A resurgence of growth in information technology (IT) and multimedia and an expected shortage of graduates skilled in these areas has prompted a call for school leavers and others to consider studying in these fields.
The Southern Cross University’s Head of School of Multimedia and Information Technology, Professor San Murugesan, said there was widespread concern among stakeholders – business and industry, professional associations and governments - that a decline in students enrolling in these areas would lead to a skills shortage down the track
The president of the Australian Computer Society, Mr Richard Hogg, warned the fall in student numbers would lead to a large shortage of graduates three years from now.
“That is when the industry is going to start to scream,” Mr Hogg said.
Professor Murugesan said while there had been a downturn in the computer industry in the last two years it was expected that this would lead to a more sustainable industry in the long-term.
“Information and communication technologies (ICT), including the Internet and Web, and a wide variety of their applications have become part of our life and our work. I can’t see any industry or anyone saying ‘no, I am not going to use computers or the Internet’. They have penetrated into our work and life, and only a fraction of their potential has been tapped so far,” Professor Murugesan said.
“There will be great opportunities for employment and/or career advancement as industry and the economy picks up and more and more innovative applications of ICT emerge. This will be especially so in regional areas.”
He said employment opportunities for graduates in IT and multimedia would increase in a range of sectors such as small and medium-sized businesses, education, health care, entertainment and local government, which all needed IT support
The SCU’s Bachelor of Information Technology and the Bachelor of Multimedia degree courses offer students opportunities to specialise in a range of areas including software and Web development, interactive and educational multimedia, electronic commerce and information systems.
“Students studying these courses also have the opportunity to work with local business, industry and community organisations on real-life projects of mutual interest.”
He said fears that IT related courses were hard, involved too much mathematics, and that one had to be ‘a nerd’ to take up studies in these areas were unwarranted.
In a bid to encourage more women, who traditionally shy away from computer courses, to study information technology and multimedia, SCU has been successfully running a Women in Technology (WIT) program that provides additional support and assistance to female students through mentoring and tutoring.
Southern Cross University also offers a special WIT scholarship for female students interested in doing an Honours program in IT or multimedia as well as a number of other scholarships.
Professor Murugesan said for graduates in other disciplines wishing to upgrade their knowledge and skills in IT, multimedia and the related areas, SCU was also introducing a new Graduate Diploma in Information Technology and Graduate Diploma in Multimedia next year.
He said the courses would be ideal for people who wanted to expand their horizons and enhance their career opportunities in IT and the multimedia area. The courses will be open to anyone with a Bachelors degree, or equivalent in any discipline other than computing and multimedia.
“These courses will assist them in discovering and applying innovative ways in which information technology and multimedia can be used in their own workplace. It will marry their skills in their own discipline with IT and multimedia.”
For information about any of the courses offered by the School of Multimedia and Information Technology phone (02) 66593605 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For media information contact Media Liaison Unit, Southern Cross University, Ph: 02 6620 3144, email@example.com