Studying information technology creates a huge number of opportunities in a wide range of industries. There’s no limit in a world where disruption is becoming the norm.
The scope for development in the IT world is almost limitless. From coding and hardware support through to elaborate engineering and architecture, the world of IT is changing constantly, and needing agile people.
What is Information Technology?
While many think that information technology (IT) is about computer games and being the person they call when they can’t connect to the internet, IT is one of the largest and fastest-growing industries in the world. As more companies move to the cloud, 5G rolls out and global IT spending rising, it’s an industry that is booming.
Broadly, IT is an all-encompassing term that includes anything that uses computers to store, transmit, receive or manipulate data. It covers everything from hardware creation and repairs, software and app development to artificial intelligence and machine learning.
IT now and in the future
40 years ago, this industry did not exist. The first real personal computer was sold in 1984, and the industry has snowballed since them. Now, there is no limit on the market—in 2018 in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) alone, IT spending was $973 billion.
From individuals buying devices and upgrading, firms moving operations to the cloud, continual software development, through to the mushrooming artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) industries, there are opportunities everywhere. AI is being deployed in fields such as:
- Marketing, to assess and test advertising.
- Banking in finance to assess risk, stop fraud and identify trends.
- Healthcare, to provide consistency across diagnosis and treatment.
Career opportunities in IT
To succeed in any IT role, you’ll need attention to detail, the ability to think ahead and quickly create solutions to new problems. For those with methodical minds, IT is a logical career choice. There are a broad range of IT roles, and top ten most common jobs are:
- IT consultant: Evaluate systems and make software and hardware recommendations
- Cloud architect: Designing and organizing cloud systems
- Computer forensic investigator: Search, identify and evaluate information gleaned from computer systems for legal purposes
- Health IT specialist: Combining computer skills with health industry knowledge
- Mobile app developer: Writing code for apps
- Web developer: Creating web pages using a variety of languages
- Software engineer: Building programmes using a variety of languages
- IT vendor manager: Oversee supply of hardware and software within an organization
- Geospatial professionals: Using geographic data, evaluation of trends and patterns
- Data modeller: Using AI and ML to define relationships between data and make predictions about future behaviour.
IT salary expectations
Salaries range from $30,000, entry level, for IT support or tester roles, through to hundreds of thousands for experienced and well qualified people in niche roles. In general, the more experience and higher the qualification, the financial rewards are larger.
- An app or software developer's salary ranges from AU$49,000 to $100,000, averaging $69,000.
- A forensic computer analyst can earn anywhere between AU$47,000 to $116,000.
- An IT consultant earns between AU$50,000 through to $121,000
- A machine learning engineer salary starts at around $75,000 and could go as high as $153,000.
- A cloud or software architect will start on around $87,000 and can earn up to $162,000
Courses available for IT in Australia
There are courses in IT ranging from short certificates through to a postgraduate degree. Generally, an entry level Certificate is a year long, and gives you basic insight into a small segment of the industry such as HTML coding. Then, there are other certificates or degrees you can do to complement this.
A Bachelor in Computer Science/ Software Engineering/ Computer Forensics/ Information Security/ Data Science is a full time four-to-five year course that gives you a great grounding for whatever career you choose. As well as a broad overview of the basics, it allows you to deep dive into your specialty and subjects of interest.
Graduate certificates are either six or twelve months long, and give you an extra layer of knowledge that helps you understand and specialise in a certain IT field.
A Master in Engineering/ Data Science/ IT and Technology Management range between one and three years. These papers give high level information about fields of interest and offer a pathway into excellent job opportunities.
IT course fees in Australia
For international students, a foundation course such as a diploma or certificate, will cost between AU$15,000 to $22,000 for a year of study. A bachelors degree costs between $15,000 and $33,000 per year, while a postgrad masters degree fee structure ranges between $20,000 to $37,000 per year.
Living costs in Australia may be higher than you’re used to. For a reasonable standard of living, you’ll need approximately AU$21,000 per year for rent, electricity, mobile phone and internet, health insurance, public transport and food.
There may be scholarships available for international students. Check with the individual providers to see what they offer, or check out the state funded options. IDP Education may be able to help advise you which scholarships would suit your requirements.
How can you get PR in Australia after completing an IT course?
If you want to stay on in Australia once you’ve completed your degree, there are pathways.
The 485 skilled graduate temporary visa allows you to stay in Australia to work once you’ve graduated. This is for up to two years if you’ve completed a bachelor or masters degree. If you have completed a masters (by research) you can stay for three years, and if you completed a doctorate, you can stay for four years.
491 Visa is a fast track to five years living in Australia and eventually residency. You must be living in a regional area (all of Australia is considered regional except for the main cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane) and be working in a role that has been deemed to be experiencing a shortage. There are IT roles on the skills shortage list, like Analyst Programmer and ICT Business Analyst on Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).
Permanent residency, should you wish to pursue it, has a set of rigorous requirements but getting it means you can call Australia home.