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IT and communications industry overview

Erin Delaney

One of the most exciting industries you can enter, technology is informing all other industries as we navigate the digital revolution.

It’s growing – and fast

The proverbial job market can be a pretty terrifying place especially when you’re just starting out. Fortunately, a growing market is infinitely better than one that isn’t, and the tech market is growing so rapidly that Australian universities are finding it difficult to keep up the supply of tech graduates to fill the roles available.

The proof is in the numbers. In 2014, 600,000 people made up the tech workforce in Australia. In 2016, this figure leapt up to 640,000, and according to professional services bigwigs like Deloitte (incidentally a large and prestigious employer of tech graduates themselves), this number is expected to reach as high as 722,000 by 2022. Boom!

A reason for this growth is the prevalence of technology not just in the average consumer’s life but in the operations of most businesses. Think of the last time you physically went to a bank – where’s the need when you have an app that can do everything for you? Just as businesses are digitising how they interact with their customers, they are also digitising how they operate internally and this has resulted in an increasing demand for technical skills across all industries. In fact, according to Deloitte’s Australia’s Digital Pulse report, 52 per cent of today’s tech workforce are employed outside strictly tech-related industries.

The average entry-level package is $62,500 and the average industry hours are 45 per week, making this a slightly lower than the average industry on a dollar-per-hour basis.

Job market outlook

Web developer roles exploded in the past 10 years. While the growth of these jobs have hit a peak in terms of numbers, there are still plenty of opportunities as the roles themselves turn over.

Graphic and web designer roles are expected to grow strongly, as websites, apps and digital media boom and coding abilities bleed into other professions, such as web designers and journalists.

Copywriters, journalists and editors are also looking at a very rosy future, with demand increasing exponentially as digital content has cemented itself as king, and Google’s algorithm advances further to understand what real, engaging content looks like. Automation has begun to encroach on journalism, writing classifieds and even some news pieces, but the value of good writing and sound editorial judgement will increase as generic writing fills the airwaves.

Telecommunications roles are expected to grow moderately over the next year, having slowed a little in recent years due to product offering fluctuations as technology evolves.

Entrepreneurs have more grant allocations, mentoring programs, seed funds and angel investor options than ever before — there has never been a better time to create an online business or app of your own.

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<img src="//connect-assets.prosple.com/cdn/ff/HMYda5NgmZUR_m8YgiS1MQhaboUOaiwFYWtQPSPEn2w/1567068088/public/styles/scale_1000_no_upsize/public/2019-08/Infographic-it-overview-1104x1164-2019.jpg?itok=w4mRUHbx" alt="Information technology industry overview infographics 2019" />

LinkedIn revelations on Australia’s technology job market landscape

LinkedIn (incidentally another excellent digital tool – ask your parents about the days of looking up job postings in the newspaper!) is especially insightful when it comes to looking at the jobs available and skills required from any particular workforce. Deloitte’s report referenced the following lists from LinkedIn on Australia’s tech workers and job postings and we’ve pulled out some key takeaways from each.

Most common areas studied by tech workers:

  • computer science
  • information science and technology
  • accounting
  • electrical engineering
  • business
  • business management and administration
  • marketing
  • electronics
  • software engineering
  • project management.

Insight. While technical knowledge remains vital, especially for jobs that require a high level of technical skill, employers are also looking to hire graduates from other disciplines, often ones that cover business and operations management and foster strategic thinking.

Industries with the largest share of tech job postings:

  • information and technology services
  • computer software
  • internet
  • financial services
  • electrical and electronic manufacturing
  • staffing and recruiting
  • computer networking
  • information services
  • computer hardware
  • marketing and advertising.

Insight. This list confirms that tech graduates are and will continue to be in demand across a broad range of industries, not necessarily specific to tech. Companies that offer financial and professional services like banks, financial consultants and accounting firms, for example, are quickly becoming major recruiters of the tech workforce.

Tech occupations with the most job postings:

  • project manager
  • business analyst
  • business development manager
  • freelance foreign language content contributor
  • net developer
  • account manager
  • software engineer
  • solution architect
  • java developer
  • front-end developer.

Insight. This list is mostly made up of technical roles but there is definitely a representation of non-technical roles as well. Business development is related to sales and the acquisition of new customers, and roles like project management and account management, could also sit outside the technical realm and involve servicing clients.

Tech workforce demographics in Australia

When a country adjusts its immigration policies in order to attract a certain kind of worker into certain kinds of jobs, you know they mean business. According to the Deloitte report, in 2015–2016, three per cent of the tech workforce were immigrants. This is yet another reason to be excited about stepping into tech in Australia. it is a cosmopolitan melting pot which gives you an invaluable opportunity to learn from peers from different cultural and professional backgrounds. It also means that you can take your skills to any part of the globe and be able to find work. That’s the beauty of technology, unlike certain disciplines like law, which requires knowledge specific to the country in which you practice, or most other jobs which require mastering the language of the country in which you work, the languages of technology are in demand worldwide and best of all, need no translation.

The Australian government and businesses alike are also showing increased efforts to encourage and attract females, as well as older workers, into a workforce that has typically been dominated by young males. The importance of being more inclusive has been recognised at the highest levels as this is a field that can only benefit from different perspectives and a wider range of skills. Ladies, these incentivisation efforts could translate into a higher-than-average paycheck as well as better benefits – very cool.

You may have heard that tech companies are notorious for their high rate of employee-churn, and you wouldn’t be wrong. Especially in tech, well-known for attracting younger employees, the culture of staying at one job indefinitely is virtually unheard of. The younger the employee, the hungrier they are to be a part of the next big thing. This happens regardless of whether they begin their careers at a startup or at one of the Big Five (Apple, Alphabet (Google), Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon).

It may surprise (and relieve) you that this is not necessarily a bad thing. When you consider the unique nature of this field, for which innovative and creative thinking is absolutely crucial, this constant flux of people, skills and perspectives actually work in its favour. It also places pressure on employers to create positive and engaging workplace communities and cultures in order to retain their most valuable asset, superstars like you.

You now know a little bit more about the frenetic, competitive arena that is the tech job market. It’s time to delve a little deeper, find out what kind of skills do you need to have to snag that dream-career-launching job in tech.