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March 25, 2013 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Shortage of ICT Grads Out of CTRL

Blessed are the geeks

The New Zealand ICT sector will face an unexpected reboot in order to meet staff demands, as a shortage of ICT graduates has left many local employers scrambling to find graduate talent.

With 1300 information and communications-technology vacancies listed online in Auckland alone, some companies are upping salaries to as much as $1500 a day. Average salary rates for ICT roles, which can range from hardware engineers to help desk operators to web designers, currently sit between $40,000 to $136,500 for permanent staff, with contract rates ranging from $14 to $160 an hour.

Wellington-based web developer Ben Amor, currently employed at Trade Me, told Salient that the industry needs to “clearly define roles and offer clear progression.”

“IT is not socks-and-sandals any more. It’s a young and creative industry. Continuing to get that message out there is important.” Amor also says companies should hire the best of the bunch, even if they lack a degree in IT. “More established industries have well-defined career paths, but with IT, it’s much less like that. I’ve spoken with graduates who have no idea what career options there are beyond ‘something in IT’.”

Will Browne, a Senior Lecturer at the School of Engineering and Computer Science, says Victoria aims to attract students through outreach attempts, including visiting schools, holding open days and running competitions. “We let potential students know how awesome Engineering is as a subject,” said Browne. “Engineering at Vic is focused on the modern digital world.” Peter Kelly of Catalyst IT, an company with a focus on open-source technology, emphasises the analytical skills gained from further study. “Masters and PhD students from many disciplines have quantitative skills, gained during the analysis phase of their research, which demonstrate they have what it takes to become computer programmers,” said Kelly.

According to the roll of graduates, Victoria had one Master of Engineering graduate in 2011, and four in 2012. No Engineering doctorates were awarded during this period. In Computer science, 2011-12 saw one Masters graduate, and no doctorates. To recruit hopeful tech enthusiasts, Catalyst will run their annual Open Source Academy in January 2014, while Trade Me actively participates in the Summer of Tech internship programme.

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