Technology continues to transform our lives. In the 21st century, it’s Information and Communications Technology, or ICT, that lies at the core of disruption from the highest levels of business, to the personal ways we live our lives. Industries are scrambling to revamp the way they approached IT in the past. Our smartphones are now pretty much part of us, with our daily lives – from the toaster we use to the cars we drive (or soon, self-drive) – digitising before our eyes.
Universities have embraced this digital wave from the get-go. None want to lose the opportunity to prepare their students to harness the powerful tools in our hands today. And all are welcoming of the potential ICT brings, even in what seems to be the most irrelevant fields. The more ambitious pour billions into specialised courses and even separate colleges.
The data explains why universities are doing this. Two statistics are most relevant in this aspect; firstly, the World Economic Forum says we are in a “zettabyte era” – that’s 21 zeroes – where by 2020, the global Internet Protocol (IP) traffic will reach 2.3 zettabytes. Secondly, automation is expected to replace or enhance up to 55 percent of physically repetitive tasks, putting millions of low to mid-skilled jobs at risk or made redundant.
We see the broad and deep benefits of ICT in the first, with astronomical data growth fuelling innovation and creativity. Today, IT graduates are already some of the most sought-after in the job market, commanding high salaries and high status. In LinkedIn’s list of most in-demand skills for 2018, the top 10 is dominated by IT-related functions and concepts. The top five jobs with high median salaries, strong job openings and year-over-year growth were found to be: Engagement Lead, Software Engineering Manager, Customer Success Manager, Solutions Architect and Sales Director.
But the former, automation, is a major cause of worry for students, parents and educators alike. How do they avoid being made redundant by robots? Do they have what it takes to outdo machines? Can they surpass their peers from more developed countries? How can you compete so you are not left behind?
Many believe the answers lie in lifelong education – and they’re right. Get ahead of the race at these three leading ICT schools:
New Zealand’s forefront institution producing industry-ready IT graduates is the Auckland ICT Graduate School. To meet the demands of this rapidly-growing sector, the school offers two postgraduate programmes tailored for students and working professionals: the Postgraduate Certificate in Information Technology (PGCertInfoTech) and the Masters in Information Technology (MInfoTech); two qualifications that combine technology skills, critical thinking and business savvy to drive the nation’s innovation.
The PGCertInfoTech is ideal for candidates from non-ICT-related backgrounds looking to gain specialist skills to ignite a career in ICT. Short and intensive, students learn fundamental skills in software development, including up-to-date knowledge of object-oriented programming and design, web technologies and databases – all of which will complement students’ existing critical thinking and communication abilities. It also serves as an alternative pathway for entry into the MInfoTech.
The Master’s option suits candidates seeking to enhance their value in the dynamic ICT sector. Former student, Amulya Jagadeesh, described it as “an opportunity to learn both the management and the technological sides to software engineering and how to implement the learning in a real-world scenario.” One semester is devoted to an internship where students work on a real-world project – one of which led to Amulya clinching a full-time position upon graduation.
This demonstrates the school’s key strength: preparation for industry. Internships are an integral component of the MInfoTech programme. Running full-time for 10 weeks (400-hour), this is a unique opportunity for learners to work on a real-world project, facilitated by an employer – some of the country’s largest and most renowned companies – and supported by the university.
What do you get when you empower the world’s greatest minds to push the boundaries of technology? In Australia, you get University of Melbourne’s School of Computing and Information Systems (CIS), the very institution that commissioned Australia’s first computer and managed the first internet connections.
Ranked number 1 in Australia and 32nd in the world in the 2019 QS World University Subject Rankings for computer science, this is the school for those with curiosity, passion and a strong desire to learn.
CIS offers a range of undergraduate and graduate degrees for ICT enthusiasts, including Bachelor of Science in Computing and Software Systems and Bachelor of Science in Data Science at the undergraduate level, and the Master of Information Technology at the postgraduate level. The last is fitting for those looking to gain advanced technical IT skills and expertise in computing, cybersecurity, distributed computing, spatial information, human-computer interaction or artificial intelligence.
Research degrees are also offered. Those with a deep interest in computing and information systems, and who possess a strong foundation in the computing disciplines through previous study, can apply for the Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees.
The industry-based learning option, ENGR90033 Internship, is a chance for students to gain industry experience. By working with its wide variety of industry partners, students earn credit towards their degree, get an introduction to workplace culture, and strengthen their employability. The internship – which includes seminars, teamwork, time management and workplace networking – will be under the supervision of both a member of academic staff and an external supervisor at the host organisation.
Building on 40 years of success, Hong Kong PolyU’s Department of Computing is now an international name, known for performing world-class research and nurturing professional talent to support society’s advancement.
It’s ranked 51-100 globally in the computer science subject rankings from QS, this is a promising place for prospective students to receive high-quality, all-round education in ICT. The BSc(Hons) in Information Technology emphasises the integration of computing devices, systems and software to design and implement IT architectures for advanced applications. Students will learn about hardware and software engineering principles as well as system modelling, which allows them to develop integrated technologies for IT applications.
The Master of Science in Information Technology focuses on three important areas of information technology: Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data and Financial Technology (FinTech) – all of which are areas in big demand by Hong Kong business, industry, government and society.
All MSc students can apply for the Postgraduate Internship Programme, which provides students with the opportunity to work up to one-third of the normal duration of the programme study period to gain working experience in Hong Kong. There are also programming workshops, as well as talks, seminars and forums, such as Cyber Security, FinTech application in the banking and insurance industries, ePayment services, and Initial Coin Offering by renowned speakers.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International