Demand for technology professionals is on the rise – and has been for several years now. And as if that weren’t an enticing enough reason to consider pursuing a career in a high-tech industry, surveys also suggest that technology professionals are demanding higher paycheques than ever before. This makes it an exciting time to be enrolled at an institute of technology like the Ara Institute of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand.

As the largest institute of technology on New Zealand’s South Island, Ara is one of the first places that employers in Australasia look when searching for candidates to assume challenging roles as system analysts, network engineers, software and web developers, and more.

Ara is a potent symbol of the vibrant and creative energy that has emerged in Christchurch over the past few years. Employers are keenly aware that Ara graduates have a strong competitive advantage over their peers. There are many important variables contributing to this advantage – from innovation in teaching to a firm grounding in real-world applications.



Tech firms value the creative advantage of Ara graduates

Employers in high-tech industries are more eager than ever to hire talented individuals with a flair for creativity. While IT tasks are rightly viewed as highly technical and requiring a great deal of expertise, creativity has a strong role to play as well.

For every server-side line of code that a company creates, there’s an all-encompassing creative vision that informs it. The most sought-after employees are those who can easily grasp the big picture, and then create innovative solutions that serve that end goal in new and unexpected ways. In that sense, the right candidate for the job is someone who can see beyond the technical aspects of the task at hand.

Christchurch has long been known as a hub of creativity, but this city’s flair for innovation and the arts has come into sharper focus in recent years. As The New York Times points out, Christchurch has gone through a creative rebirth in the years following the 2011 earthquake that rocked its city centre. The local community and students who live here have banded together and done more than rebuild the city they love. They’ve reinvented it.

“The revitalisation of Christchurch presents unique opportunities to be involved in projects and to fast track careers as the city rebuilds,” says Ara Chief Executive Kay Giles.

Ara students are playing an active role in the reinvention of Christchurch – and the creative energy they bring to the table is inspiring.  Local and international employers are aware of this, and they’re eager to recruit the same calibre of graduates for their own projects and campaigns.



Employers recognise that Ara graduates are work-ready

It’s easy to get caught up in the academic aspects of higher education – to the extent that graduates of many universities and technical institutes emerge with big ambitions, a strong grasp of theoretical concepts and relatively little hands-on experience. The Ara Institute of Canterbury’s response to this is a strong grounding in real-world problem solving.

The instructors at Ara are acutely aware that a well-rounded education goes beyond theory to include practical applications. With that in mind, the coursework here takes a strong hands-on approach to learning. By the time you graduate you will have had ample opportunity to develop the skills that employers in your chosen profession are looking for.

Developing these skills begins in state-of-the-art facilities such as the soon-to-open Engineering and Architectural Studies facility, Kahukura. The institute also encourages students to get involved in cutting-edge research both at the institute and through industry partnerships. This allows Ara to play an even more important role in the community whilst simultaneously equipping its students for real-world success once they graduate.



Employers recognise the value of an Ara degree

Some of the most exciting career opportunities for graduates are found right on the doorstep of Ara. Formed in the aftermath of the earthquake, Christchurch’s Enterprise Precinct Innovation Centre (EPIC) was originally created to address the short-term need for commercial space while the city was being rebuilt. But it quickly became evident that an innovative space like this had a more permanent role to play in Christchurch.

EPIC is a hub of innovation, technology and creativity. It connects a wide range of high-tech professionals working as game designers, IT trainers, technology service providers and software and network developers. Tenants include several internationally renowned tech companies. SLI Systems (an e-commerce specialist), Cerebral Fix (game developers) and Wynyard Group (an advanced crime analytics software developer) are all on site.

Upwards of 300 professionals work here, including many Ara graduates. The employers at EPIC understand the value of a degree from Ara, and they intentionally look to the institute to fill new and emerging roles within their organisations.

Furthermore, EPIC is a prime candidate for research and internships. Students at Ara can get involved with high-profile assignments working directly with some of the top tech companies in the world. By the time they graduate, their CV and real-world work experience makes them a welcome prospect for the top technology employers around the globe.



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All images courtesy of Ara Institute of Canterbury