13 August 2007

UQ is encouraging and assisting students to explore careers in Information and Communications Technology by offering a number of $2000 scholarships for undergraduate study in 2008.

The Head of UQ’s School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Professor Paul Bailes, said there was never a better time to study ICT.

Salaries were rising, and there was a significant ICT industry skills shortage, meaning great job opportunities for qualified graduates.

"Unfortunately, some misconceptions have resulted in a lack of interest in related degrees," he said.

One of these misconceptions was that careers in ICT were all about programming.

“That misconception has never been true,” Professor Bailes said.

“Programming was and remains an important part of ICT, but client and people-focused careers have always been at the heart.

“Further, as the pervasiveness of ICT increases, the variety of ICT jobs continues to widen.”

Another misconception was that “outsourcing” would see ICT jobs moving offshore, but the quality of Australian ICT graduates had instead led to foreign ICT companies establishing Australian branches and development labs. They included leading-edge concerns such as Google.

He said the imminent skills shortage in the ICT field meant the industry was "crying out" for well-qualified graduates.

“We receive a lot of enquiries from industry asking where they can find more graduates,” Professor Bailes said.

“There is a wide variety of opportunities for great careers, and not just jobs, in the ICT field.”

UQ is tackling the ICT skills shortage through financial support for students to take up places in its cutting-edge programs, designed to provide graduate attributes for successful and sustainable careers in the industry.

“ICT degrees at UQ allow students to acquire a combination of technical and professional skills, as well as an opportunity to engage with industry through project placements,” Professor Bailes said.

“UQ has a great teaching record – its success in national teaching awards is outstanding.

“That record is underpinned by the fine scholarship of its academic staff.”

And the perks of an ICT degree continue post graduation.

Professor Bailes noted that a recent survey released by the Australian Computer Society revealed that ICT salaries rose by 4.5 per cent between May 2006 and May 2007.

“The UQ Enabling Scholarships will offer a great start to a career in a satisfying and lucrative industry,” Professor Bailes said.

Those interested in applying are invited to download the application form from UQ’s ICT programs website at studyict.uq.edu.au/scholarships or telephone 07 3365 2097

The scholarships are available to school-leavers commencing study in the Bachelor of Information Technology, Bachelor of Multimedia Design and the ICT-related fields of the Bachelor of Engineering.

Media: More information, Professor Paul Bailes, telephone 07 3365 3869, Jan King at 07 3365 1120 or Penny Robinson at 07 3365 2339.