Niall Keating, head of big data at Coles whose job is to modernise and simplify the supermarket giant’s information ecosystem, wants to see a rise in graduates with “hardcore software engineering skills.”
Speaking at The Hadoop Summit in Melbourne this week Keating said the adoption of big data and open source technologies in Australia has been slow.
He put the pace of adoption down to two factors: the risk averse nature of the Australian IT industry and a lack of skills.
“We have seen a great rise of data scientists. I’ve met a lot of great data scientists here in Australia and I’ve seen a lot of universities creating courses or repositioning courses around data science,” Keating said.
“That’s great… But I’m the technology guy that has to enable these data scientists so I need software engineers. I need to see the rise of software engineers again, I’m not talking front end engineers, but people who can build highly scalable backend systems, that understand memory usage, shared resources and distributed systems. I’d love to see that skill set rise again and see the universities invest in open source technology and teaching that.”
Both the higher education system and a lack of software-driven product companies to employ the graduates have played a role in this skills shortage, Keating said.
“I’d like to see more graduates coming out with hardcore computer engineering skills or software engineering skills. I don’t think it’s a lack of brain power, I think it’s a lack of opportunity.