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Lighting the path to your IT career: 10 things to know 

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Two men use coding software on a laptop.

The world of IT continues to evolve at a rapid pace. And as organisations across industries race to adapt to emerging technologies – generative AI, machine learning, AR, digital twins … the list goes on! – the role of IT professionals continues to evolve too. For those with a passion for innovation, exciting opportunities await. 

If you’re planning to work in IT, we’ve collected 10 insights that could help influence your study choices and light the path to a fascinating career.  

1. IT expertise is in demand 

In Australia, we love our IT – there are now more of us working as software engineers and developers than hairdressers, plumbers and lawyers. Yet, Australia’s latest Jobs and Skills report confirms that information and communication technology (ICT) roles were among the top professional occupations in shortage nationally in 2023.  

The demand for IT specialists will only grow as technology becomes increasingly critical to business operations and success … and, in keeping with that, the Government has a Digital Technology Taskforce aimed at positioning the nation as a leading digital economy and creating 1.2 million tech jobs by 2030. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics suggests there’s already strong momentum, with 2021 figures saying that the nation’s fastest-growing qualification was security science, with information systems and programming close behind.   

2. Higher demand = higher pay 

So, with the Australian tech sector in the ascendancy, it’s fair to expect that to translate into greater job security, career advancement opportunities and competitive salaries. Entry-level positions are attractive at about $90,000 pa and, as you gain experience and specialise, your earning potential increases significantly, with chief technology officers commanding $300–$350,000 pa

3. IT is broad – you’ve got choices 

IT comprises many and varied specialist roles. Software engineering, network architecture, data analytics, cybersecurity and beyond. And just about every business in every industry – health, education, retail, space travel, whatever – needs IT. 

So, how to pick your career launchpad? Start with identifying your interests and strengths. Do you enjoy thinking creatively? Network architecture, software engineering or UX design look good. Our Bachelor of Information Technology or Bachelor of Computing degrees are a great place to start and so too is our major in Digital Experience and Interaction Design, which will have you designing and optimising new digital experiences for a raft of possible applications.  

Get a buzz from problem-solving? Plug yourself into network administration or IT management. Likewise, if you thrive on predicting problems and devising solutions, cybersecurity and business intelligence could be your niche. Our Computing and Information Technology courses cover all these areas. 

Perhaps you enjoy sleuthing and delving deep? Business information systems (BIS) and data analytics could be your dream day-job. Check out our BIS major in both the Bachelor of Commerce and the new Bachelor of Innovation course. Or if the fast-paced cut and thrust of cryptography and intrusion detection appeals, check out the Cyber Security major as part of the Bachelor of Computing

One of the best things about Curtin’s approach is the range of specialisations that let you customise your degree to your interests. You might want to broaden your professional skill sets with a specialisation that differs from your course major or choose one that instead deepens your expertise in your preferred area of IT. Curtin has plenty to choose from – digital design, design thinking and visual communication, artificial intelligence, statistical data science, business technology development, information systems in business and more. 

4. Accreditations boost career options 

A professionally recognised degree can make you more attractive to employers. For example, the Curtin course in Computer Systems and Networking is accredited in Australia and internationally, and the Bachelor of Computing – which allows you a choice of specialising in Software Engineering, Cyber Security or Computer Science – is accredited by the Australian Computer Society. Plus, for more kudos, Curtin’s Computing and Information Technology courses both give you the opportunity to upgrade to the Advanced Science degree in Computing

5. Industry experience is gold 

All uni courses will teach you the theory; it’s industry experience that adds shine. Which is why Curtin creates work-integrated learning programs, or WIL, like internships and work placements that give you the industry know-how that employers like.  

(Curtin data science student, Jeevan, explains the value of his industry experiences.) 

You also want to learn in top facilities that replicate real-world environments. The Supercomputer Lab at Curtin, for example, has 100 student workstations with high-performing Windows computers and Linux environments through virtual desktop infrastructure, or VDI. There’s also a customised, two-part Cyber Security Computer Lab, where Curtin student teams take sides to simulate cyber-attacks or implement defensive strategies – gaining real-world cyber-combat skills. 

6. More professional roles = more leadership roles 

If you like leading teams and being involved in all aspects of a project, a career in IT project management can be VERY rewarding. It requires a blend of technical knowledge and soft skills such as leadership, problem-solving and effective communication. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) will give you the managerial skills and strategic insight crucial for navigating the complexities of IT projects successfully. 

7. IT is ideal for remote work 

The IT industry is at the forefront of remote-work flexibility. In fact, 45% of all IT services roles are fully remote. It’s something to consider if working remotely or working for national or international companies without needing to relocate is important to you. (Incidentally, the COVID/post-COVID boom in remote work is a major reason for the growth in demand for IT specialists.) 

8. IT moves fast 

Not long ago, cloud computing transformed how we share information; now, AI is advancing by the day. If you’re into IT, you’ll be tracking the latest innovations. So, make sure the university and course you choose can be a platform to higher qualifications that lead to even more powerful careers – including research and innovation.  

We offer a diversity of IT-related postgraduate courses, such as the Graduate Certificate in Big Data and Digital Health (now there’s an astute career choice!), Grad Cert in Digital Futures and Master of Artificial Intelligence. Plus, Curtin has impressive research centres focusing on different aspects of IT: the Curtin-CISCO Centre for Networks, the Curtin Institute for Data Science, the Centre for Culture and Technology and more. 

9. IT is a hub of entrepreneurship  

The tech industry offers prime opportunities for entrepreneurship. With the right idea and execution, you can start your own IT or software company. Supportive ecosystems in universities and tech communities provide resources and mentorship for budding entrepreneurs – like Curtin’s Ignition program, which provides an intensive training environment for aspiring entrepreneurs to present and trial their ideas in a commercial environment. Even if you’re not planning on building the next great start-up right now, having fresh ideas and business-creating skills will always benefit you.  

10. Networking opens doors 

Professional networks can give you access to roles that aren’t advertised publicly. The first place to start career networking is where you’re starting your career journey … at uni. Look for professional and interest groups – like the Curtin Data Science Association, Computer Science Students Association and the Game Development Club at Curtin Uni – and stay engaged with your alumni network. You’ll gain a strong international alumni network from a world-ranked uni like Curtin, which has five international campuses and international education partners around the globe. And on that point, a global uni like Curtin offers you exceptional study abroad opportunities, which are invaluable for building international career networks! 

Finally, look out for industry meetups and innovation events like WestTech Fest, which will keep you looped into what’s happening in the industry and could connect you with your next opportunity. 

Wrapping up 

We think you can’t go wrong with a career in IT – lucrative roles, job security, career choices and agility, global remote-work opportunities, advances and innovation. If you’ve got the knowledge, skills and qualifications, your career will sparkle. So, while you’re here, check out Curtin Uni’s range of courses for IT careers

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