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Degrees in ICT on the Decline

|Jun 18|magazine7 min read

The digital industry is worth over $100 billion to Australia’s economy and ICT expertise is in high demand in the job market, but a paper submitted by the Australian Computer Society (ACS) states that enrolment in undergrad ICT (information and communication technology) degrees and vocational training programs are both down.

The paper, titled ACARA Draft Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Technologies, found that over the past decade, ICT uni degrees had seen a 50 per cent drop in enrolment and vocational programs had experienced a 40 per cent decline.

“In Australia, ICT skills shortages continued to grow by up to 14,000 extra ICT jobs in 2012 and 35,000 by 2014," ACS CEO Alan Patterson said in statement.

According to Peter Noblet, the regional director of IT at recruitment firm Hays Australia, the nation’s mining boom is a major factor in the IT skills shortage.

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“We’re still seeing shortages in certain Microsoft skills set such as SharePoint and .NET, for example. We see shortages in areas of business intelligence; we still see shortages in SAP and we see shortages in areas of project management,” said Mr Noblet back in April.

This issue needs addressing from as early as kindergarten, said Mr Patterson. According to Computerworld, he is urging for more support from the government and businesses to make ICT its own school subject apart from ‘Digital Technologies’ that will be required through Year 12.

“…curriculum initiatives in ICT at the secondary level have not gone far enough to encourage high-achieving students in Years 11 and 12 to study tertiary ICT courses or promote the discipline as a rewarding and vibrant career,” Mr Patterson said.

“Without skilled ICT workers, Australia’s ICT development and capability will erode, further limiting the opportunities for our youth to participate in the most vibrant sector of our economy.”