Tech industry may be your next employer

Australia is poised for massive growth in its IT industry, says Tech Council’s Kate Jones, who is also a judge for the inaugural 40 Under 40 Awards.

Jun 15, 2023, updated Jun 20, 2023
Image: Tom Parkes, Unsplash

Image: Tom Parkes, Unsplash

Compared with other nations, when it comes to tech, Australia is disproportionately growing and leading in the quantum and artificial intelligence sectors said Tech Council of Australia executive director Kate Jones.

Jones is also a judge for the inaugural Queensland 40 Under 40 Awards, which will recognise 40 of the state’s young leaders and entrepreneurs at a gala dinner next month.

She said Australia will see “an explosion” in growth of the IT industry, as a result of this and other factors.

“I think the interplay of AI and traditional industries is going to be significant,” she said, pointing to the environmental sector as one example.

Some of the innovative environmental projects underway locally include crown-of-thorns starfish monitoring using AI to generate a map of outbreaks, and the Great Reef Census, a Dell Technologies supported citizen science project to monitor reef structure and respond better to reef health.

The Tech Council is working to break down misconceptions around who can be employed in the tech industry.

“You don’t necessarily have to be into deep tech or be a computer programmer or software engineer to work in tech,” Jones said.

According to the Tech Council’s data, the fastest growing segment fuelling the Australian industry’s growth is women aged between 35 and 45.

They are using their existing skill sets to transition in from other industries, often taking roles in human resources, media, communications and legal.

Jones said this may go some way to help Queensland’s own tech sector and, in particular, South East Queensland, which currently leads the nation in the growth of software engineer jobs.

“One of the challenges we’ve always had as a state is the ability to scale up,” she said.

“I think because of the investment that’s happened in the Smart State across 20 years now, Queensland tends to be over represented when it comes to great ideas and great talent.

“But ensuring that we can commercialise, upscale and keep those businesses based in Queensland continues to be a challenge.”

She said the Tech Council has been working with the state and federal governments to help businesses get the skill sets they need sooner in order to scale up quickly.

“When you talk to an entrepreneur, many of the challenges they face come from the fact that they are great at the tech solution or science they’re leading in, but when it comes to growing a business and scaling up at the same time – that’s a real challenge,” she said.

Jones is also strategic advisor at Soda – the launchpad for innovative tech founded by Queensland serial entrepreneur Bevan Slattery, and a sponsor of the 40 Under 40 Awards.

She said awards like these are important because finding the time to network or self-promote can be hard for people in their 20s or 30s who are focused on building their careers.

“Soda want to see the best talent come to light, have the opportunity to build relationships across industries and get exposure to larger, more established businesses that are trying to innovate in-house,” Jones said.

“There is so much potential to be tapped by shining a light on the best and brightest young Queenslanders.”

The 40 Under 40 Awards are presented by InQueensland and The Weekend Edition.

The awards will acknowledge this year’s alumni of 40 of the state’s brightest, including the winners of the 10 category awards.

This is the last call for entries, with nominations and self-nominations closing on June 16.

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