It Pays to Study in IT
Census data confirms that IT professionals with university qualifications earn a lot more than their non-tertiary-graduate colleagues.
Analysis of data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) 2016 Census survey shows that people working in the IT industry earn an average of 11.5 per cent more income if they have completed university qualifications.
Martin Hale, director of IT Masters, an industry-based organisation that partners with Charles Sturt University to provide online Masters degrees to IT professionals, said the evidence clearly shows that graduate and post-graduate studies pay for themselves in as little as three years.
“According to the latest Census, only 66 per cent of people working across all categories of employment in the IT industry have university qualifications,” Hale said. “When you average out incomes earned in the industry, those with university qualifications are receiving over 11.5 per cent more pay than unqualified workers.
“As an example from the 2016 ABS Census data, only 59 per cent of ‘IT Managers’ have university degrees and as fruit of that extra effort put into career development, they earn an average of $12,511 more per annum than their unqualified peers.
“If you multiply that over a 25-year period, the value of completing a degree is clearly apparent. When you look at the average cost of a graduate or post-graduate degree that can now be conveniently completed online, that investment in your career will be returned within three years.”
Reading further into the ABS data, it is apparent that even at the lower end of the pay scale, entry level IT professionals such as programmers/developers and IT support personnel with university degrees are earning substantially more than people who do not have a degree under their belts.
“Over 78 per cent of people in the ABS category of Programmers/Developers have university qualifications and the data confirms that they earn more than 5 per cent more than those with only secondary education in these traditional entry-level roles,” Hale said.
“Meanwhile, tertiary educated people in the IT support category – another starting point for people who want to work in the industry – earn over 11 per cent more for their commitment to complete a degree.
“In light of that statistic, it is surprising that only 42 per cent of people working in IT Support have completed a university qualification when the pay-off is so clear.
“We can also quite fairly assume from the data that young people graduating from university are finding their way into higher paid programming and developer roles as they enter the industry as opposed to those who enter via IT support where the wages are lower.”
It is also evident from the Census data that the more you study, the higher your income grows. With IT Security Specialists proving to be a hot spot in jobs and wages growth, it is interesting to note that this is also a job role where university qualifications provide a significant boost to average income,
“In cyber security operations, average wages are 17 per cent higher for people who can claim a post graduate or masters university degree on their resume,” Hale said. “Data from the 2016 Census identified that the average wage in this category sits at $99,996 where respondents only had secondary-level qualifications.
“However, this rose to $117,260 for those with post graduate qualifications showing that it really pays off to continue studying beyond your first degree.
“Through tertiary education institutions such as Charles Sturt University, there are now numerous opportunities for IT professionals to undertake tertiary level courses that are relevant, accredited and affordable as well as being accessible online at your own pace.
“In the longer term, it is well worth the effort from both wages and job opportunity points-of-view.”
2016 Census Data – Wages/University Qualifications
Assuming that your Masters costs $30K, it will take you almost 8 years to recover the cost. However, providing that you are an Australian citizen and your studies are work related, studying for one of CSU’s IT Master degrees should be Tax deductable as a self-education expense.