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From fintech to fun tech: Exploring the diversity of Australia's tech sector – The Canberra Times

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It may not seem like it to many of us everyday Australians who go about our day using plenty of internationally produced technologies, but Australia is actually a fierce technological innovator in our own right.

The Australian tech sector has experienced some major evolutions over the past decade in particular and across a range of different industries, including financial technology, video game development, and even industrial and consumer computer technologies.
We’ll be exploring just some of these evolutions and innovations today, and how they make up the rich tapestry of Australia’s diverse tech sector as a whole. Alongside this, we’ll also explore how newer generations of Aussie students who are passionate about tech, can set themselves on these lucrative tech career pathways.
Industry-leading graphics design courses can be found amongst Australia’s most popular tertiary institutions, with thousands of students every year picking up highly employable tech and design skills that can be utilised in a variety of different sectors.

With evolving digital design technology, modern graphic designers are required to possess a relatively high level of technical proficiency, alongside a familiarity with software tools like those within Adobe’s Creative Cloud. That is until the development of Canva.
Created by university students from Perth, Western Australia, Canva is a game-changing graphic design software that was originally designed to make the art of graphic design more accessible. Canva’s clean user interface is filled with templates and easy functionalities to help budding designers, small business owners, and virtually all other Canva users with the ability to create their own graphic design creations with ease.

In other words, this graphic design tool has disrupted the industry in a major way, positioning design tech providers like Adobe to consider the usability of their own software.
This isn’t to say that this $40 billion software is rendering graphic design degrees null and void. In fact, by making basic graphic design processes more accessible, Canva has also allowed graphic designers to turn their focus towards perfecting their skills when it comes to using more complex software or producing more detailed pieces of commercial work.
Keep in mind too that Canva is only valuable for fulfilling basic or entry level graphic design needs, with templates for creating Instagram posts, posters, pamphlets, business cards, and other small digital or printable products.

For more large-scale graphic design projects or commercial projects, business owners will always be better off enlisting the support of a professional graphic designer who can provide clients with high-quality images and vector graphics that their clients can amend or resize without having to worry about any image distortion or other pesky technical issues.
Graphic design students are encouraged to use Canva as a foundation for their more technical education. Familiarising yourself with all the different graphic design tools and software available to you, will ensure that your graphic design skills and capabilities stay nice and broad.
The fintech (or ‘financial technology’) sector, has been experiencing some major developments over the past few years, with the COVID-19 pandemic in particular being a trigger for rapid-scale growth. The rise of online shopping during COVID-19 lockdowns prompted many fintech entrepreneurs and big banks alike to improve their digital platforms, products, and their affordances in order to provide consumers with more support as they make purchases and generally manage their finances online.
But how do you enter the fintech sector if you’re not a fintech entrepreneur? Although this sector is still relatively young, it has brought an abundance of new tech jobs to the Australian workforce, including sales and accounts management positions, customer service roles, and plenty of software development and digital security positions.

Simply put, if you have a keen interest in the potential of fintech services and fintech companies like AfterPay, then consider obtaining qualifications like a technology management or computer engineering degree, and start looking for professional opportunities at all the companies that attract your eye.
Students with an interest in the fintech sector are also encouraged to keep their eye out for industry news by becoming a member of Fintech Australia, the country’s advocacy body for the industry. Membership with Fintech Australia may not only help you stay in the loop with regards to industry news, but will also ensure that you’re aware of any and all industry events and networking opportunities that are being organised in your local area.
Melbournians will likely find themselves truly spoilt for choice, with their city being the hub of Australia’s fintech sector. Melbourne is also the host city of Fintech Australia’s annual Intersekt Festival, which will run from the September 7-8 this year.
Australian tech offerings don’t just include software, however. In fact, it was an Australian tech startup that made major leaps in the realm of quantum computing just earlier this year. Silicon Quantum Computing (SQC) is credited with successfully developing the world’s first atomic-scale circuit technology, providing computer engineers and tech developers with the potential to create high-capacity quantum computers to improve a range of different industry technologies, including medical machines and other healthcare tools, educational resources, and even cars, bikes, and other offerings from the automotive industry.
Atomic manufacturing capabilities will allow web developers in Australia to create new technologies that are smaller, faster, and generally more powerful, providing consumers and professionals across the globe with devices that can do more with a lot less power. In this sense, these developments in quantum computing may also hold some immense benefits with regards to streamlining Australian industries in response to the ongoing climate crisis.
Quantum computing opens up a brand new world for computer engineers and software developers alike, meaning there’s never been a better time for students to set themselves on these professional pathways. If you’re a computer engineering student, a physicist, or a budding computer scientist who’s seeking to make their mark on this exciting new industry niche, you should absolutely consider seeking internship opportunities with some of the industry’s most powerful innovators and up-and-coming startups alike.

With their recent success, SQC is looking to expand their own team as we speak. It could be worth looking into this and similar professional or academic opportunities.
Although it could be argued that all the sectors we’ve looked at today do have their own element of ‘fun’, there’s truly nothing funner than video games, with indie video games in particular showcasing all the potential that the medium of video games offers to both players and game developers. And Australia is no stranger to both indie and big name or mainstream video game development projects.
In reality, Australia is actually home to some of the most prolific game studios that are operating today, with the city of Melbourne being a popular location for studio HQs. Amongst Australia’s top game studios, gamers and enthusiasts can find highly successful game developers like those at Halfbrick Studios – the innovators behind Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride. Hipster Whale game developers are also known for creating gems like Crossy Road and Piffle.
And what about indie games? The developers at Melbourne-based studio House House are particularly well-known for creating ‘Untitled Goose Game’, a game so wickedly charming and devious that it became an international hit with a cult following.
So what advice do we have for budding developers who’d like to contribute to Australia’s vibrant gaming scene? Looking for internships, work placements, or even freelance opportunities with some of Australia’s top game studios may help students enter this fun industry whilst they’re still studying software development.
If, however, you’d prefer to experiment independently rather than seek out opportunities at existing game studios, then you really can’t go wrong with taking the independent developer route and just bringing your own game concepts to life. After all, House House the studio was just started by four friends with a fun idea!
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When it comes to entering the tech industry, you’ll find that your career trajectory is never something that you can truly map out. This is mainly because this industry itself is subject to such rapid-fire changes and developments at any given time, which in turn requires tech professionals to develop digital skills on the fly throughout the course of their professional lives.

With this in mind, your best recipe for success within Australia’s diverse tech sector is to simply keep your mind open and forever curious, regardless of which niche or niches you find yourself occupying.

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