Australia's first Astronaut officially opened the inaugural National ICT Career's Week at Sydney University today, kicking off a week of more than 100 events and activities presented by businesses, state and federal governments, industry and professional bodies, high schools, women in IT groups, universities and other educational institutions.
Headed by the AIIA and the ACS, National ICT Careers Week aims to showcase the wide array of ICT careers available to young people, both locally and abroad, no matter what industry they may one day hope to work in.
Under the 'Start Here, Go Anywhere' banner, every state and territory will hold a variety of events aimed at senior school students and school leavers. Events include robotics workshops, virtual reality displays, celebrity events, career expos, open days, demonstrations of climate change solutions, state of the art security applications, space technology and Artificial Intelligence.
Dr Paul Scully-Power, an Australian-born oceanographer who flew aboard NASA Space Shuttle mission STS-41-G, officially opened the week with a talk recounting how pervasive ICT has become in everyday life since he studied mathematics at Sydney University in the 1960s.
Scully-Power used Moore's Law, which states computing capacity will double every two years, to highlight how the ICT industry is a constantly evolving, dynamic and exciting industry to work in.
"[What Moore's Law means is] ten times change about every 7 years. So every 7 years we have to work with a whole new paradigm and that is what is changing ICT and the world. If you're in the ICT industry today, you have to be prepared for change, you have to be prepared to adapt."
He cited security as the number one issue in ICT today, calling for intelligent young people to help counter the dangers posed by data and identity thieves, botnets and other malware.
Scully-Power pointed to climate change, Web 3.0 or the "Semantic Web", nano-technology, digital marketing, smart-metering, robotics and tracking technologies as just a few examples of emerging technologies where ICT is helping to solve everyday problems.
He also called for greater collaboration to foster innovation locally in ICT.
"One of the key issues I think, especially for Australia today, is we have to learn how to form partnerships; partnerships with government, the CSIRO, NICTA, industry and universities. Because in a small country, and Australia is a small country, if we don't get together and leverage off each other's skills we're not going to make it," he said.