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Tech industry graduates in demand

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Young technology graduates are being snapped up by employers, with the rapidly growing New Zealand ICT (information communications and technology) industry hungry for skilled staff.

"There are lots of IT jobs, but not enough graduates joining the marketplace," says Gary Taylor, campus manager of Vision College in Christchurch.

Vision College, a private training establishment with campuses in Christchurch, Auckland, Pukekohe and Hamilton, has seen huge demand from employers for its graduating information technology students.

"In the future, there will be an even bigger shortfall," warns Taylor, who notes that IT industry occupations are on Immigration New Zealand’s long-term skill shortage list, reflecting the growth of the industry and the rise in job vacancies. "The IT industry is growing rapidly. We need to get more skilled graduates ready to ride the wave."

According to the latest annual TIN Report, the revenue of the top 200 New Zealand technology companies grew by 11 per cent to $11.1 billion in 2018. The New Zealand tech sector employs more than 25,000 people locally and 50,000 globally, and offers a significantly higher pay than the national average.

Christchurch woman Jessica Costello, 20, recently graduated from Vision College with a Level 5 NZ Diploma in Web Development and Design and a Level 6 NZ Diploma in Software Development. The two-year programme covered a range of subjects, including web design, coding languages, programming skills and software engineering - as well as an eight-week internship with local company CORE Education - which led to a job offer.

Late last year Costello started as a junior web designer with the company. "It’s a great industry to be working in, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds," says Costello.

She attributes Vision College as being a huge part of her success in gaining employment in the IT industry. The small class sizes and supportive tutors were both nurturing and engaging. "Our tutors built a great rapport and connection with the students, so they knew where we were at to ensure we were all keeping up with the programme," says Costello. There was also a focus on practical learning and writing code. "We were on the computers from the first day, learning by doing, and really drilling down into specialty areas," says Costello. "I could see my skillset progressing and developing every day." As well as learning technical skills, she had the opportunity to do professional practice papers to build up "soft skills" too - something employers are increasingly looking for, notes Taylor.

"They’re wanting people that are technical skilled but who can also be innovative, creative and solve problems and can communicate well," says Taylor. He says that industry internships are a key part of the course programme, giving students the opportunity to apply their learnings to real world situations - and these opportunities often lead to employment.

Aaron Kitto, national IT manager at CORE Education, and Costello’s new boss, agrees that the industry is desperate for more skilled IT graduates, particularly in areas such as software development.

He encourages students to find out more about IT courses, as it is a career that offers flexibility and growth. "For me, IT is a skill that can exist in any industry like human resources or marketing," says Kitto. "The skills of an IT person can be mobile between almost every type of organisation from education to agriculture to tourism. This means that as the world moves towards less "job for life" roles and more "do what is needed" roles, IT people are perfectly placed to take advantage of this. We have contractors who set up company servers in Taiwan while writing code for a Canadian firm, all from a beach in Bali."

For more information on getting started in IT, see visioncollege.ac.nz or phone 0800 834 834. The programme allows for flexible study and University Entrance (UE) is not required to begin studying. Upcoming intakes are scheduled to start March 4, 2019.

About Vision College

Vision College, a division of ATC New Zealand, is a private training establishment with four main campuses in Christchurch, Auckland, Pukekohe and Hamilton. The college offers a variety of tertiary qualifications at certificate, diploma and degree level in six key areas of study: information technology, early childhood education, music, leadership, counselling and business. Entry into course is possible without University Entrance.

To find out more, visit www.visioncollege.ac.nz -

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