Quick ITP update and upcoming events
It's been a couple of very busy weeks at ITP. One activity last week included heading along to the Whitireia and Weltec Final Project Showcase for IT students, and as always, I came away really impressed. Some thoughts below, including some general ponderings about tertiary education.
Also, don't forget that nominations for ITP President and Deputy President are currently open, closing this Friday. You can nominate yourself or someone else you think would be good to lead the National Board and drive strategy.
Whitireia/Weltec Final Project Showcase
I headed up to Whitireia and Weltec's joint Wellington campus last week to check out their final year industry projects, and make a few comments on their transition into industry.
As always, it was so good to see so many and varied industry projects. There was a real variation of projects - from job brokers to Covid-19 trackers to storage management to games and everything in-between. And it was great to see how the final-year students have managed to take the theory and apply it to real-world practical projects - awesome.
I spoke mainly about the transition to industry and, as well as congratulations on reaching the end of their qualifications, the need in our industry to be life-long learners. Education doesn't stop when you graduate - that's just the first step.
I also talked about being true to yourself. And the fact that most of us in this industry are faced with ethical situations almost every day and what differentiates a professional is that a professional takes the right path, not always the easy path.
During the showcase I also helped judge the "best in show" project. This wasn't necessarily the best technical project or even with the best outcome, but the project team who demonstrated it best. This was tough, but we were very happy to award it to Amarpreet and Harmandeep Singh for their Covid-10 Tracker Dashboard. They were incredibly enthusiastic and clearly loved their project with an infectious passion - so well done.
Wherever you are in NZ, most tertiary providers do a similar Showcase event and industry is invited. Check out when your local one is and head along - it's great to support their work. I usually get along to as many as I can, although travel is still somewhat limited so I'm not taking in as many this year.
Some related ponderings about education
As is usually the case when you get in and see what NZ's tertiary institutions are actually doing "on the ground", I came away from the showcase, and discussions with final-year students, really impressed.
Tertiary education, especially polytech tertiary education, gets a raw deal at times, with a very vocal minority in our industry saying that what tertiary providers are teaching isn't relevant or doesn't provide the right skills for industry. It seems a very kiwi thing, knocking education. But with some exceptions, and as a general statement, it's simply not true.
While things can always be improved, as with every other profession, you can't expect graduates to know everything on day one - which is why graduate programmes and apprenticeships etc are so important. Degrees aren't training, they're education. Add some training on tools and application when entering the industry, and you have an incredibly capable, skilled and knowledgeable person providing significant value.
So to be clear, the training sits on top of the education. Education isn't training.
But it needs industry to do its part, on industry entry. Again, this is no different from every other industry and profession; it's the same for lawyers, accountants, builders, electricians, architects and everyone else. But we're not very good at that part - in fact the evidence shows clearly that our industry would rather just hire in people with the skills from overseas than invest in domestic talent development.
One of the silver linings of Covid-19 is it's making people think about this differently. The immigration tap isn't completely off, but it's close to it. Now don't get me wrong - immigration is A Very Good Thing™, but it should be to supplement our domestic talent development, not to replace it.
But now, many in our industry are becoming more focused on helping develop local talent and that's a hugely good thing.
Not all degrees are equal of course, which is why ITP implemented internationally-aligned industry-based Degree Accreditation a few years ago - to recognise NZ degree programmes that provide a really good pathway into our industry, alongside those from other countries.
The Whitireia/Weltec joint degree mentioned above, which many of these students were completing, is accredited under this programme and it's easy to see why: there's a strong focus on the core skills our industry needs (such as communication, team work, complex problem solving and project management) mixed with good professional and technical proficiencies. Excellent.
Now none of this is to say that those without a degree can't flourish in our industry - they absolutely can and do. There are lots of pathways in and they're all good. But the skills, competencies and knowledge students gain from industry-accredited degrees and qualifications are relevant, and accredited degree continue to be a great pathway into our industry for students.
I should also note that we accredit degrees on a not-for-profit basis only, on behalf of industry.
Check out the list of all degrees currently accredited as a good pathway into industry.
New Technology on RNZ Nine to Noon
Last Thursday I talked on RNZ's Nine to Noon about:
- Zoom's leap in encryption, after initial wobbles at the beginning of the year's lockdowns.
- Fibre getting faster - even though it doesn't seem like that long ago that we were all connecting on 56k modems. So how fast is fast enough? And,
- EV batteries have always been a weak point, but Tesla has had a breakthrough.
You can listen to the segment here.
REMINDER: Nominations open for ITP President and Deputy President
Nominations are currently open for ITP's national President and Deputy President. Incumbents Mike Dennehy and Anthony Dowling reach their term limits this year so a new President and DP will be appointed by our National Board in December.
The ITP President chairs the National Board, the governance body responsible for the overall strategic direction of the organisation, as well as General Meetings and other activities. It's a crucially important role, as we need a strong and functional National Board to ensure we have a strong and functional organisation.
The Deputy President assists the President and, along with the President and CEO, forms the Board's Executive - to deal with board-level matters between formal board meetings. The DP is usually involved in the subsidiary company, but this is by convention rather than policy.
Prior National Board experience is preferred but not essential, however there is an expectation that the President will have had prior governance experience.
Under ITP's Constitution, the National Board is elected by the members, with the Board then appointing the President and Deputy President at their last meeting of the year. This is being held early December.
So we're now calling for nominations for these two roles.
To nominate yourself or someone else, please send an email to [email protected] with:
- Name of nominee
- Member number (if known)
- Position being nominated for (eg President, Deputy President, both)
- Details about applicant - eg short statement on suitability plus CV or link to LinkedIn
The President's initial term is for 2 years, with eligibility for election for up to 2 additional terms of 1 year each. The Deputy President's initial term is 1 year, with up to 4 additional terms of 1 year each. Any full Member or Fellow is eligible to be President or Deputy President.
Note that the National Board is able to appoint any eligible member, whether nominated or not. However we run a nomination process to identify those who are keen to be considered for these roles.
Nominations close at 5pm Friday 20th November 2020 and don't need a seconder.
Previous ITP Live Webinar:
Down-to-Earth Leadership Skills for Tech Geniuses
ITP's Auckland Branch recently hosted leadership guru Mark Greaney for a live webinar on down-to-earth leadership skills for tech geniuses. And non-geniuses too :).
He talked about an age-old problem in our industry - people either being promoted to leadership roles, or taking leadership roles when founding tech companies, based on the fact that they're great at a technical role. However that often doesn't translate to great leadership skills.
The good news is, there are lots of practical, down-to-Earth tools you can use and Mark ran through them then taking your questions - it was a great session!
Unfortunately the planned facilitator was unwell so I facilitated this one.
ITP members can watch it free here
Exclusive ITP member offers
We're really excited to have a bunch of new deals and offers available for ITP members, thanks to some of our awesome Corporate Partners. Check them out on the ITP Member Offers page.
This includes huge offers on tech-related courses from Yoobee, NZSE and ITP, plus excellent offers from GoWirelessNZ, EscrowNZ, The IT Psychiatrist, insurance offerings, events and conferences and more.
Check out all of the ITP Member Offers
Offer of the week:
ITP members and partners exclusively receive no setup costs and 20% off the first year for new agreements.
If you're an ITP member or corporate partner, check them out here
123Tech National Finals
We're really excited about the Tahi Rua Toru Tech National Finals this year!
As most will know, Tahi Rua Toru Tech (123Tech) is NZ's in-school project-based digital tech challenge, with teams of students across New Zealand using digital tech to tackle a problem in their local school or community.
The challenge is co-funded by industry and Government, and many thousands of students have taken part over the last three years to help usher in the Digital Technologies curriculum.
Given Covid and its impact on travel and other activities, we've opted for a livestreamed broadcast event rather than the face-to-face finals event this year. While on one hand it'll be sad not to welcome all the finalists to Wellington, it gives us the opportunity to put together an amazing showcase of both school student work, and our industry.
The finals event will be in the afternoon of 10th December, so keep this free from 2pm. As well as announcing and celebrating the national winners live, the event will feature virtual tours and interviews with some of the most innovative tech companies in New Zealand and quite a few surprises!
Previous webinars - all available free to members
All past webinars are available on the ITP Video Library for members:
- Down-to-Earth Leadership Skills for Tech Geniuses
- How technology enabled the health response
- How Covid is impacting the Gaming Industry
- Creating a plan for Digital Skills
- Cybersecurity and the recent attacks
- Tech legal update - what you need to know
- An afternoon with Nanogirl
- Taking kiwi tech to the post-Covid world
- Tech startups in a post-Covid world
- The IRD Transformation
- Digital Government and Covid-19
- Tech and the Covid-19 recovery
- Privacy in the days of Covid-19
- Leading Wellness in uncertain times
- Meet the ITP Workshop Presenters
- The data behind Covid19
- Innovation in tough times: Don't Hunker in the Bunker
- Covid19: Tech and the Law
- Cybersecurity from home
- Clarke Ching on disaster innovation
- CITPNZ and CTech: The What, How and Why
- Working Remotely - How to get through
Save the Date - ITx 2020/2021
After postponing ITx this year due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, we are beyond excited to announce the dates for ITx 2021 - 3-5 May 2021 at TSB Arena in Wellington.
ITx is a collaborative conference, with around 12 tech organisations working together to make it happen. We work with the other organisations to bring all of these communities together.
As always the conference focuses on bringing tech professionals, decision-makers, leaders and academics together under one roof - it really is where industry and education come together to learn, engage and network. We will also be celebrating 60 years of IT Professionals NZ!
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