21 October 2015 · Absolute IT
Deloitte have just announced their Fast 50 Regional winners, and unsurprisingly tech companies (and craft beer breweries) feature prominently amongst the category winners. In fact, software development and tech companies account for 16 of the 50. And of these, plenty are focused on amazing software development. A few of those companies listed that are focused on cloud based software and software development are:
- Area360 – personalised, meaningful mobile experiences based in Auckland
- Harmoney – P2P lending platform based in Auckland
- Magiq Software – business performance software with offices in Auckland and Napier
- MyWave – digital personal assistant platform
- Quotient – online intuitive quoting software based in Hamilton
- Vend – cloud based point of sale and retail platform based in Auckland
- Touch Tech, web and mobile app developers based in Wellington
- Timely – scheduling and appointment software for business in service industry with offices in Dunedin and Wellington
- SMTP2GO – email service provider with offices in Christchurch
- Snowball Effect – crowdfunding platform based in Auckland
- Spotlight reporting – Cloud based, intelligence reporting organisation, Spotlight Reporting. Based in Wellington.
- Storbie – ecommerce platform based in Wellington
New Zealand is internationally renowned for its entrepreneurial, creative and innovative businesses. And as we can see from the Fast 50 list alone, we certainly aren’t slowing down when it comes to investing in tech, e-commerce and software development.
Overall, New Zealand is ranked 18th in the Global Innovation Index and is seen as one of the leaders in the digital revolution.
Software development skills in hot demand
According to figures from itsalaries.co.nz, software developers in New Zealand can expect to start on a median base salary of around $53,000 (this will obviously vary slightly, depending on your location in NZ). Median base salaries also climb at a staggering rate early on, increasing 42% after four years experience to $75,000 and then a further 21% to $91,000 by 9-10 years experience.
The average age of software developers in NZ is younger than other skill sets. With over 40% of skilled IT professionals in this field being aged between 25-34 years.
Why this is important?
We’ve blogged about how to attract and hold onto Generation Y tech professionals before. Key take-outs to keep in mind are that Gen Y want flexible working hours, career development advice/opportunities and good salary packages. Jumping from job to job isn’t foreign to them, particularly if they’re not challenged, don’t feel like they’ve got a good balance between work hard/play hard, or think their skills are worth more elsewhere.
Their skills are in high demand and if they’re networked well, they’ll not only have recruiters offering them new opportunities, but other business leaders, exciting tech start-ups and your competitors.
Figures from a recent Absolute IT job seeker survey found that 76% of NZ software developers have been in their current role 0-3 years and less than 10% are hanging around for 5+ years. These figures are significantly different when compared with the rest of the tech sector where 68% have been in their current role 0-3 years and over 15% fit into the 5+ year’s bracket.
Getting a software development job
We recently had a chat with Sam, a software developer working in the NZ justice sector about finding the right IT job. With over 10 year IT experience, the last four as a Senior Software Developer Sam has put his computer science degree to good use.
Getting a software development job isn’t necessarily the first port of call for someone starting their IT career but for Sam it was something he was always interested in when he was younger so the decision was easy. But what got him there?
What sort of training or education do you have in the area?
Sam: I went straight from high school into University and a degree in computer science. I started off doing some support roles – getting involved in IT in general and then I got a job doing software development. Since then I have done a few other qualifications – learning more about specific languages like Java.
Sticking with an IT career
Finding the right job is never easy, and what keeps you on one career path and not another can be the simple things: flexible working hours, a short commute. But what are the benefits to a job in software development?
What is the favourite part of your job?
Sam: Most of my work is project focused, it has a clearly defined start, middle and end and when you’re finished you’ve helped produce something tangible you can see it in use and helping people.
The right skills for a developer job
A developer spends a lot of their time writing code, or software, in different languages. The most common languages are .NET and Java, although there are also database developers, for example Oracle and SQL, and web developers use things like HTML, PHP, Ruby on Rails and Drupal. But what are some of the soft skills that can help foster software developer talent?
What are some of the skills that make a great developer?
Sam: You’ve certainly got to have a good eye for detail and a logical way of thinking things through. You’ve got to be methodical and be able to sit down and look at a problem and think it through. You need determination, so when something isn’t working, you need to keep going at it and trying to fix it, often over and over and over again, making slight tweaks and changes. Problem solving skills is a biggie, which is why having some type of IT support background can be really helpful.
What would be your advice for someone wanting to get into software development?
Sam: If you’re in school, a university degree is a great place to start I think. Otherwise getting a qualification in programming languages is a great help and obviously some experience. Getting your foot in the door with an entry level IT support role is where I started and worked for me.
A day in the life of a software developer
What’s a day in the life of you in your job?
Sam: I’m always pretty project focused, so each morning I come into work, picking up where I was the previous day and start problem solving – getting my head back into what I was trying to do at the end of yesterday and writing code literally – sitting at a desk writing computer code. When you hit a problem you need to take advice from others, your colleagues are hugely important when solving problems, because there is always multiple ways to solve problems in software development, so you need to solve it in the best way possible, which isn’t always the easiest way.
Do you work in teams?
Sam: On some projects I’m the only software developer and I’ll be working in a team with a business analyst, who will be analysing what the business requirements are and telling me what to do, a tester, who literally tests my code and sometimes a project manager. The analyst work for me is really important because they say – right l’ve looked at what the business do, they currently have a system that works like this, the new system needs to do this. For some projects there’s five or six of us writing bits of code and we use Agile methods, which means writing a bit of code – getting it tested, writing a little bit of code – getting it tested – building small building blocks as opposed to writing a huge project for three months and then getting it all tested in one go.
Are there any exciting projects you’ve worked on that you can tell me about?
Sam: I can’t give away any details but I’ve worked on a wide variety of projects encompassing all different parts of the organisation which has been interesting and rewarding. It’s great being able to see your project go out and be used, be useful and making the country safer.
New ICT graduate school at University of Auckland
The University of Auckland in partnership with the University of Waikato have just launched a Postgraduate Certificate in IT at a new ICT Graduate School. It’s hoping to plug the gap between the Information and Communications Technology industry and the industry’s talent shortage. According to Professor Gillian Dobbie, new head of the ICT Graduate School, tertiary institutions in New Zealand have not kept up with the training graduates for the desired skillsets in the marketplace. She also says that due to the fast paced growth of the industry, technical proficiency was no longer the sole requirement for employers. IT Employers these days are looking for candidates who not only can provide the technical nous required of an IT expert, but also candidates with strong interpersonal and communication skills that can fit in with the workplace culture of an organisation.
Something echoed by Absolute IT director Grant Burley, who says that “while we struggle with a tech talent shortage in NZ the graduate job market is still fiercely competitive and it’s a small things that set potential employees apart; a summer internship, part-time tech support job while studying or a practical postgraduate cert in IT ”.
Our recent employer insights survey found that 28% of employers were struggling to find the right talent with the right IT skills.
Software development and innovation in NZ’s tech sector
There’s plenty happening on the software development front here in NZ.
CSx – concussion management software
Kiwi tech company CSx have been developing a concussion management software to help manage the speight of head injuries occurring on our rugby fields. The software is being used at the Rugby World Cup 2015; accessible by tablets, team doctors can use a player’s history and baseline data to conduct immediate comparisons following a head clash.
beweb – speaking email iPhone app
Fed up with being unable to read emails during a long commute to Auckland, beweb owner Mike Nelson decided it was time to develop a piece of technology that could do it for him. The Speaking Email app reads your emails aloud from your smartphone, and picks up your gestures to indicate where to swipe next.
Air NZ – taking travel development up a notch
The team at Air NZ are always thinking of innovative ways to improve their customer experience, and now they’re looking to software development to improve travel from the moment you book to the moment you step on the plane. Air NZ have developed an Apple Watch app that lets you order your coffee before you hit the Koru Lounge so it’s waiting for you upon arrival. They’re also looking to integrate electronic departure cards into their smartphone app, so you have one less thing to spend time on when heading through customs. By the end of this year they will also have a kid tracker in place, so parents can track their children during an “unaccompanied minor” flight, getting notifications for takeoff and landing. And the kids get to keep their snazzy tracker armband too!
Avondale students’ Meet Up app
A group of Avondale High School students are on their way to the USA for the annual Microsoft Office World Championships thanks to their app development skills. The team of 7 have developed an app called Meet Up which allows teenagers to log in, pick a location, activity and time to meet up with friends. The app includes information about how long it will take to get there and what the weather will be like on the day, eliminating the need for endless social media messaging all day long during classes.
Finding the right IT job
If you’re looking to get into software development, or something a little more specialised like Java, .NET or software engineering, then Absolute IT is the right place to start. Our specialist recruiters will work with you to find the right place for your skills, and set you up on the right IT career path. Take a look at our software developer and programmer job listings to see where your next IT job could take you.
- NZ’s ICT Graduate School http://www.science.auckland.ac.nz/en/about/our-faculty-3/new-ict-graduate-school.html
- NZ and NY Police target technologies of interest http://www.cio.co.nz/article/578958/nz-ny-police-target-technologies-interest/