Want to find the most in-demand recent graduate jobs in IT, the various paths you can take to get them, and also have access to a network of experts who’ll help kickstart your career? Then you need to be a part of the Australian Computer Society (ACS), the peak body representing Australia’s IT sector. With more than 22,000 current members, the ACS is also the accrediting body for more than 950 different IT courses at universities, TAFEs and colleges. “Institutions apply to have their courses recognised by the ACS,” explains Allyn Radford, ACS’s Director of Education. “We check they’re teaching relevant industry skills. We also run an internship program for postgraduate students at particular sites, such as the University of Melbourne.”
Supply and demand
It’s a very exciting time to move into the IT industry – especially in the areas of data science and cybersecurity. “We’re seeing a lot of demand across both sectors and that’s not likely to go away in the near future,” Allyn says. Worldwide, there’s currently an estimated shortage of around one million cybersecurity professionals. This shortage is also reflected in the Australian job market, which means recent graduate jobs are being offered at excellent starting salaries. “As a result we are seeing a strong shift by institutions to meet that demand by offering more degrees in cybersecurity and data science,” he says, perfect for a recent graduate!
Combine your passions
There’s also a growing demand for individuals who are multifaceted – so it’s a huge bonus if you’re able to combine data science or cybersecurity knowledge and expertise with a solid understanding of a particular industry sector. “Employers are always looking for talented individuals who have these hybrid skill sets,” Allyn says. “They want people who can do core computer science and coding, but who can also understand the data ecosystem they’re working in a bit more broadly.
“For example, if you work in cybersecurity for the health sector, then the implications are very different to what they might mean if you work in finance or in retail.” There are several routes to a career in technology. Did you know many people who work in IT don’t even have a degree? “You can take lots of different pathways into the industry,” Allyn explains. “Whether that’s through a private provider, through vocational education and training (VET) courses, or through the higher education sector. “The key is to identify what you’re interested in and then find the best recent graduate jobs to learn the skills you need.”
While some universities include ACS student membership through their IT programs, students from any accredited course can join. They’ll then have access to Young IT Professionals events, which are held all around Australia. Recent seminar topics have included Networking and Future of ICT (Information and Communications Technology) Careers; Preparing the Digital Workforce of the Future; and Cybersecurity in the Global Arena.
“These connections can help build very strong relationships in the industry – which is ultimately where you’re going to get a job,” Allyn says. “Making those connections, getting some professional development and keeping up with the latest trends in the industry can help students prepare for that transition from education into employment.”
– Fran Molloy
Author: Fran Molloy
FRAN MOLLOY is a freelance journalist and university lecturer whose career has spanned newspapers, radio and online publications. She writes about business, careers, research, science and environment.