2 July 2013 · Absolute IT

Thinking of up-skilling or embarking on a technology degree? For some it can be a hard choice to make, particularly for those who are yet to enter the workforce, and are unsure of how much value a degree holds versus hands on experience in the IT Industry.

Our 2013 Remuneration Report indicates that to begin with, it’s not very much. In your first two or three years in the workforce, the difference in pay between an IT professional with a degree and without one isn’t much different.

It may even appear that those without a degree are climbing the career ladder faster; they’ve been getting hands on experience while others have spent that time studying at university.

However, it is later on in your career when having invested in a degree pays off. When you have more than 10 years’ experience in the IT industry, you could be earning as much as 26% more than your colleague without a degree.

To put that into tangible figures, an IT professional who has worked in the IT industry for 15 years earns a median base salary of $95K. Those with a degree earn on average $25K more per year.

Considering that a Bachelor of Technology takes around four years to complete, and an average students borrow $7630 per year (Stats NZ 2010 figures).  Over the period of your career your ability to earn 26% more would have easily reimbursed this cost.

IT professionals with a degree at also significantly more likely to move into executive roles, with 44% of IT professionals with 10 plus years’ experience managing more than five staff, compared with only 30% of those without a degree.

We believe that as an industry we [the IT industry] need to support and encourage the growth of the next generation of technology innovators, developers, programmers and support staff.

Having been in the industry for over 20 years Grant Burley, Absolute IT Director can see the long term benefits of undertaking a degree. “As the industry continues to evolve and grow, the demand of university educated tech graduates also develops. We have a generation of digital thinkers exiting high school, a tech industry short on talent and a great opportunity to connect the two.”

The war for top talent in the New Zealand ICT industry continues to heat up, driven by the explosion of new technologies, the success of our world leading tech businesses and the constant array of start-ups popping up each month.

As the industry continues to evolve and grow, the demand for tech graduates also develops. A tech degree can therefore be considered as a long term investment in these conditions.

With 75% of ICT employers planning to hire additional staff this year, 38% due to new projects and an industry setting itself up to be number one for GDP contribution by 2017, it is a great industry to align with. For a few years, it was in a quiet period in terms of innovation.  However, today we’re seeing it being viewed for its potential to revolutionise a company.

While many of the tech job titles of the future are yet to be discover, it is also key to note the skills New Zealand ICT employers say will be on the future hot list; cloud, mobile app developer, integration, business intelligence, security and businesses analyst (according to the Absolute IT Employer Insight report 2013).