Commonwealth Bank CIO talks future of IT careers
- 08 October, 2012 15:36
Commonwealth Bank’s CIO, Michael Harte, spoke to young IT professionals at an Australian Computer Society event about the kind of qualities they need to attain now to succeed and help overcome a skills shortage that threatens Australia’s digital economy.
A career in IT doesn’t have to be so monotonous, Harte said. No longer are the days where IT is only limited to the “drudgery” of running the day-to-day technology functions or mundane maintenance activities. With technology being applicable to so many industries, he said there is more opportunity for people in IT to have a career where their creative ideas can contribute to the business and add value.
“We can be quite creative. Some people regard the science community, or the mathematics community, or the engineering community to be rather dull. But in fact, most of what we do, [what] most of us endeavour to do is create new ways to apply that area of logic to improve the lives of others and to create value,” he said.
Be more than just technical
Being a technical ‘know it all’ probably won’t not get you very far in a long-term IT career, Harte said. It’s all about having a drive to innovate and to help deliver business outcomes. This is what Harte said he looks for when hiring IT staff.
“Some people may [look for] really deep technical skills. That’s helpful, but it’s not necessary. What is necessary is an energy to be creative, to be inquisitive, to continue to be dissatisfied with the status quo, a willingness to get stuck in, and to deliver value. Ideas are worth nothing unless there is a plan to execute and deliver value,” he said.
“I found that business analytical skills were not sufficient to allow me to have a conversation with [business executives and stakeholders]. People that were technically inclined – people in research and development, people who are involved in logic and data, business rules and presentation – who had lots of technical depth were unable in many cases to explain [their ideas] in terms of the value proposition.”
Be a business leader
Harte said skills in management, communication, leadership and commercial understanding will become more prevalent in the future, as more businesses require technology to play an active role in the development and creation of competitive advantage.
“In IT, the best performing groups are those who make high quality decisions more faster and on a more consistent basis,” he said.
“What they do is they convert $1 of investment into $20 of return, and $30 if they are really good at it and $4 if they are only very average at it. But it is the investment in the platform, apps and content that you own or control that differentiates [you] from the competition on a sustained basis that creates competitive advantage.”
Remember: IT careers are diverse
The diversity of IT careers is still not being fully understood in education institutions, Harte said. Universities and other institutions don’t market IT as well as they could, sometimes limiting IT career opportunities to roles such as “database administrator” and “assistant engineer”, he said.
“They don’t talk about this career opportunity in IT: To be in the forefront of any industry creating value through data and logic. So whether it is the music industry, entertainment, gaming, social media, all of those are based on IT – not only traditional lucrative industries like healthcare and pharmaceuticals, advertising and finance.”
Download the CIO Australia iPad app CIO Australia for iPad
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.
Why change management doesn’t work
Larry Page wants to see your medical records
Dual-Persona Smartphones Not a BYOD Panacea
After two-year hiatus, EFF accepts bitcoin donations again
CIOs struggle to deliver timely mobile business apps: survey
New Demands for Real-time Threat Management
Many organisations are evaluating a new security model based upon IT risk management best practices. This is a good idea, but not enough for today’s dynamic and malevolent threat landscape. To keep up with IT changes and external threats, large organisations need to embrace two new security practices: real-time risk management for day-to-day security adjustments and real-time threat management to detect and remediate sophisticated, stealthy, and damaging security breaches (i.e., advanced persistent threats, or APTs). Learn more.
Tips Choosing a Cloud Service Provider
Because cloud is still a new and evolving business model, it can be argued that the decision to select a cloud service provider should be approached with even greater diligence than other IT decisions. Many providers use the same term to define very different services, “hybrid cloud” is one example, making it difficult to compare offers. This whitepaper will help enterprises evaluate their options in two critical areas: the cloud service portfolio and the service provider itself. Read now.
Best Practice in BYOD
The key trend affecting enterprise mobility today can be summarized in four letters: BYOD – Bring Your Own Device. As the number of end-users bringing devices into your organization grows, so does the need for an effective Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution. Learn how to manage devices across multiple platforms all from a single, centralised and unified management console. Download for more!