We work very closely with most of these and help take their messages to government, but they each meet a very specific niche need. Many are networking groups, and some such as HINZ are following a closely aligned professional pathway, which is exciting.
Then there are clusters of companies based geographically (eg CSI in Christchurch and Auckland ICT and NZSA in Auckland) who also meet an important local need.
There are always opportunities for different groups to work together and sometimes discussions on how this might work at both a practical and structural level. We're always open to these discussions, but it's also clear that progress is being made in the current structures. We enjoy very strong relationships with almost every other IT group or association and practical cooperation is great for everyone.
In terms of IT practitioners, if they're serious about progressing their professional career then we would say it's important they engage with the sector's professional body, which is IITP.
We're the group that offers professional certification, ongoing professional development opportunities, mentoring, broad events and training across the sector and country, facilitates engagement in schools, industry, academia and government, represent their voice to government and other stakeholders, and much more.
But they should also seek out the niche group in their area and actively engage with that. It is not an either-or situation. Both serve different purposes.
However, I should be clear — while we do provide low-cost introductory training, we're not an educational institution in our own right and don't intend to be.
Q: In terms of skills, what do you believe will be in demand in the next couple of years? How is IITP enabling training around these areas specifically?
PM: There is a significant transformation in the sector around mobile and cloud computing and the skills that are in growing need are often, but not always, found in the software space.
It's important to note that the underlying skills in a mobile and cloud world are the same as with traditional software — even if the tools and context are different. We explored this in great detail during the recent IT Qualifications Review, where we created a new suite of IT-related diploma and certificate qualifications which will replace all of those on the NZ Qualifications Framework.
In reality, the underlying skills needed to develop software for mobile apps aren't that dissimilar to desktop apps and that's not going to change any time soon.
The skills that continue to be in great need are around professional areas such as business analysis and architecture. We partially addressed this in the Qualifications Review by creating an information systems pathway focused on these types of areas rather than "technical" IT, and the Institute's own training initiatives also focus on these areas.
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