Small businesses are breaking into – and running – the digital arena.
By Bianca Nogrady
Computer science startups are hot right now. Consider app development firm Appster. Its ambitious young Aussie co-founders Mark McDonald and Josiah Humphrey met 10 years ago and started their first online business at age 13. Then, in 2011, at age 19 they founded Appster – which now employs more than 200 development staff around the world, and has an app valued at $14 million.
The time is ripe for computer science startups, with reports suggesting Australia is at the dawn of its own Silicon Valley-style revolution. There are an estimated 1200 computer science startups in Australia today. There are also more incubator programs and other opportunities than ever before for Australian innovators to take their tech ideas and turn them into viable, profitable businesses.
Computer science plays a role in all businesses, big and small. Sometimes, an industry requires tech that doesn’t exist yet, and they need to find the computer science knowhow to build a new product. So they call a computer science expert – someone like Nicole Stark.
Nicole’s company develops games, but it isn’t limited to ones like Angry Birds or Halo. For example, Disparity Games, the small business Nicole runs on the Sunshine Coast with her husband, has worked with Northern Territory Libraries to create a simple flashcard-based language app to help people translate between English and several Indigenous languages.
“Small businesses are dominating the games development scene in Australia,” says Nicole.
Angie Gove is also building a career based on computer science startups. She began by teaching herself Ruby on Rails, a web app development framework, through an online workshop run by General Assembly. By day she now works at tech company Split It, which specialises in making digital platforms that help consumers compare prices and services. By night, Angie’s studying a Bachelor of Business, majoring in information systems.
“What I’m hoping to get out of the degree is the room to grow, and from that I feel like I could go into project management, or even start my own development company if I want to. This degree opens up a lot of doors.”
Angie is also an organiser for Rails Girls – a series of free events to help women get started in tech and build their ideas. She says the female developer community is incredibly active and supportive.
“I think it’s fantastic in terms of the initiatives directed at getting women into the industry and opening their eyes to the fact that, yes, it is predominantly male, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” she says.
“We have fantastic support from pretty much every company that we speak to, so I definitely feel like things are changing. It’s a slow process but everyone is behind it, which is so inspiring.”
GET INTO CS + STARTUPS
Check out some work and study options…
App/games developer, systems analyst, network administrator, small business owner, information systems manager, web designer/developer/analyst + more!
Business Information Systems, Monash University
Information and Communications Technology/Business and Commerce, Western Sydney University
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Business/Science (Information Technology), University of Technology Sydney
Commerce/Science (Computer Science), UNSW Australia
Business (Information Systems Managment), Victoria University
Author: STEM Contributor
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