Swinburne’s prestigious Bachelor of Information Technology (BIT) course is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2018.
The course was developed in the 1980s in response to a call from the Australian Government, at IBM’s request, to fund a course of study aimed at attracting high achieving school leavers who had the potential to become the information communication technology (ICT) leaders of the future.
“Swinburne designed a brand new course incorporating a different educational philosophy to address industry needs,” says Professor Michael Gilding Pro Vice Chancellor Faculty of Business and Law.
“One of the things that differentiated this course was that students would receive a guaranteed scholarship funded through industry sponsorship.”
The unique design of the course embedded two industry placements (then known as Industry Based Learning, or IBL) with sponsoring organisations into the curriculum.
It also offered a number of extracurricular activities aimed at giving students the opportunity to network with senior staff from these organisations.
Enrolling students were also offered a full orientation program to promote collegiality among the students prior to the start of the academic program; a mentor for all first year students and two summer semesters.
“The Swinburne BIT soon became the ICT course of choice, attracting high ranking students,” says Professor Gilding.
One of those students was Tristan Sternson, Managing Director of data and analytics business, Infoready.
“The BIT course has two core element that have accelerated my career,” Mr Sternson says.
“Firstly, the content of the course is closely structured to what is required in the industry so it is extremely relevant to helping students get started in the real world. Secondly, the two six-month industry placements gave me the work experience that was invaluable in my preparation for the workforce and in helping me gain my first job at PwC.
“The small intake of the course helped me build a strong network that I am still connected with and has been a key element of my career since graduating, helping me to grow my career quickly.”
Today, the BIT remains one of the most highly sought ICT courses offered in Victoria.
Placements may be completed in organisations such as AGL, Deloitte, Ernst and Young, Infoready, KPMG, Latitude Financial Services, Melbourne Water, Newcrest Mining, Pitcher Partners, PwC, Reece Group, Siemens, or Unico Computer Systems.
It has a strong alumni, many of whom are now the employers of BIT students and graduates.
“Infoready usually takes one or two students per placement and has employed about 10 BIT graduates in recent years,” says Mr Sternson.
“The value is that we get the first look at the top talented students who may join our team as graduates. We also enjoy giving back to the education community as we help provide these students real experience to shape their learnings and prepare for the real world.”
BIT alumni celebrated at a special 30th anniversary event on 19 October.