Getting started in ICT
When you ask an ICT professional how they got started in the industry, one thing is clear: there is no single pathway to get to where you want to be.
From banking and big business, construction and primary industries, manufacturing and entertainment, right through to education and science – technology is advancing in leaps and bounds and touching nearly every aspect of our lives. Whether you’re thinking apps, e-commerce websites, robotics or artificial intelligence, the ICT industry is at the centre of it all.
See where a career in IT can take you.
When you ask an ICT professional how they got started in the industry, one thing is clear: there is no single pathway to get to where you want to be.
Some people, like software developer Alex from Biteable, took a while to find their calling. “I started in software development only five months ago. I was doing something else at university and I decided that I really wanted to try and get into a career in ICT. I thought that maybe I had to be programming from a younger age and so I never tried to pursue that career, but eventually eventually I got up the courage to learn some skills in my own time.”
Nigel from DXC also developed his own skills by following his love of computing. “I started off in a business admin role and basically had a lot of issues with computers and software and so basically ended up fixing them all myself, I was learning a lot of that stuff myself.”
Other people – like software developer Cameron from Biteable – have always known where their passions lie. “So I got started in software development in grade 8 – there was a programming book at home and I started reading that and playing around.”
Andrew from ISW got started as a full stack developer because he was always interested in technology and computing and solving problems. “I really enjoy when you get to solve a problem and work it through into a solution, especially when you can make that reproducible and code something so that it can save you time and save you hassle and just be able to enjoy getting on with the other tasks that you need to do.”
Katherine from DXC started out with another interest: in libraries. She did a diploma in Library and Information Technology. “Because libraries are changing to be more IT focused I figured I needed to build up my IT skills – I actually really love this environment, it was a good change.”
One thing that professionals do agree on is that if you have an interest and a passion and you can see yourself doing an ICT job: Go for it! And try different things, you may be surprised just where you end up.
Learn about the different careers in ICT and get started on a new pathway.
The beauty of the ICT industry is that the scope of jobs is almost endless. From the slightly less glamorous (such as IT infrastructure) to the currently more popular (such as game development) it covers such of a variety of different roles – and different skill sets. If you are a great organiser and good with people, you can become a project manager, if you are process driven and logical you might become a back end developer. But what else?
Take Rena from Biteable, for example. Rena has a Bachelor or Arts and was working as a marketing and communications consultant before she joined the team at Biteable.
“I started out as a copywriter, but I am responsible for social media management and social media marketing now. In a small company like ours, it’s a matter of doing what your skill set is and mine is in communication.”
In Rena’s role it is very important to be clear when she don’t understand something or when something becomes too technical and “goes go over my head, from a technical perspective… because the team that I work with is always happy to slow down and explain something to me in more depth, that I can’t google myself of course.”
Understanding and being heavily involved in the technical aspect is important for Rena as she must be able to send that message out to clients.
Rena didn’t set out to work in the ICT industry necessarily, and her skills can certainly be applied to many fields, but she is a natural fit, and it is a natural fit for her. “I would say that my experience working with a business in the field of ICT is really positive; everyone is very welcoming and really looking to provide opportunities to people who may not have felt that this was a natural fit for them,” Rena, Biteable.
When you think about it that way, it is almost impossible to count the different types of role in the ICT sector in Tassie … If you are interested in getting started, it’s a matter of thinking about where your skills and interests lie because there is certainly a job out there for you.
We’ve put together information on training and education pathways to get you started in your new career.
Andrew and Nicky are committed to being on the forefront of ICT and nothing gives them the opportunity to do so more than their roles as full stack developers and devops at ISW. Hear what makes their days.
And if you want to enter their world, read more about what’s involved in being a full stack developer and devops.
After chatting to a range of different ICT professionals – from project managers and developers, to support desk and creatives – we’ve pulled together at least seven great reasons to get into the ICT industry.
“I love that everyday is different,” – Rena, Biteable
“What I love about my job is that everyday is completely different. So I never know what’s in store and I like being able to adapt to change to each new demand that’s thrown upon me,” – Jason, 2PM
“Everyday is different, new challenges present themselves and I think that makes me a better person, because every day I’m having to find new ways of dealing with things in order to keep the plan in place because that’s ultimately my job,” – Abby, 2PM
“What I also enjoy about software development is the collaboration … software development by nature is a collaborative effort,” – Alex, Biteable
“I love the atmosphere of the place, I love that the people are very supporting – the people are so nice here,” – Katherine, DXC
“ I love about my role is working with people and getting to meet people across all different types of organisations and different roles within those organisation,” – Abby, 2PM
“I enjoy that software development provides different working environments so you can work remotely and that aspect of it always appealed to me as well so later in life I could be more flexible,” – Alex, Biteable
“You can … be anywhere, and in theory produce something that’s used by people on the other side of the world,” – Cameron, Biteable
“I like the flexibility as my role as well – that it’s not about coming in at 9 and leaving at 5, but it’s about getting the work done,” – Rena, Biteable
“I really love the Variety and you can plan your day around you might do the more difficult task in the morning and then leave the easy one for the afternoon and we have the flexibility to do that.”
“We’re always using the latest technologies it’s always great to see how they can be applied to doing that,” – Andrew, ISW
“I work people whose skill set is different to mine and that’s very exciting to have a big idea that can actually be implemented because there are people in my team who know how to,” – Rena, Biteable
“It’s a fast moving industry that we work in it’s always evolving and I love learning new things and taking on new technology, it’s great,” – Nicky, ISW
“What I love most about my job is that IT can be very challenging there are so many technologies and so many devices that are available these days it’s staggering what’s out there and all these challenges are fun really,” – Nigel, DXC
“What I love best about software development and program in general is being able to build something yourself that in theory can be used by millions of people,” – Cameron, Biteable
“I would say that my experience working with a business in the field of ICT is really positive everyone is very welcoming and open to diversity as well and really looking to provide opportunities to people who may not have felt that this was a natural fit for them,” – Rena, Biteable.
“I think it’s a really great environment and I think the IT community especially the development community is a really friendly one I think it’s a really nurturing environment to learning,” – Beth, Ionata
Read more about how to get started on your ICT career pathway.
Katherine and Nigel solve problems. They take calls from clients and help resolve their issues. This requires an agile mind and great customer skills, as well as in-depth knowledge about a range of ICT-related technologies and issues. Could that be you too?
Take a look at our information on education and training to get started as a service desk analyst.
Meet Abby and Jason from 2PM, they are both project managers with plenty of experience to draw on.
2PM is a project management consultancy based in Hobart. “Basically what we do is provide clients with solutions to problems. So we might be called in when there’s a project or an initiative or a change being rolled out within an organisation and they need additional support to help manage that change.”
That change might be anything ICT related, from getting a new website to replacing a phone system, and the important thing for Abby and Jason is that it is done the best possible way, so it doesn’t end up costing the organisation money. It’s highly important to have the right people working on the job – whether that’s a project manager, change manager or business analyst. “People that can come in and really understand the problem and understand the goal of the change and then work with the organisation to achieve it.”
According to Jason, this means that a lot of his role is about coordination. “A lot of what we do is about collaboration, coordination and control – and those are the main themes of what we do from day to day. This means working out who we need to speak to, who’s the most important to be contacting about an issue, what resources need to be where and when, and making sure things will be delivered when we say they’re going to be delivered.”
Abby adds, “Once we have put a plan in place I work very very closely with the team to ensure that we are delivering to that plan. I identify any risks associated with meeting the the plan and resolve any issues which have a potential impact. I also make sure that we have the right people in place at the right time to execute that plan and I also oversee the project budget.”
Both Abby and Jason would agree that the main skill that makes a successful project manager is the ability to oversee a lot of details – from people, technical scope and budget. And that the results can be very rewarding.
“You need attention to detail you need to be able to control things, and you need to be able to lead people. You also need to be able to assess risks, you need to be able to understand the big picture and what’s important so … being able to make big decisions, quick decisions and to address issues that arise,” Jason says.
Abby agrees. “No day is the same, every day has different challenges. Coming up with a plan for the business and the organisation to best manage that change can be a little bit overwhelming but it’s also very challenging and that’s the bit that I love about my job.”
If this is a job you could love too, you can start now! Take a look at our info on becoming a project manager.
Discover the depth and variety of a role on Project Management.
As Jason and Abby will tell you, no two days are the same and every day presents new challenges and problem solving opportunities.
If this sounds like you, take a look our info on training in project management.
Cameron, Alex and Rena all work at Biteable and work to create and promote a specialised product from their office in Hobart. They do different roles with one goal and their enthusiasm for their product is inspiring!
If you want to do what they do, check out our information on starting a career in software development.
Here’s some advice to keep in mind as you travel your own ICT career path.
“Focus on your passions. Think about what you want to do in the long term and don’t necessarily rush into the first job you can find just for the money. Do something that you love and what you are passionate about, so that you don’t even feel like you’re working.”
– Beth from Ionata
“Don’t be afraid to keep on training. Follow your interests and study everything you can that relates to that. Don’t wait until you feel like you are too old or have left it too late. It’s true that you can always gain new skills and mos workplaces support that, but formal training and recognition will help you getting jobs. And keep you up with technology.”
– Katherine and Nigel from DXC
“If you are passionate and want to do something just try it. Anyone can start programming at anytime. And get as much agency experience as you can because that gives you a good grasp of problem solving and resolving real world issues.”
– Alex and Cameron from Biteable
“Take risks. If you think you can do a job just apply for it and give it a go. Often you’re more capable than you think you are, and if you don’t get the job it’s a learning opportunity. Spend time really learning your craft and keep on learning as your career grows and changes.”
– Abby and Jason, 2PM
“Take advantage of every learning opportunity. You can learn so much, even if you change what you do, and you can meet so many great people. Every path you choose brings something.”
– Nicky, ISW
Take their words for it – after all, they’re the professionals! And if this advice does inspire you, consider signing up for the It’s Your Career program, which offers students the opportunity for work experience in the ICT sector.
Firstly, what is a full stack developer? Meet Nicky and Andrew from ISW to find if this is the role for you.
ISW is a Tasmanian IT company with a head office in Hobart but with offices all over Australia. ISW deals in developing customised software for clients.
At ISW, Nicky’s role requires taking ideas and requirements that people have and building an efficient system that perhaps adapts to their needs, expanding as needed. It’s a fast moving industry that is always evolving so it’s important to stay ahead of technology.
Andrew agrees. “My job is about problem solving – it’s taking the problem and discussing it; working it through to come to a solution. We’re always using the latest technologies it’s always great to see how they can be applied to do that.”
Basically, a full stack application developer’s role is to get applications running and keep them running. For Nicky and Andrew, their main responsibilities include all aspects of software development, testing and deployment. From designing an automated deployment pipeline to fixing a UI bug for a client. For Andrew, working in DevOps is abou automating systems in the way that they run, setting up servers, pushing code to the servers and running it in a way that makes it ready for production or ready for testing. It’s coding for deployment.
Nicky says: “the role full stack developer implies that we can write the front end system, the bit that people use, and code the backend servers and do the DevOps part that joins those together and makes that a running system.”
“We listen to feedback from clients, we work with stakeholders to develop new functionality, or new features and design those all the way through to testing and then deploying them to the production environment.”
To be in this role, the main thing you need is attention to detail. However, to be truly successful you should have a passion for the creative process and be able conceptualise complex systems.
Sound like you? If you’re a student, sign up for the IT’s Your Career work experience program.
The team at Ionata Digital develop websites and apps. Beth and Tara talk about what being a web designer in a local company means day to day, and what they love about it!
If you think you’d love it too – take a look at the professional’s advice for starting your career in ICT.
Tasmania’s ICT industry is rich and varied, and moving and changing very quickly. And when it comes to working in the ICT industry in this state, there are two main ways to do it: as an ICT employee in a business, or as a specialised ICT provider.
First of all, many businesses keep a lot of their services ‘in-house’ – this might be anything from support services to web development to user experience. In a place like this, you might work in the IT department, or provide that service as part of a team. The benefit of working in ICT in a large organisation is that you can really learn about your area of business and gain in-depth knowledge.
Or you might work in a specialised business providing ICT services: in Tasmania this includes web and software development, ICT support, gaming, project management and a whole lot more. This type of work gives you the opportunity to deliver your skills across a range of clients and business areas. For example, as a front end web developer you might build an ecommerce website for a local food producer one week, and an information heavy instructional website the next.
Then of course, sometimes these specialised businesses become big businesses themselves, so you may end up working in HR, or marketing, or finance in an ICT organisation.
The diversity and growth in ICT in Tasmania means that there are plenty of opportunities for people who want to work in the industry.
(For an example of these two main types of employment, just take a look at the places of business of our TasICT board members.)
What does it actually mean to be a developer in a small agency?
We heard from Cameron at Biteable and Beth at Ionata Digital on what their days look like.
Beth starts out her day in a standup meeting. The team informally chats about what they did yesterday, what they achieved, what blockers they experienced – that is, if anything is stopping them from getting the job done. “And then we kind of discuss what we’re going to do today,” Beth says.
For Beth, who is a front end developer, what she is going to do that day, depends on the project, which might mean design and wireframing, or meetings, or building a new website. “Whatever’s needed. I’m pretty autonomous,” Beth says.
Cameron sees his role as mostly about helping people, so that’s how he focuses his day – whether those people are customers or members of his team. He usually starts out making contact with the team to find out what people need. “If the designers need help doing something, I will help them out will try to work to identify any issues for our users.”
Cameron is a programmer, and his role involves supporting the Biteable software and working out any issues, as well as development of new functionality.
So what does this mean day-to-day?
“As a front end developer I build the stuff the users see. I wouldn’t call myself a designer, but I do a bit of interface design. I mainly implement a design, implement workflows and build apps. So it depends what stage we are in.” Whatever it is, it’s all in a day’s work.
NB: Biteable is a company that provides simple, video-making software that was founded in Hobart. Find out more about Biteable. Ionata is a web and digital development company, see more info about Ionata Digital.
If you’d like to spend your days the same way, here’s some more information we have pulled together about training to become a software developer.