashion, sport or travel, and the sense you get from talking to them is that they do not think the technology sector can offer the kind of rewarding career they want.
The interesting thing is the sector is in the midst of a digital disruption revolution, which makes it a really exciting place to be.This has caught even some of the more established technology vendors off guard. The digital disruption revolution has not just affected IT companies, though, as businesses in every sector have had to completely transform their approach to incorporate digital and mobile.
Those that have not embraced the changing times are falling prey to digital disruption, and their people often lack the technology skills and knowledge needed to get ahead of their competitors. The problem for companies like mine in the technology sector is that even IT graduates lack the right skills needed to do most jobs we are recruiting for, and most need extensive on the job training to acquire what is needed as an absolute minimum.
Many people in this industry, including myself, just fell into the IT sector without studying relevant subjects at school or university and many of us have had to acquire the necessary skills with training and further study. In the old days, technology legitimately could be regarded as boring, but nowadays it plays such an essential part of everyone’s lives — from the devices we all carry to the digital services we need to access constantly just to function.
This consumerisation of technology has instigated the digital disruption we are experiencing and has also led to a renewed interest in working in IT. However, many such students are still at university. And even when they graduate, will they have the skills needed by today’s disruptive technology sector? In such dynamic and turbulent times, what is needed is a new generation of potential IT graduates with the right skills to prepare them for a career in one of the most IT graduates with the right skills to prepare them for a career in one of the most dynamic, disruptive and rewarding industry sectors.
Unfortunately there is a widening gap between what is being taught at universities — and what students are opting to study — and the reality of which careers will offer the salaries, opportunities and perks graduates demand in order to lead the lifestyle to which they aspire.
All organisations, and particularly those in the technology sector, need to start having skills planning discussions with academia to ensure that the learning outcomes match what is needed in terms of practical technology skills. Otherwise spending three or more years studying for a university degree, often costing around $100,000 in tuition fees would be a wasted opportunity to ensure they are employable.
Unless today’s school and university students are taught the essential practical digital and IT skills required to prepare them to be the next generation of Australian innovators and leaders, many companies will find themselves disrupted indefinitely, and there will be a huge number of unemployed graduates.
Carol-Ann Hickmore is the talent manager for Australia and New Zealand at Certus.
Article orignially appeared in The Australian.