Encouraging the next generation into IT

Encouraging the next generation into IT

How many times have you gone online to shop this year? New Zealand ecommerce statistics for 2014 show we spent $4 billion online and worldwide trends indicate that online shopping will only get bigger with retailers racing to build their ecommerce sites. That means more Information Technology (IT) experts will be needed to feed this internet-based beast.

Christchurch site-search company SLI Systems is an example of an IT company that is not only leading the ecommerce charge but also providing employment in the ever-changing world of software development and engineering, to meet the increasing demands of online shoppers.

A world-leader and provider of cloud-based search technology that connects online shoppers with ecommerce retailers, SLI has built up an impressive customer base of more than 1,000 web sites worldwide, serving more than one billion search queries each month.

SLI is also doing its bit to get young people into the industry by hosting FutureInTech, an initiative to get secondary school-aged people interested in careers in technology, engineering and science.

Encouraging IT 

Senior software engineer and CPIT Bachelor of Information and Communication Technologies graduate Andrew Grieve, who joined the company in 2005, shows young people how he customises site-search on ecommerce retailer's websites to make the navigation more user-friendly. He has helped streamline the sorts of technology that we all take for granted when shopping online. One example is Auto Complete, which predicts the words about to be typed, so the user doesn't have to type them in completely. The function makes it easier and faster for the user to find and buy what they're looking for.

"To me that's pretty cool, that you can type in the first letter of "red dress" and options will come up. The reality is as a result of this technology, ecommerce is only going to get bigger, so the industry is going to need more software engineering skills."

A software engineer sits in the same spectrum as a musician and mathematician, Grieve said. Both deal with abstract structures defined by a set of laws, properties, and relationships; a pianist has a piano, and a software engineer has a computer.

"It's the problem-solving aspect of maths that's important, the ability to think creatively."

Build a career in IT – it's an ever-changing industry with plenty of opportunities in New Zealand and abroad.