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Why you should choose postgrad IT even if you don’t want a job in tech

Considering further study? A postgrad IT course makes a lot of sense when you consider the ongoing demand for people with cyber security, data analysis and advanced digital skills

People with expert IT skills remain in hot demand, with a new report from the government-funded Future Skills Organisation forecasting job openings for those with high-level digital skills to balloon by 47% in the five years to 2026.

That’s more than 400,000 digital workers, such as programmers and analysts, required for Australia to avoid an ongoing skills shortage. The report also highlights growing demand for people with digital skills in non-technology roles, such as marketing or the arts.

“The increase in demand for digital workers shows no signs of slowing, with relevant skills and experience desperately needed across Australia’s finance, technology and business sectors,” says Patrick Kidd, CEO of the Digital Skills Organisation.

Postgraduate study can help you level up your career towards one of these roles, or even propel you down a completely new career path where digital skills are important. 

Plus, postgrad can mean a higher job title, higher salary and a higher level of skills in your current role. Postgraduates, working full-time three years out of study have the potential to earn upwards of $20,000 more per year than an undergrad with a bachelor degree, who has worked for the same period. 

And setting aside the financial benefit, postgrad study is the perfect opportunity to add STEM to ‘X’ – where X is the area you are most interested in, your passion, goal, or another field.

So what are your postgrad IT options?

After a Bachelor’s degree, a one-year Honours program is a way to drill down in your field, learn new skills or improve your employability. And it doesn’t have to be at your current uni. You might decide you need a change of scenery, or to seek out an institution with different strengths or offerings.

If you’re coming back to uni after a period of working, a Graduate Certificate is perfect for a fast-track specialisation as it can often be completed in as little as 6 months. 

With a Graduate Diploma you can dig deeper, study more units than a grad cert and build on your skills, either full-time or part-time around your current job.

And if you’re keen to become an expert then a Masters degree is the way to go, with options over 2 to 8 semesters and in many cases flexible study options to fit with your work and life.

Where to specialise?

Cyber security and data analytics are two areas where Australia has a shortage of skilled graduates. 

And if you’ve ever considered teaching as a career, there’s also a need for more teachers and trainers, particularly in the VET sector.

The Future Skills report points out a gap between what people are learning in training courses, and the skills required on the job, so it’s worth checking out if the course you’re considering offers ‘Work Integrated Learning’ which is another name for a workplace internship that forms part of your study course.

And if you’d like to read more about specialisation options, or hear from students and graduates who have upskilled in IT, check out our Postgraduate IT Guide developed in partnership with QUT.

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