IT careers have demand, opportunity, and cultural impact: Westpac's Clive Whincup

Must be advocated for these reasons

Westpac Banking Group CIO, Clive Whincup.

Westpac Banking Group CIO, Clive Whincup.

IT has the potential to become a successful career for today's generation and should be advocated as such due to demand, opportunity, and its cultural and societal influence and integration, according to Westpac Banking Group chief information officer (CIO), Clive Whincup.

Whincup spoke of careers in IT in a presentation titled Why IT is a great career for today's generation at the Australian Computer Society Youth IT conference (YITcon) 2012.

Over the past decade, the demand for IT professionals has doubled as a result of the explosion of technology, its integration with all industries, and availability.

At the same time, the number of enrollments for IT courses in universities and other institutions has halved, Whincup said.

Put simply, this results in a shortage of skills to the extent that there are not enough IT professionals in Australia to maintain pace with demand, which is also responsible for much off-shoring that occurs.

This means that demand is thriving, and not only for a stringent pursuit of technology opportunity. Using Westpac as an example, Whincup said that there are 90 different skillsets, 109 different roles, and eight job opportunities within its IT department.

The message: IT is open-ended and entails transferable skillsets across not only different IT organisations, but other industries and geographies. Essentially, it's a question of "why not?"

"Very few professions offer so many prospects for opportunity and variety," Whincup said.

Demand and opportunity aside, the cultural and societal integration of IT in the contemporary world is another reason for it to be advocated as a career, according to Whincup.

This is particularly due to the proliferation of mobility, and technology's future proposition of machine to machine (M2M) communication.

Despite these elements, IT (and ICT) remains subject to negative connotations and implications as a result of its representation, particularly in secondary educational institutions, Whincup added.

He said that the problem is in the way IT is being taught, whereby 'dated' methods are being used to introduce youths to the industry, which then leads to misconceptions and disinterest.

"We're teaching algorithms instead of making iPhone apps," he said.

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