Thursday, January 19, 2006

Article Mention: "Fall in IT zeal softens criteria for uni entry"

I saw this article called "Fall in IT zeal softens criteria for uni entry"
in the Brisbane newspaper "The Courier Mail".

(Note: 'OP' means overall position: "Overall Positions, or OPs, provide a statewide rank order of students (on a 1 to 25 scale, 1 being the highest) based on students’ achievement in Authority subjects studied for the Queensland Senior Certificate.")

I have made my own comments in the comments section.

I have only included the IT relevant part of the article, the first half.


Fall in IT zeal softens criteria for uni entry
By Chris Griffith

A DECLINE in applications for information technology study has caused a softening in course entry requirements at universities.

In a trend defying the accelerating interest in the Internet and communications technology, the past two years have seen a drop in school leavers applying to study IT as a first choice – the biggest drop in any area of study in Queensland this year.

In just two years, applicants statewide opting for IT courses as their first choice has dropped from 2181 (4 per cent of applicants), to 1763 last year (3.4 per cent), and this year to 2.9 per cent. This represents a drop of 31 per cent in two years.

IT covers computer science and information systems.

The decline in interest is in line with industry concern about a drop in local IT employment opportunities caused by a flood of overseas-trained IT workers – prompting the Australian Computer Society to arrange talks with Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone to press for government cuts in quotas of these workers.

The drop has caused a slight softening in requirements to enter IT courses, with entry to the University of Queensland's Bachelor of Information Technology course requiring an OP of 12 instead of 10. QUT's OP requirement is 13, Griffith University 16, and Central Queensland University 19.

The big winner for this year's applicants to the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre is creative arts: dance, drama, film and television, graphic design, communication and media. In a year the proportion of first-choice applications rose from 10.8 to 12.1 per cent.


At 10:59 AM, Blogger Colin Sheppard said...

I have heard how this decline has been going on in Australia since 2000, and I have read elsewhere about similar patterns in the USA and some parts of Asia. I presume its true in most places around the world, perhaps with the exception of emerging economies like India and China.

I suspect the decline in popularity might have something to do with:

* Outsourcing of IT Jobs
* Importing of Labor
* 70% of IT Project failing fundamentally (not within the Requirments Scope, Over budget or not completed with Schedule.)

Actually, I suspect almost all IT Projects are 'failures' in this regard, but its not admitted, making it a 'unprofessional' profession relative to other true professions. Depends on how the risk is managed. Its really another topic, but I would recommend reading "After the Gold Rush: Creating a True Profession of Software Engineering (Best Practices)".

Given the geographic context, I have seen that the cost of living has gone up considerably over 10 years ago, but the IT Salaries are about the same. Maybe IT is less appealing there too!

It a situation very different to the 1990's when I was in University, where IT Courses were over subscribed. In 1996, if I remember correctly, there were far more second year students (nearly 500 odd) than third year students (about 300 odd), which lead to a stretching of lab facilities and tutorials.

If IT is now a undesirably preference, I wonder what quality colleagues we will have in 3 to 5 years time?

At 8:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Understandable. When I was at university in the early 70s, electronics (which I did) was all the rage.

Things go in and out of fashion and I'd guess the negative publicity of the dot-bomb has affected the popularity of computing.

My son is a big user (online gaming, mostly, but also see his sites such as and but has balked when I tried to show him how to code. He wants to be a lawyer. Oh well, at least it's still something in which can make a realistic living.

The good news for current computerists is continuing employment, higher salaries and less of those pesky grads full of new ideas!


At 8:03 AM, Blogger Noons said...

70%? More like 85% from what I've seen. But we should outsource and offshore more, that's proved to be a real champion of a strategy!

Oh hang on: the 85% were all offshored...

And they wonder why people don't bother with IT courses?


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