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Tech boot camps to beat the talent shortage

Peter Griffin, Editor. 10 May 2022, 9:42 am
Tech boot camps to beat the talent shortage

Auckland University of Technology and the Institute of Data have joined forces to offer boot camps in software engineering, data science and cybersecurity to help Kiwis upskill for high-demand tech roles.

The new courses get underway as the opening of borders look to finally free up access to skilled migrants seeking visas to work here, but a potential brain drain as people seek to return to their home country or pursue opportunities overseas.

Just how the market for tech workers will recalibrate is yet to be seen, but late last year there were around 2,000 open job positions in the tech sector at any one time and employers have fingered recruiting the right people as their biggest challenge in a number of surveys. The Institute of Data's job board currently lists 3,000 open job positions, though not all are tech-related.

The three-month full-time or six-month part-time courses from AUT and IoD won't immediately help solve the shortage at the top of the market, where experienced software architects and cloud and AI specialists are in short supply.

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No IT background required

But they do serve to play an important role in helping people from other industries reskill in IT-related fields and offer students a rapid path into the industry.

"We've got global businesses such as Invenco and Navman, based in Auckland that are trying to grow, but they need talent and they need it now," says IoD's chief executive, Peter Harpur. 

"Enterprises, such as Westpac and Deloitte, are also struggling to implement transformative IT projects due to lack of domestic talent and border closures," he added.

The IoD has operations in New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and the US and claims to "focus on accelerated workforce training for the industries of the future, namely cyber security, big data, artificial intelligence and the digital economy".

It has pursued its partnership model for tech boot camp overseas and touts a "93% job outcome success rate within 180 days of graduation".

Suitable candidates for the boot camps include people from both non-IT and IT backgrounds at graduate through to mature age levels. Data science and artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and software engineering, the three specialities offered in the boot camps, are widely seen as the most transformative areas of tech currently.

"There is a gap in the market for mid-career and entry-level professionals to access accelerated pathways into employment and lifelong learning. These programmes offer the practical skills required in the workplace so that participants can kick start their journey and take their career to the next level," says Roopak Sinha, Associate Head of School, Learning and Teaching in the School of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences at AUT.

AUT joins Unitec, Ara Institute of Canterbury and many other tertiary providers in ramping up their short courses to upskill people for the tech industry without requiring them to undertake a diploma or degree qualification. AUT is running a series of free seminars introducing its boot camps.

Such courses are seen as key to tackling the domestic skills shortage. IT Professionals NZ and the Skills Steering Group are currently seeking your views on the most effective ways to upskill and reskill people in the digital technology sector. You can read the consultation report Upskilling and Reskilling in the Digital Technology Sector here or offer your feedback via the survey by May 22.



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