4 July 2007

The University of Queensland is responding to changes and dramatic growth in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry by modernising its IT degrees and introducing new engineering specialisations from 2008.

Chairman of global financial firm GBST Holdings John Puttick said the IT industry in Queensland was experiencing strong growth, reflecting the strength of the local economy.

“We need more good quality graduates with highly-developed, problem-solving skills to work on the many challenges that today’s society presents to us over a wide-ranging field of applications,” Mr Puttick said.

“There are more than 150 job definitions in the industry – most of which you have probably never considered as an ICT career. ICT permeates practically every industry.

“A recent Australian Government report says ICT will be one of the top five occupations in terms of employment growth over the next five years.

“In February this year, The Australian newspaper reported that a new ICT talent index, Best International, reported a 19 percent increase in jobs since July 2006. Demand in Queensland was up an astonishing 28 percent.”

The modernised UQ IT degrees include subject areas like bioinformatics, developing computer games, modelling economics, designing software, multimedia, genome research and developing interactive entertainment.

The Head of UQ’s School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Professor Paul Bailes, said students chose to study ICT for a variety of reasons.

“ICT expertise is valuable in many professions. You can gain skills as a specialist in computing or to better understand the technology behind many career choices,” he said.

“An increasing number of employers see ICT qualifications as highly valuable and a sign of a well-rounded graduate.”

New engineering specialisations include Aerospace Engineering based on studies in electrical or software engineering, and Electrical and Biomedical Engineering at the intersection of biology and technology.

Aerospace Engineering will allow professionals to work in Queensland’s growing aviation and aerospace industries. Queensland is fast becoming an Australian hub with major players such as Boeing, Virgin Blue and Qantas locating operations in Queensland, and the State Government planning a major aerospace business park near the Amberley RAAF base near Ipswich. The best students from 17 Aviation Gateway schools throughout the state now have the opportunity for direct entry to UQ’s engineering degrees.

From 2008, the Bachelor of Multimedia Design will be offered at the St Lucia campus. Multimedia design teaching, using the latest equipment and technology, has been available at the UQ Ipswich campus since 2003.

The new ICT study options will be launched tomorrow, Thursday, July 5 at 1pm at the Queensland Society for Information Technology in Education (QSITE) conference 2007 at Anglican Church Grammar School, Oaklands Parade, East Brisbane.

For more information on study options, visit: www.study.itee.uq.edu.au.

For more information, contact:
Mark Starkey, School of ITEE (07 3365 2809; m.starkey@itee.uq.edu.au) or
Elizabeth Kerr, UQ Communications (07 3365 2339).