ICT skill shortages?

A study into employment in the Australian information and communications technology Tom Peard(ICT) industry estimates that Australia will need an additional 33,000 ICT professionals by mid 2017 and that there will be insufficient skilled workers to meet this demand. Yet it says that graduates from ICT courses are having trouble finding work.

If you work in IT, you only have to look around your office to see the age group is heavily made up of Gen X and little to no Gen Y’s.

Why is this? And what can be done to change it?

Well firstly, you can’t get a Bachelor of IT and suddenly be a Project Manager or a Business Analyst. Those sorts of titles require years of experience.

A total of 69.7% of recent computer science graduates are now in employment, although not necessarily in jobs related to their studies, and 12.9% are unemployed, according to figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa).

Maybe we can rectify this problem by putting processes in place to help Graduates grow within their profession.

For example:

  • Summer vacation programs
  • Internships
  • Trade shows / exhibitions
  • Career days
  • Q&A sessions

Have a read through the article below to see a series of ideas the AWPA have presented to boost ICT skills in the market.

http://www.whatech.com/it-education/news/15428-wanted-8000-new-ict-workers-every-year

 

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IT Market Update

Tom PeardWhile things may seem to be tenuous in Queensland’s ICT industry, at least it’s never boring.

As a review of circumstances leading to QLD Health’s payroll debacle continues, IBM has been vigorously scrutinised over its role in the scandal, as well as the procurement process and surrounding decisions that led to IBM becoming the prime contractor in the payroll project.

As the inquiry is ongoing, the only solid message that seems to have been taken from this is that the failed project will be taken into account as a cautionary tale when planning for new ICT initiatives in QLD Government.

The federal election is looming, and as it does, the bottleneck of new ICT projects that seems to happen around this particular time grows. Whispers of changes in Government and policies have had there effect on new ventures across many sectors, as people wait to see what the future holds and what impact it will have on the decisions they make. This may result in an influx of new projects and increased hiring following the election, scheduled for September 7th.

Change will be forthcoming very shortly, but as always, it will be tempered by the past.

The Healthy, Happy Workplace

After coming back from a client visit to Toowoomba this week, where it is always noticeably cooler than Brisbane, it dawned on me that summer was truly over and that winter is just around the corner. Now for me, and probably most people who work in an office, this tends to mean more hours inside, less exercise and a greater consumption of the bad things that aren’t good for me! SueT

Add in the fact that we also spend most of our waking hours at work and travelling to and from work (not to mention the amount of time we spend thinking about it), our workplace health and wellbeing should be our number one concern.

For me the above is oh so true and even though I have worked in the health industry for over 10 years and ‘know better’, I have to honestly say that work/life balance has not always come first.

As I mentioned before, I am fairly sure most of us are in the same mindset. We want to be successful at work, we want to do what’s right for our team, yet what I think plagues most businesses and industries, is that the average person is stressed and doesn’t make the time to exercise or eat right. This inevitably reflects on the performance and attitudes of people at work.

When speaking with my colleagues and friends about this topic, I found that we all try different ways to keep ourselves healthy and happy in our personal lives. However when asked the additional question of “what do we do about our professional lives to keep us happy and healthy?” the point of view was very different.

I have seen many articles stating that wellbeing contributes to a healthy, happy, motivated and engaged workforce. In turn this positive wellbeing in the workplace has been shown to lower employee absence, keeps stress levels down and arguably helps to retain employees.

In the current financial climate, there are many low-cost and innovative ways to help your workforce in staying and getting healthy and happy. It could be as simple as having fresh fruit available, providing the opportunity to have an extra hour for lunch to go to the gym, contributing towards a gym membership, flexible working hours so that you can exercise in the mornings before work or leave early to exercise after work, group fitness sessions (group walks or activities) and access to information on how to keep healthy and happy.

There is literally an endless range of unique and low cost ideas you could offer your team to inspire them to being healthy and happy. So what does your organisation do, to encourage and support you in being healthy and happy at work?

Don’t forget to check out our homepage and follow us on LinkedIn from here – http://www.edenritchie.com.au/

The Future of Social Media for Business in 2013

goober

The telltale signs of another year drawing to a close are here – there’s glittering mountains of tinsel draped around the office, your co-workers are not-so-subtly pressing you for hints about Secret Santa gift ideas and retail workers have the first signs of a slow descent into madness in their eyes, brought on by Michael Bublé’s Christmas album being played steadily on repeat.

XmasI haven’t slept in 72 hours because I can’t get the words to ‘Santa Claus Is Coming to Town’ out of my head! Awesome!’

So what does next year hold for business in terms of social media? It’s been fascinating to watch it develop over the past year, and it continues to expand and evolve exponentially in short periods of time. Wishes and predictions included, here is just a tiny portion of the developments we can expect next year –

MS Outlook 2013 Will Offer One-Click LinkedIn and Facebook Integration

The new version of Microsoft Outlook, slated for release to the general public in the first quarter of 2013, will include a revamped LinkedIn and Facebook Social Connector which will allow the user to simply sign in once using their login details, with no additional download required for Outlook to sync with LinkedIn or Facebook. New features and previous ones include:

  • When a contact card is displayed, it will include information extracted from LinkedIn and FB (subject to the individuals privacy settings).
  • An add button displayed next to any email sender which allows you to easily invite them to connect with you on LinkedIn.
  • The latest activity of anyone who emails you and is a connection will be displayed at the bottom of their emails to you.

Emails are Becoming Obsolete

As social media continues to grow, it continues to change the way we approach interaction with each other – this is also true in a business capacity, rendering emails a backdated form of communication. So in order to keep up with these changing dynamics, companies may be inclined to follow Atos CEO Thierry Breton’s 2011 idea of making email obsolete by issuing a memorandum that discouraged the sending and receiving of internal emails. With an abundance of different ways to converse (Twitter, Sharepoint2013, LinkedIn) and share information (Dropbox, Wikis) available at the moment, there’s no better time to test what works best for you and your company.

What are you looking forward to in 2013?

Queensland IT Market Update

What a difference a couple of months make! It’s good to see some positivity returning to the Queensland IT market after a relatively quiet six month period following the state election in March this year. Whilst the market hasn’t yet returned to the busy times we saw during 2011 and the early part of 2012, it seems there is momentum building slowly across a number of organisations, with key projects requiring resources as we come into the traditionally quiet Christmas period. This bodes well for 2013, particularly as the State Government starts to undertake new projects following the results of the ICT Audit that it is close to finalising.

In a number of conversations with employers and candidates throughout the year, I have mentioned that I believe we will see significant growth in the market from around March next year. I still hold this belief after hearing QLD Government CIO, Peter Grant, speak at the ICT Industry Forum last week, where he mentioned the government’s plans for significant spending on ICT initiatives as we move into the New Year. This has a flow on effect for many private sector companies that are influenced by the spending, or lack of, by state and local government in Queensland.

So what does this mean for the ICT employment market? My expectation is that the need for ICT contractors will increase as these ICT projects begin. In the early months of 2013, we should see a steady increase in the number of contract roles, particularly Project Managers and Business Analysts. As the year continues, we should see growth across other areas as these projects ramp up their recruitment.

Despite what has been an up and down year for many, it is good to see some positive sentiment in the market. Good signs for the industry as we move into 2013!

So what does it take to be a great Project Manager?

Managing projects can be a complex and difficult task. So what is it that allows great Project Managers to build reputations people that will deliver results on time and within budget?

After discussions with a number of successful and senior Project Managers recently, there is a general agreement on the key attributes that successful project managers possess.

1) They understand the business! They have the patience and communication skills to listen to the key stakeholders and understand what the business is trying to achieve from the project. There is no point in delivering a product or service that will not fit the requirements of the organisation.

2) They are Problem solvers! Projects can vary in size and complexity and it is important that project managers are able to think outside the box to come up with solutions to overcome obstacles.

3) Flexibility! Some projects can change on almost a daily basis and thus, project managers need to be flexible when approaching a project. Project management methodologies are a great way to set the direction for the project but they are not strict procedures. Project Managers must have the flexibility to alter their approach to overcome any obstacles that arise.

4) They are delivery focussed! The reputations of project managers are made or broken on their ability to successfully deliver outcomes to the business. It is imperative that project managers liaise with key stakeholders to set the desired outcomes and do everything they can to achieve them!

5) Outstanding communication and leadership skills! Project managers must be able to engage with key stakeholders to get support from senior management. They also must be able to bring out the best in their teams. This means supporting and delegating to team members to make the most of project resources.

6) Ownership!! Project managers have to take complete ownership of their projects and have the drive and passion to do everything they can to ensure that the outcomes are achieved within time, budget and resource constraints. This is where project managers build their reputations as someone who will get the job done!

Do you have what it takes to be a great Project Manager? With so many large projects kicking off, the industry is booming in South East Queensland. It is certainly an exciting time to be involved in project management!!

Project Management – Challenges galore!!

What makes managing projects such a complex and challenging job? Projects can vary substantially in how difficult they are to successfully deliver, hence, the importance of the Project Manager understanding the organisation, the stakeholders, the time frame, the budget, the history and the outcomes required from the project.

Upon joining the project team, whether the project is at inception or already in progress, there are a number of things that Project Managers must do to set the groundwork for successful outcomes.

Firstly, they have to consult with the key stakeholders to best understand what outcomes are required from the project.

Secondly, the scope of the project needs to be agreed (including time frames, milestones, budget) as well as the most effective approach to achieve the desired outcomes. Project management methodologies such as Prince 2 will assist in setting the direction of what approach will be taken. Methodologies, however, are not strict procedures, they are simply there to facilitate the deliverables of the project.

Finally, it is important that Project Managers understand the environment and unwritten ground rules. This can take the form of policy and procedures that must be followed as well as the key stakeholders within and outside of the organisation. This can be particularly important within the government sector as many protocols differ from that of the private sector.

So what makes a project challenging for a Project Manager? Almost always, this will revolve around people, egos and agendas! Bringing team members together to form an effective team, gaining support and working with key stakeholders as well as dealing with processes and protocols. Therefore, it is imperative that Project Managers have excellent influencing, leadership, communication and negotiation skills as well as the ability to engage with people across all levels of the organisation.

Speaking to a Project Director recently, his most challenging project had revolved around coordinating the expectations of people at a variety of levels both externally and internally. Managing teams, stakeholders and multiple vendors is never easy task, but that is what separates the great Project Managers from the rest and a demonstrated track record in this respect is what organisations look for when recruiting.

So what makes a good Project Manager? Look out for next week’s edition when I discuss the attributes of great Project Managers and what allows them to deliver successful projects!