Sadly Brian Corrigan’s Opportunities still there for graduates is behind The Australian Financial Review’s paid content wall.

Corrigan reports that after years of decline, student numbers are climbing again for information technology and computer science courses at Australia’s universities.

It appears people are using the recession to gain skills. That’s a smart move. Earning money is difficult right now. The cost of an education is the same as it was before the financial meltdown, but many other costs associated with studying are lower. So are interest rates, which makes taking a student loan easier.

Sydney’s University of Technology has seen postgraduate IT student numbers rise 25 percent this year. At Queensland University of Technology student numbers climbed 10 percent after falling every year since 2002 after the dotcom bust.

In the mid 2000s I wrote stories for the AFR about technology courses in higher education. At the time there was a fear courses would close  due to lack of demand despite industry’s need for trained IT workers.

Corrigan says there’s still a healthy demand for workers with computer qualifications in Australia. The recession and falling overall employment has barely touched technology with 10 percent fewer tech employers turning up at job fairs. This compares with  next to zero potential employers looking for recruits in other industries.

Further good news appears in Australian IT, where Fran Foo wrote about a rise in the number of computer related scholarships on offer in Scholarships defy crisis. She quotes ACS Foundation executive director John Ridge, who said about 20 new companies had started offering scholarships in the past six months even though the economy had turned south.

It’s not directly related, but Jennifer Foreshew’s Overseas hunt for 200 with IT skills also in today’s Australian IT underlines the message that tech workers with the right stuff are not doing it as tough as everyone else these days. Peoplebank Australia is planning to import between 150 and 200 tech workers this year.

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