Meeting the Needs of Industry
Author: Australian Computer Society
The growth of the information technology industry and its expected far-reaching effects on the global environment mean that businesses of both today and the future will need to maintain more and more skilled IT professionals to cope with the ever increasing impact of technology on our lives.
Working with computers and information technology (IT) can be both exciting and challenging. Computers are concerned primarily with the processing of information, which is found in many forms, including information required for business transactions, booking seats for travel or entertainment, information on materials and products made during the manufacturing processes, or information required to monitor and control the operation of complex satellite systems. Computers also may be used to control devices that help the physically handicapped, or to map networks, pipelines or electricity wires, or to provide detailed maps of land use from information collected by satellite observation. An important new application is the development of 'expert' systems, which utilise the knowledge obtained from an expert to advise other persons what should be done. The effective use of information has become crucial in the management of most businesses and industries. Consequently, information is now regarded as a major resource,just as people are an important resource in most enterprises.
IT professionals have a crucial and challenging part to play in the effective application of computing technology to achieve effective processing of information. The ever-growing list of activities to which computing is applied - and the importance of information processing generally - have created excellent employment opportunities for those who obtain appropriate qualifications in IT.
Most professional IT work can be classified into three broad areas: information
systems, computer system engineering, and computer science. Individual working in the information systems area is engaged with designing and implementing systems which collect, validate, store and report information from customers
or other business transactions.
IT professionals in the computer system engineering field are involved in the ap-
plication of computers in a wide range of industrial control problems. Computer
systems of this type require the design of special computer hardware from supplied components, and the writing of specialised software to interact with the industrial control system. The third main area of interest is in the field of computer science, where gr~duates may undertake research into the design of specialised hardware or software.
Although the major tasks involved in IT require graduates, there are supporting
positions at a paraprofessional level, which may require specific technical train-
ing in some aspect of IT and related subjects. Appropriate certificate and associ-
ate diploma courses are available through TAFE (Technical Further Education) colleges in Australia, including positions such as computer operations management or data control clerks.
Courses in Australia
A person interested in business applications of IT should take a degree in infor-
mation systems. While most of these courses are three years in duration, a few
of them include one or more periods of industrial experience, which may extend
the course to more than three years duration for an ordinary degree. A compu-
ter systems engineer, who must understand both the hardware and the software
aspects of computer technology, requires a four year degree in computing or computer systems engineering. Computer science degrees, either three years for an ordinary degree or four years for an honours degree, prepare students for a career in computer science. Associate diploma courses, or two year full time study are available in many TAFE colleges and some universities. Four year honour courses are available in IT in many universities, as are Masters or doctorate level courses, for those wishing to study IT at a higher level.
The Australian Computer Society (ACS) is the professional association in Australia for those working the field of information technology. The ACS acts as the voice and guardian of standards and ethics for the computer profession. Currently, over 14,000 IT professionals have joined the Society to enjoy many benefits that membership affords, including keeping the knowledge up to date in a rapidly changing environment adding practical skills to existing skills, challenging ideas and concepts, enabling participation in peer group activities, and providing opportunities for extending professional contact and net works.
Admission to the ACS grades of membership requires a person to have appropriate qualifications and experience, as well as a commitment to abide by the Society's Code of Ethics. There are ACS accredited tertiary courses in Australia. Also, ACS has its own certification program, and offers examinations in Information Technology through Australia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sri Lanka and other centres by arrangement. Further information about the Society, certification, accredited tertiary course and examination is available at ACS's website (www.acs.org.au) .
Author Australian Computer Society
Australian Computer Society
160 Clarence Street
SYDNEY NSW 2000
Ph: (02) 9299 3666
Fax (02) 9299 3997
Home Page: http://www.acs.org.au