10 things you should know about ICT

ICT, also known as the “Information and Communications Technology” industry, has grown into one of Australia’s largest and most profitable sectors over the years.

Comprised of three areas: information technology, telecommunications, and digital media – ICT is now a critical staple in business and our everyday lives. With innovations and developments paving the way for jobs of the future (resulting in a massive, global skills demand), there’s no better time than now to pursue a career in the sector.

Below, we cover 10 key facts on ICT, both as a general industry and its current trends in Australia.

ICT skills are transferable skills

The skills acquired from ICT aren’t restricted to IT-specific careers. From basic to high-level technological expertise, those equipped with such abilities can apply them across most (if not all) jobs – regardless of industry.

Those who’ve had experience in ICT are typically well-equipped with the soft skills to work well with others, for example. As plenty of roles in the sector are team-oriented and rely on collaboration, experienced professionals are likely to have excellent interpersonal and coordination skills – both which are highly value in any career.

ICT workers are also generally skilled in critical thinking, mathematics, and customer service, on top of their expertise in computers and electronics – all transferable skills for any modern business.

ICT skills in high demand

According to Deloitte’s latest Digital Pulse report (2019), the ICT industry is forecasted to need an additional 43,000 technology workers in the years between 2018 and 2024. (General demand across all industries is expected to increase by 100,000).

This need for ICT skills is also predicted to rise among professional services – with the fastest growth expected within the health care sector, whose technological workforce is expected to grow by more than 50%.

The top emerging role, however, is that of an AI specialist. Recent research by the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) has found that Australia will need an extra 160,000 AI specialists in the coming decade to keep up with the growing developments in this sub-sector (as well as automation).

Computer System Design (and Related Services) is the largest ICT sector

As of 2019, the largest sector in the ICT industry is Computer System Design (and related services).

Statistics from the Australian Industry and Skills Committee have found strong growth in this area for the past few decades, though 2019 saw its highest employment level with a total of 252,000 workers. This number is projected to grow to 287,400 by 2024.

Seconding this is the Telecommunications Services sector, having experienced stable employment numbers in recent times. Internet Service Providers, Data Processing Services, and Web Search Portals have also grown in employment in 2019.

Automation, AI, and cybersecurity are causing massive impact

The future of the ICT industry will be influenced by emerging trends in the automation, Internet of Things (IoT), automation, and cybersecurity field. These growing areas have caused a rising demand for workers of relevant, highly-specialised skills to design and implement such technologies.

The automation sector, in particular, is estimated to impact 25-46% of Australia’s workforce by 2030. Employers are increasingly on the hunt for ICT skills to lead, coordinate, and execute these new automation initiatives.

Additionally, with the upward trend of cybersecurity (and in conjunction, cybercrimes), ICT workers are seeing a growing demand for skills in security and privacy awareness.

Communication skills are a priority; with vendor certifications in high value

The priority skills for those in the ICT industry include work health and safety; teamwork and communication; problem solving, and the technical skills to keep up with constant technological developments. For “general” or soft skills, job vacancy data shows a demand for communication, problem solving, relationship-building, troubleshooting, and organisational skills.

This skills forecast (by the 2019 ICT Industry Reference Committee) also notes the high and popular demand for vendor certifications. In fact, a Vendor Certification Working group (reporting to the ICT IRC) has been established to further outline how such qualifications can be further accommodated within the VET sector.

Australia has become a testing ground for global ICT projects

The diverse, sophisticated customer base of Australia’s ICT industry, paired with its innovative drive and extensive market size, has made the country an ideal location for various global and regional ICT activities.

International bodies such as Canon, IBM, and Avaya have built product development facilities in Australia; Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco Systems, and CSC run technical assistance centres in the country for operations around the globe; and Google Maps and Warner Bros. have established local bases to develop international digital content for business and entertainment sectors – to name a few.

Our national ICT workforce has excelled in delivering quality technical knowledge (specifically in areas of architecture and integration); with a software-sector that benefits from low development costs. As a result, the country has proven to a “fertile” hotspot for creative, digital businesses, generating over $23 billion per year.

Victoria has the strongest ICT industry in Australia

Among all states, Victora’s ICT industry is the largest and most substantial – generating an approximate $34 billion in annual revenue with direct employment of 91,300 workers.

The sector has proven to be “internationally competitive”, with its exports generating an annual $2.5 billion. It also comprises over 30% of the entire nation’s ICT workforce. Its capital city, Melbourne, is considered Australia’s “technological hub”, consisting of over half of the country’s top 20 technology companies.

Victoria’s key strengths in ICT include talents in the cloud computing, mobile technology, social networks, and data analytics sector. Its tertiary sector is also partnered with multiple international and national tech companies, providing students with world-class infrastructure and connection technologies.

ICT can help employment of those with a disability

The Australian Public Service currently faces issues with low rates of employment for those with a disability. (This has been deemed “unsatisfactory” from the Australian Human Rights Commission’s perspective.)

The Commission, however, believes the wider use of accessible ICT can help boost these statistics. Adaptive communications technology can ease workplace participation among motivated, driven  individuals with disability; such as the use of text-to-speech or software for employees who are blind, or dictation software for those unable to interact with a keyboard using their hands.

Currently, such technologies are provided to employees with disability through the government’s Employment Assistance Fund; where a case-by-case approach is taken to assess accessibility requirements, followed by workplace developments to suit an individual’s needs.

Online shopping will shape future jobs

The Australian Computer Society deems the ICT industry as a dynamic, unpredictable field – one to likely stay this way for the foreseeable future. As industry trends and demands change, so will ICT developments to keep up with evolving business models.

That said, the currently growing sector of online commerce is set to increase demand for web development skills and hosting services in the ICT industry.

The online shopping sector has grown by an annual 16.2% for the past five years, resulting in total $18 billion in sales. Additionally, both local and international companies have increasingly been investing in a strong, online presence – or operating their entire business through an online-only model.

The industry is currently facing shortages in key digital skills

As businesses continue to spike demand for ICT skills – the industry continues to face a critical shortage of relevant talents.

The rapid changes and developments of the ICT landscape has spurred shortages in key skills such as cybersecurity, cloud computing, robotics, software design, and data management and analysis. Not only are these sought out in traditional ICT roles – but among businesses of all industries.

The government is currently addressing these issues by collaborating with both the ICT and education industry, establishing better ways of implementing relevant training programs to equip Australians for such roles (and for digital opportunities of the future).

This includes focusing on the higher education sector – and how its current system can more flexibly respond to changing industry skills demands. Additionally, the government has made sure to spotlight the opportunities of VET study as an alternative education pathway to enter the sector.

Looking to enter the ICT industry?

As mentioned, governmental initiatives are in place to increase participation in ICT training among Australia’s VET sector. Such courses are often more practical and skills-focused, equipping students with the work-ready, industry-standard competencies to find employment.

The Australian Institute of ICT (AIICT) offers such training through programs in cybersecurity, website development, and general information technology. Students can explore these key areas of ICT through an all-online platform, helping them tailor their education to a schedule and pace that suits them best.

Get your start in one of Australia’s fastest-growing industries, and enquire with us on a course today.