It seems every time the subject of the future of work is broached, the importance of equipping our youth with the appropriate technological skillsets is raised as well. However, based on a World Economic Forum report in 2016, Australia ranked last not only for tech skills but for interest in technical jobs too.
Put simply, this is an issue. The Foundation for Young Australians’ The New Basics report showed the demand for digital literacy has grown a whopping 212 per cent over a three-year period, outstripping other enterprise skills such as critical thinking (158 per cent), creativity (65 per cent) and presentation skills (25 per cent).
It’s a simple problem to identify but solving it is another matter entirely. Steps have already been taken to do so; the endorsement of the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies in September 2015, along with various initiatives programs (Code Club Australia, CSIRO STEM Professionals in Schools) are evidence that the country recognises the value of a technically-savvy future workforce.
However, what can career advisers do to encourage students to start thinking about a career as a developer or programmer? This is a tough question, particularly for those that aren’t well versed in concepts like coding. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a tech wizard to push students in the right direction.
Highlight the facts
If all else fails, go straight to the source. In this case, the source is Australian Government employment website Job Outlook, which indicates strong future growth for software and applications programmers at a healthy weekly wage of $1,801.
Every industry needs tech
While positive predictions about job opportunities in the future are great, that’s all they are – predictions. However, the ability to code, program and develop is crucial to virtually every industry out there, so you’d be hard pressed to find a sector where a technological skillset wouldn’t be considered, at least in theory, valuable.
Even if you can’t land a job straight away, there is great scope for working as a freelancer. Getting a start via the gig economy is a great way to build your portfolio while you’re still studying too.
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