ITPA Strengthens Executive Board

In the wake of significant membership growth and expanding time commitments for existing volunteers, the ITPA Executive has recently invited a new name, Sean Bates, to join the Committee as a General Board Member.

Bates, who currently works for an innovative technology company, is an IT professional with over 10 years’ experience in the IT industry. He has accepted the invitation and is thus appointed to the Board effective immediately.

He is the first member to have joined the organisation post-transformation from SAGE-AU to be invited to join the Board, largely because of his extensive experience across a broad range of areas in the technology space.

Bates, who is 36 years old and based in Adelaide, declared that he is happy to extend his involvement in the industry body in a volunteer capacity.

“My aim in stepping up commitment to the IPTA is to help promote positive change within the Australian IT industry and its impact on the wider Australian business community,” Bates said. “I think that the organisation has made some genuine progress since the transformation from SAGE-AU to ITPA.

“Now that there over 10,000 members to service, the organisation needs a variety of additional industry skills, experience and people that are prepared to get hands-on with the challenges faced by the industry and the people who work in it.

“As an organisation, ITPA needs to make sure we can provide an effective advocacy for IT professionals and an authoritative voice in Government policy direction. I look forward to contributing to the achievement of those core objectives.”

Sean lists his particular areas of interest as follows:

  • Cybersecurity, as it relates to business (best practice, breach notification, etc.)
  • The impacts and implications of the (recently abolished) 457 work visa and the replacement temporary skilled visas. 
  • Training and education pathways for established and upcoming IT professionals.

These are issues that are core to the current focus of ITPA in advancing the IT industry in Australia.

Bates said that he believes that the major issues facing the industry have remained somewhat constant with small corrections as technology evolves.

“Rather than focusing on innovative ideas and rapidly taking advantage of new disruptive technologies, there appears to be a general strategy of cost reduction in Australian businesses, specifically in the IT/technology areas,” he said. “Various outcomes resulting from this include localised/globalised outsourcing and the recruitment of overseas IT professionals at rates significantly below the industry standard. “

“I think each of these issues are typified by poor implementation and/or policy. There is also a distinct under-investment and lack of understanding in relation to cybersecurity. Many Australian businesses and organisations are significantly underprepared and under-resourced in this area.

“This puts them and their customers at increasing risk of data loss and fraudulent activity. I believe this issue has become increasingly complex in recent times, due to the shift towards cloud-based services, which often do not sufficiently emphasise pertinent details such as hosting location, data ownership or other relevant policies.

“Amongst other things, this current trend towards private/public cloud services is transforming what combination of skills, experience and education is valued by and relevant to an organisation. IT Professionals should seek to provide relevant, timely advice – and sometimes ask the difficult questions.”

“This is especially pertinent for Australian IT professionals. Due to the increasingly globalized nature of work, IT Professionals must differentiate themselves not solely on technical ability, but also by possessing broader knowledge of other common business functions (such as HR, Marketing, etc.) to ensure that IT strategies they implement are aligned with business requirements and objectives.”

Bates is also passionate about the value he feels IT professionals can obtain from being a part of an independent industry association that represents their interests.

“It is important for IT professionals to have a collective voice,” he said. “This ensures that issues relevant to IT professionals are raised in a public forum and, where necessary, change is agitated.

“An independent association also provides a mechanism for respectful, two-way feedback from industry and to build trust with the wider community about the role and practice of IT as a profession that creates value for the community.

Meanwhile, Bates is a strong advocate for the role of education in advancing IT career opportunities.

“I think one of the best pieces of advice I ever received as a young IT professional was that it is critical to adopt and pursue continuous learning and professional improvement,” he said. “The IT industry is constantly changing and evolving – so must we.

“Just as every progressive IT organisation should be pursuing continual improvement in the services they deliver, so too should professionals continuously improve their understanding of technology and its application in business and society.

“This is also a good philosophy for life.”

Bates joined ITPA soon after SAGE-AU launched under the new name in 2016. He was aware of the old SAGE-AU association but felt it did not cater to his needs until the rebranding which significantly-broadened the focus of the organisation to cover the wider Australian IT industry. 

“Since joining, I have benefited significantly from engagement with other members on the discussion forums and have taken a couple of highly-relevant short courses facilitated by ITPA,” he said. “I have also been fully supportive of and thankful for the representation and advocacy ITPA provides to industry and Government on behalf of all IT professionals.”

Educated in Adelaide with post-grad studies at Charles Sturt University, Sean has worked in many technology and management roles across a diverse range of industries including education, automotive, retail and construction.

All members are invited to contact Sean via the member forums or by emailing him at: board@itpa.org.au.

 

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