The booming Australian IT industry presents endless opportunities for those living and working in the land down under. 

But while the nation is on track to meeting the joint goal of the Australian government and the Tech Council of Australia (TCA) of having 1.2 million IT roles by 2030, filling them presents another challenge.  

An extra 653,000 people are needed in the IT workforce to fill these positions, requiring an uplift of nearly 200,000 above business-as-usual, as the industry continues on its growth trajectory at nearly double the average rate of all jobs in the Australian economy.   

Research from the TCA confirms the potential of IT roles to transform the lives of Australians as a driving force for the economy into the future. However, barriers to realising the opportunity of this goal include a lack of awareness of tech jobs, gaps in training products and pathways, limited representation and the misconceptions that stem from this, and a limited talent pool.  

According to Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) 2023 Digital Skills report, if Australia is to not only have 1.2 million IT roles by 2030 but fill them too, government and businesses need to continue investing in skills development to overcome these barriers. 

A foot in the door

As Australasia’s largest homegrown tech company, Datacom is committed to fulfilling its responsibility in attaining the goal of having 1.2 million IT roles by 2030, says Managing Director for Australia, Alex Coates.  

“We are actively building career pathways that introduce more people to the possibilities offered by a career in tech and support the success of our people.” 

Photograph of Alex Coates, Datacom's Managing Director for Australia.  

For those looking to embark on a career in IT, Datacom offers four key early careers pathways to reflect the diverse backgrounds of talent entering the industry. These include work experience placements, traineeships, internships, and graduate programmes.  

Industry partnerships and programmes reinforce these pathways and provide unique points of entry to them, with Datacom welcoming career starters into the business through relationships with TAFE, RMIT, UNSW, Indigenous Development Employment Programme, MEGT, and more. 

For Navneet Kaur, MEGT's Digital Cadetship – a 14-week training and work experience program designed specifically for women from under-represented groups who are undergoing a career transition or returning to work – proved to be a perfect fit when she migrated from India with a background in telecommunications. 

“It’s been an amazing journey for me, I’ve had support from everyone – my manager and team have always been there for me. The skills I’ve gained at Datacom align really well with my Cadetship studies and I’m looking forward to pursuing a career in Cloud computing,” says Navneet, who has secured a permanent role as a Cloud Platforms Specialist since completing her Cadetship as an intern. 

In the past year, 194 team members like Navneet have joined the business through Datacom’s early careers and partner pathways – and the business is always looking to bring on more. 

Opportunity for all 

Pathways created by initiatives like Datacom’s early careers programmes and industry partnerships have a fundamental role to play in addressing Australia’s IT talent shortage.  

Microsoft’s Break Down the Barriers report found that hiring from and investing in alternative pathways into tech could not only unlock a more diverse and representative workforce, but in doing so, also achieve Australia’s goal of filling 1.2 million tech jobs. 

An infographic displaying how an diverse untapped workforce can resolve tech worker shortage.

However, getting people into these pathways presents a challenge of its own due to misconceptions about what a career in tech looks like, with 45% of students not being taught about digital careers in school.  

One common misconception preventing people from pursuing IT careers is that doing so is reserved for those with technical education or experience.  

While technical expertise is certainly sought after, less and non-technical roles in the industry are also in need of talent. Business analysts, user experience designers, product managers, and project managers are all non-technical occupations experiencing high shortage levels across the industry. 

Soft skills such as teamwork and collaboration are amongst those most sought after across both technical and non-technical roles in high shortage.  

A graph depicting the most sought-after skills for tech jobs.

Ria Cagguauan landed a role as a Go-To-Market Coordinator in Datacom’s graduate programme when she fixed an IT issue while hosting a business event as an event supervisor at a restaurant and was subsequently asked to join the team. 

As a recent Tourism and Business graduate, transitioning to IT was something she hadn’t considered, and her first instinct when she heard of Datacom was to think of data, IT, technology – which scared her at first, she says. “But you have such a great network of support at Datacom - people will happily explain anything to you, they’re there to help.” 

Oftentimes, people like Ria who enter the IT industry through a non-technical pathway will gain technical skills on their journey, and even go on to upskill and reskill as they explore their interests and technology evolves.  

Getting a foot in the door is just the first step on that journey, says Alex Coates. “Opportunities in tech and in our business are open to everyone. Datacom’s early career pathways are designed to support our people to move right through the company and build long lasting, meaningful careers with us.” 

Wrap-around support 

When it comes to ensuring the success of Datacom’s early career starters, providing support throughout their respective journeys has proven crucial.  

TCA’s research affirms that gaps in training products and pathways into tech jobs are creating a significant barrier when it comes to achieving the 1.2 million goal, with course content, student experience, and attraction of workers lacking. 

For Datacom, this means not only providing a pathway for progression, but also a sense of fulfilment achieved through an environment designed to empower. 

“There’s a culture of collaboration, learning, and trying your best, and I feel that I’m now a part of it,” says Brock Evans, who progressed through Datacom’s graduate programme to stay on permanently as an Associate Vendor Alliance Manager.  

Brock says he couldn’t have asked for more throughout his journey so far with Datacom. “When I came into the team, everyone was great, asking me what I wanted to do and learn, and what I needed; they were happy to teach me – and they still are.”  

Ashley Dayton, a Graduate on Datacom’s Business Operations team, seconds Brock’s experience, and says ‘the wrap-around support has been fundamental’ in giving him a real sense of belonging in the team.  

A photograph of Brock Evans

“When I first joined, the grad cohort went through the week-long ‘Talent Elevator’ training programme which really set us up for success – getting to know others who are sharing a similar experience, it’s reassuring to know you’re not alone.”  

Making a tangible difference

With technology now a cornerstone of modern life, harnessing it to make an impact is a strong drawcard of the industry when it comes to seeking fulfilment. 

From creating safer spaces for children online, to helping kidney transplant recipients find a donor match, the opportunities to achieve this as a member of the Datacom team are seemingly endless thanks to the unlimited potential for good of IT.  

Alex Coates says focusing on the impact that technology can have is a source of inspiration for the more than 3000 people working in Datacom’s teams across Australian cities and regions. 

What really motivates me is when we deploy technology to solve challenges or create new opportunities, and then we see the impact that has for our communities.” 

A slide providing an overview of Datacom - our people, partners and customers.

Jack Sambell applied to a number of businesses for his internship through MGET’s Traineeship programme, before “falling in love with Datacom,” he says.  

“I've been really fortunate - the team that I'm with, the people around me, have all been really supportive.” 

Jack is completing a diploma of IT at the same time as his internship, which he says is “really fun” because a lot of what he is picking up while working relates to his study. 

“I get to put my learning into practice and my practice into my learning.” 

Jack appreciates that every day has a bit of challenge. "It's not monotonous; we’re solving problems all the time, and doing a whole variety of work, so I’m loving that,” he says. 

But the best – and most fulfilling part – for him so far is seeing how big of value the work he and his team are doing has to the community.

"I know that what I’m doing has an impact, and I think that’s really delightful.” 

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