Nothing stands still in the IT Industry and after 23 years, we have decided it is time to change our name from SAGE AU to the IT Professionals Association (ITPA). There are many reasons for the change, but the main driver is that it will allow us to expand our coverage to all IT Professionals.
The change of name is not a decision we took lightly and to make sure we don’t lose the proud history of SAGE, we will be highlighting the careers of some of long term members – see below for the fascinating story of Morrie Wyatt.
To mark the transition, we distributed a press release to media outlets last month and held a webinar to announce the launch of ITPA. In case you missed the webinar, a recording was made and it is now posted on Youtube where it is available for you to catch up on at your leisure.
Both links provide additional detail about the logic behind the move and why we think it is critical to the improvement of the perception, potential and practice of IT
In this Edition:
- Why it is important to make your voice count
- Meet Morrie Wyatt – SAGE AU Member for 29 years
- Our response to Government’s view that ‘Australia does not need fast Internet’
- Don’t miss our Short Courses!
- How to become a Certified Practicing Member
- ITPA Advice Forums
For the last 20 years I have watched the Australian Accounting industry go from strength to strength whereby the two major accounting associations – the CPA and Chartered Accountants – now have a combined membership of almost 200,000 members. All these accountants also vote and it is not surprising that the Australian Government always gets these accounting industry associations involved in new financial regulations and even in developing components of the budget.
Meanwhile, the high level of membership has also given the accounting associations funds to prosper, develop valuable member services and to establish their brands in Asia. CPA now has over 35,000 members in Asia which has created burgeoning career opportunities in the region for Australian accountants.
Contrast this to membership in Australian IT associations. According to the Deloitte Access Economics Digital Pulse report from 2015, there are over 628,000 IT professionals in Australia but less than 30,000 – or fewer than five per cent – are members of industry associations.
In contrast, ABS stats show there are 193,000 accountants in the country and we know from membership numbers that just about all of them are affiliated to either the CPA or Chartered Accountants organisations - sometimes both.
We are three times the size of the accountancy profession but with a fraction of the political clout or recognition from government, industry and society.
The IT profession needs similar influence on technology policy and outcomes.
You must ask yourself, would the NBN be such a fiasco if the government had consulted with and listened to IT professionals during the formulation (and reformulation) of policy? Similarly, what about metadata retention? There was not adequate consultation with appropriate IT Professionals during the formulation phase of policy there either and the outcomes could have been so much better if they engaged with IT professionals sooner.
The sub-standard broadband network we are getting is a direct outcome of bad decisions that have been made for political reasons and without adequate levels of technical oversight.
Arguably the most important national infrastructure project of our generation has been very successfully used as a political football with the overall outcome for the Australian community treated as a by-product, rather than the main goal and focus.
This is going to limit the potential of the local IT industry to compete on a global scale for decades. Therefore, the career opportunities for Australian IT professionals going forward are also severely hampered. That is not to mention the impact on business, health and education etc. Society is being held back by this missed opportunity.
This lack of collaboration with people who have the greatest insight has to change and we are confident that ITPA offers value to members and with sufficient numbers we can have more say on future issues.”
What we need is a lot more members! Please spread the word amongst everyone in the IT industry that for the sake of their own careers, it is important that they are a member of an IT Association. Even if they are not willing to put their hand in their pockets to become a member, urge them to at least become Associate (free) Members.
Apologies for the rant - I promise to be more circumspect in the future.
Meet Morrie Wyatt
One of the very early members of SAGE AU
I was originally advised of the existence of SAGE-AU by our business software supplier FGH Decision Support Systems back in SAGE-AU's infancy, claiming the 98th membership (Complete with the F prefix. ;-)
FGH is long gone, but my SAGE-AU membership continued right through to the transition over to ITPA and I will stay involved with the new organisation, a move I fully endorse.
An Instrument maker and repairer by trade, and Sysadmin by osmosis, I am actually still with the same company I started at over 39 years ago.
With electronics as a hobby since the age of 8, the move of measuring instrumentation into digital displays and data transfer capabilities gave me a good grounding in digital logic and Boolean math. I taught myself Z80 assembly language just for the fun of it back in the days of the TRS80.
When the company I was working for decided to move to a multi-user platform from their CPM-based system in the mid-1980s (complete with its 5.25", single-sided floppy disk backup of the 10Mb suitcase sized hard drive weighing seemingly several tons), I was the closest thing they had to a computer expert, so they offered me the sysadmin role. It led me into Unix and SQL and I haven't looked back since.
An Australian designed and manufactured "Osiris 1" with two 170Mb ESDI 5.25" Full-height drives, which was double the size required by the FGH "FICS" software, to ensure we'd never run out of space (cough), running AT&T Unix and the Unify database. Green screen Liberty Freedom1 serial terminals completed the setup. My mobile phone now carries immeasurably more power, but the lessons learned on that old Unix system are still valid even today.
And yes, I'm one of those that still dislikes the way Windows is so much of a black-box system with its complex and obscure registry, hiding things in a maze of cryptic random gibberish key names and binary configuration data. Give me configuration files that can be edited with vi, and plain text log files any day.
I'm even less a fan of how Exchange and Outlook break down mail and how they do so in ways that are not quite compliant. (html mode contextual quotation and treatment of inline mime text/plain as an attachment rather than just an extension of the text body are just two of the items that come to mind). The email you end up reading is a reconstruction rather than the original email source. I guess I'm too much of a control freak.)
SAGE-AU has been a valuable learning resource for me through its entire existence.
These days, however, I am now a widower with three grandchildren under the age of 10 and have more than enough hearing loss to make conference attendance pointless, as the presenters end up sounding like something from an old Charlie Brown cartoon (the teachers talking). So, this makes the discussions I can engage in on the SAGE-AU mailing lists even more important to me as a source of well informed, high quality information.
I greatly appreciate the work yourself and the other SAGE-AU committee members, past and present put in. By the by, I was the SAGE-VIC list chair for about 10 years myself.
With the NBN, continuing to be used as a political football rather than being a technology-driven, critical nation building infrastructure project, our stance has always been that Australians require fast internet for more than just leisure. When senior cabinet Minister, Christopher Pyne implied that Australia does not need fast internet because no-one needs to download five movies at once, he is making a gross over-simplification of how broadband can impact service deliveries such as health and education in this country in both urban and regional areas.
And, that's not to mention commercial opportunity. Why shouldn't the next Facebook or Google or Microsoft be able to emerge from a great idea in Whyalla, Geraldton or Cunnamulla? Why shouldn't our domestic innovators be able to compete on a global scale?
Pyne, the Minister who is responsible for Innovation, Science and Industry in this country, is only demonstrating in this case that he is completely out of touch with the core aspects of his portfolio. These are all areas where the broad availability of high-speed internet is critical.
Internet usage is not limited to the streaming of movies and other multimedia content to household entertainment devices. It is a critical ingredient to improving the efficiency of public service delivery and creating globally competitive private enterprise. Implying otherwise shows complete ignorance of the way Internet usage has developed and become critical to the functioning and innovation of society.
A second egregious element of this issue is that the NBN debate has been transformed from being about delivering access to fast, equitable internet right across the nation, to a tool that both major parties have been using to score political points against each other.
With the structure of the NBN having been changed so harshly since its inception, it will be a miracle if it actually survives and provides even 20 per cent of the utility to the nation it was first envisioned to be.
Don’t miss our Short Courses!
One of the exciting new services we will be offering as the ITPA is quarterly, free, online Short Courses. The courses will normally be five weeks in duration with four weeks of study followed by an optional assessment in the 5th week. They will be advanced ‘500 level’ courses designed for experienced IT Pros and will be delivered by senior ITPA Members.
So far, we are planning to run Short courses on the following:
- ITPA VMware Masterclass
- ITPA IP6 Masterclass
- ITPA Pen Testing Masterclass
- If you have ideas for other Short Courses, get in touch with
How to become a Certified Practicing Member
Another new professional development and skills verification service we will be offering under the ITPA banner is the creation of certification program for practicing members.
In a similar way to which accountants or other professionals need to continue improving and demonstrating their skill sets to retain their accreditation, ITPA will be offering a Certified Practicing Member (CPM) level of membership.
In conjunction with regularly available (and free) courses (see above item), ITPA members who successfully complete at least one accredited course and a minimum of 20 Professional Development Points (PDPs) in the previous 12 months will be granted CPM status.
The first course, an ITPA IP6 Masterclass, is expected to be run in January. More details will be supplied soon.
The object of the CPM program is to:
* Help you stay relevant as the IT profession evolves and as the needs of the industry change
* Showcase your achievements on the ITPA Professional Skills Register (optional)
* Demonstrate to the IT industry and the business community that you are committed to maintaining your skills
ITPA Advice Forums
One of the most valuable services currently offered to ITPA financial members is the Advice Forums which are hosted on the MyITPA section of the ITPA website. This service offers members the opportunity to engage and share knowledge with other ITPA members through reading and contributing comments on a range of subjects that are industry-based, technical or otherwise of interest to members.
Once logged in, members can start new threads, pose questions, answer questions or just engage in conversation with their industry peers. This peer review ensures that information shared is accurate and up-to-date while the closed nature of the lists means that members can ask questions without fear of reprisal for sharing information in a public domain.
The Forums receive an average of 22 posts per day and this is expected to grow rapidly in line with an expanding number of financial members under the new ITPA umbrella.
Below are some recent topics that have been discussed:
- Issues sending email to Google hosted addresses
- Server 2012R2 load balancing
- Controlling SSH Access
- Password policies
- Systems for keeping client credentials secure
- Getting Security Clearances
- ACCC inquiry into broadband speed claims
- VMware backup solutions
Meanwhile, the highly popular public technology forum Whirlpool recently saw a correspondent initiate a thread about SAGE-AU changing its name to ITPA. A largely positive discussion ensued and many answers to contributors’ questions were provided by ITPA President, Robert Hudson.