Why you should trust the Accessible and Affordable Quality “Technology” in the Victorian Institute of Technology

Everywhere you look these days, smart technologies are taking over the world. AI and machine learning are driving everything from autonomous vehicles and personalised shopping, to digital assistants and ChatGPT. Drones monitor the health of our oceans and remote wildernesses, while robots treat ailments in remote parts of our bodies. Networks of sensors inform us about everything from the weather and local traffic conditions, to our personal fitness and the security of our homes


While the Australian Government has set itself a goal to have 1.2 million tech-related jobs by 2030 – more than twice the current number – the sheer pace of digital transformation means that Australia will continue to face huge IT skills shortages for many years to come. According to the Government’s 2022 Skills Priority List, nearly a third of the nation’s most in-demand jobs are now in the IT sector – including software and app programmers, systems analysts, network engineers, and a range of cybersecurity roles.


“It’s no coincidence that these are precisely the same skills prioritised by our Bachelor and Masters of Information Technology and Systems (ITS),” says Dr Rahul Thakkar, Associate Dean at the Melbourne campus of the Victorian Institute of Technology, which has seen a surge of interest in its ITS degrees over the past few years.


Since VIT launched its Bachelor of ITS in 2015, the initial specialisations of the three-year degree – Networking and App Development – have been expanded to include two more specialised units in Cybersecurity and Analytics and Intelligent Systems, while its bestselling two-year Master of ITS offers specialisations in Analytics, Software Engineering, and Architecture. Today, these are some of the broadest IT specialisations offered by any Australian college – supported by 30 seasoned lecturers with experience across major companies such as Accenture, Telstra, Optus and KPMG.


“We have a great team of experienced academics who regularly review our specialisations to make sure they respond to emerging market needs,” says Associate Professor Anuradha Samkham Raju, the Registrar at VIT, who worked in academia and industry for 20 years before joining the institute. “We’re always focused on keeping our students up to date with the latest technologies, the latest industry requirements.”


Dynamic curricula

So while you’re taking one of VIT’s courses, and an invention like ChatGPT arrives, will it come up in the already-published curriculum?


“Yes, of course,” says Rahul Thakkar. “Our curricula have to be completely dynamic in a field where the tools and technologies are changing every day.”


That said, the fundamentals that underpin VIT’s IT degrees will always be a constant foundation.


“Technology may be changing fast, but the fundamentals are critical,” says Anuradha Raju. “If your groundwork is good, you’ll be able to meet new challenges and evolve with the market.


“The IT field is a bit like Darwin’s theory – if you can adapt, you’ll survive. It may look scary for a new graduate, but as long as you stay interested and engaged, you’ll always do well.”


Alongside the specialised units in VIT’s BITS and MITS programs, both provide hands-on internships and placements, where students are seconded to local IT companies to work on app development, coding or networking projects. The Institute also has long-standing partnerships with Microsoft and Oracle, which support students with study materials and occasional presentations by visiting experts.


VIT’s technology degrees – at a glance

Bachelor of Information Technology and Systems
Duration: 3 years
Units required to graduate: 24 (13 core units plus 11 electives)
Specialisation streams: Application Development;
Analytics and Intelligent Systems; Cybersecurity; Networking.


Master of Information Technology and Systems
Duration: 2 years
Units required to graduate: 16 (8 core units, 6 electives, plus Capstone project – worth 2 units)
Specialisation streams: Software Engineering;
Analytics; Architecture; general (no specialisation).


A culture of care

A growing number of international students at VIT hail from the Indian sub-continent, which has a widespread reputation for excellence in the technology field. Dr Raju says several of her students have landed jobs with multinational companies and settled in Australia – a fact she credits partly to the strong “culture of care” at VIT.


“International students come with certain ambitions, but they’re far from their families and friends, and they often need help finding their feet,” she says. “We have to give them confidence that they’ll get complete support, so they can take on new challenges and really excel in their chosen fields.”


That support not only includes information workshops on Australian life and English language classes, but guidance from welfare counsellors on things like renting, healthcare and social support. For undergraduates, there may also be a need for additional advice on academic writing, making presentations, or using the library – again, provided through workshops by dedicated learning support advisors.


The managers at VIT are extremely conscious of their duty of care, and place a strong emphasis on lecturers’ pastoral responsibilities. As well as putting their lectures and study materials on VIT’s online learning platform, most lecturers share their contacts with students, so they can ask questions or seek support directly, and set up study groups for their classes on WhatsApp or another messaging service.


“As far as I’m aware, no other college in Australia teaches such a wide range of specialisations as part of its Bachelor or Master of ITS,” says Dr Thakkar. “We’re able to do this because we have such a wide range of specialisations among our lecturers, who nearly all have years of experience at the coalface in their chosen fields.

“These qualifications are a great opportunity for any migrant coming to Australia to develop their IT skills and have some hands-on experience in local industry. For domestic students, we offer these courses fully online so you can weave them around your existing work and, after six months, decide whether you want to go with a particular specialisation and do your final-year project in that field.


“Basically, these are all job-ready skills – and as we know, there are no shortage of jobs in any of these fields in Australia right now.


More info:
Bachelor of ITS: https://www.vit.edu.au/vit-courses/bachelor-of-information-technology-and-systems-bits/
Master of ITS: https://vit.edu.au/vit-courses/master-of-information-technology-and-systems-mits-international/

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