Australia is a popular place to live. Large open spaces, a robust economy, beautiful weather and some of the best beaches in the world, are just some of the reasons it’s often called the lucky country. If you’re coming from another country and looking for a job here, you may be interested in how easy that could be and how long it is likely to take.
Well the good news is that Australia always needs highly skilled IT people. Currently we are in a skills shortage and IT people are in high demand, particularly if they have existing experience and skills in jobs like software development, enterprise architects, cloud engineers and DevOps. In the future, we are also going to need a lot of skills in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain and other emerging technologies.
The bad news? If you’re wanting to come to Australia and you don’t have skills in these high demand areas, but instead you want to study IT in Australia and then try and get a job here after that, it can be difficult and frustrating and it may take a long time. Here’s some tips that will help a lot though.
Take the time to learn English really well
Australian employers value highly professional communication skills in all IT jobs. You can be the best programmer in the world but if they find it hard to talk to you or understand what you say, then they won’t employ you. Make sure your verbal and written English is fluent.
Study general IT courses that will help you get an entry level IT job
If you’re coming to Australia on a student visa and want to get a job after you’ve graduated then choose a course that will prepare you well for helpdesk and general IT support roles. The more specific courses, like Cybersecurity tend to have poorer job prospects for graduates.
Learn new technical skills in your own time
Regardless of how well you do in your course, at the end of it you still only come out of it with the same knowledge and skills as the other graduates, unless you work on other skills in your own time.
For example, if you were hoping to get a helpdesk type role after graduating, I would recommend starting your own home lab and learning more detailed skills by installing your own servers, or setting up your own M365 evaluation cloud environment to really add to your skills. Also try and get a basic Microsoft certification like the Azure Fundamentals AZ900 in addition to your degree.
Assimilate as much as possible
Getting a job in Australia is not just about what you know but who you know. Not all jobs are advertised and even the ones that are will favour candidates with local experience, who are at least permanent residents and who have English as their first language.
How do you get a job if you come from overseas? You get to know as many people as you can in the IT industry in the city in which you live. Join meet up groups for different tech areas. Speak to people in the IT start up community and attend their events. Get to know the people and tell them about your skills. At the very least you might pick up some contract or volunteer work for a cash strapped startup company which you can then reference on your CV which may help you get another job, or at least will give you some more skills.
So to be clear, if you’re coming from another country and you don’t have the IT skills that are in high demand in Australia then it is really difficult to get your first job. You’ll need to get certifications and skills from your own self study, in addition to the degree or masters course you may be enrolled in.
Also, you’ll need to meet the right people and build a network of people you know in the industry, in the hope that someone will be able to give you some work, paid or not, which will act as that vital commercial experience that you’ll need on your resume to land a more permanent role.
Good luck, it’s not easy getting your first job, but once you get that much needed local work experience, it will be much easier from then on.