Non-science students who want to pursue their IT dreams can seize this opportunity Down Under.

The proliferation of software companies not just in India but around the world has contributed in a big way to the demand for information technology (IT) professionals. Emerging fields in IT include internet security, cloud computing, gaming, animation and social media.

While IT training is offered in several top notch institutes of India, to be eligible for the undergraduate or postgraduate course, one must have an intermediate/plus two degree in science. The Australian education system on the other hand, offers a chance for those from the arts and commerce background to pursue IT and specialise in any subject within its broad spectrum.

Interest is key

“We believe that those who want to take up the subject have a genuine interest in it. As long as they show an inclination towards learning, we can work with them. Therefore, we do not stress on science as a pre-requisite,” says Grant Meredith, lecturer at the School of Science, IT and Engineering at Federation University in Ballarat, Australia. “We also offer other services such as time management and referencing to help students keep abreast with coursework.”

The university offers four different specialisations at the undergraduate level. A student can choose to specialise in computer games, business systems, software engineering or professional practice. The last course is offered in partnership with IBM which also provides students hands on training from the second year itself. At the end of the four-year course, several students are also placed with the company. Entry requirements for this course, however, are stringent and involve rigorous interviews by the IT faculty and IBM. The remaining courses are of three-year duration.

Advantages

Gautam Pingali, a former student of the Federation University who pursued his Bachelor’s in IT (Professional Practice) there, applied with a commerce background. “I am happy I came here to study as I wouldn’t have got the chance to study IT in India. Moreover, I was lucky to get placed in IBM,” Gautam says.

The advantage of studying in Australia, as most students perceive, is the flexibility it offers. For instance, a student looking to pursue an offbeat course such as human-computer interaction, often offered as a major in the Information Technology course in some colleges, can do an undergraduate degree in psychology and then pursue a master’s in IT. Similarly, at the Australian National University (ANU) at Canberra, students can pursue a ‘double degree’ whereby he or she can get a bachelor’s in law and IT simultaneously. Such a degree is of five-year duration.

Professor Tom Gedeon at the Research School of Computer Science at ANU says, “We don’t mind what background students come from because we believe a sincere student would always make the effort to do well. The university also offers bridge courses to help those students with Math, who do not have the background we need.”

IT and software professionals are sought after in Australia and therefore students who perform well are able to find good jobs. “While a lot of factors must be considered while getting a job such as the student’s skillset, abilities and interests, by and large, IT students could opt for a consulting or business firm or even bioinformatics if they chose that as an elective. Generic skills such as report writing ability and oral skills also make for important soft-skills which employers seek,” says Professor Alistair Moffat of the University of Melbourne.