How do you transition your career into IT?The Growing Influence of IT in New Zealand’s Economy

The Information Technology (IT) sector in New Zealand has witnessed significant growth over the past few years. With increasing demand for tech professionals and a thriving job market, transitioning into an IT career here offers promising prospects. The sector’s rapid expansion has been driven by both local innovation and international partnerships. A 2020 report from the New Zealand Technology Industry Association (NZTech) highlighted that the tech sector was the country’s third-largest export sector, contributing NZ$8.7 billion in overseas earnings, with around 2,000 tech exporters. This places it behind only dairy and tourism (note that these numbers are pre-COVID and yet to be updated in one study).

As a result, employment opportunities within the IT sector have ballooned. According to the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, over 114,000 people were employed in high-tech jobs, which encompassed IT developers, engineers, biotechnologists, and more. This represented a significant leap from figures just five years prior, showing the sector’s influence in the job market and its potential for future growth.

Initial Considerations: The ‘Why’ Behind the Transition

So, before starting out on a career transition, it’s essential to understand the motivations behind the move. Is it the idea of a more lucrative salary, the desire for a more challenging role, or a genuine passion for technology? Understanding your motivation will help chart a clearer pathway and provide the necessary drive during challenging phases.

“Identifying the ‘why’ is crucial,” notes Recruitment Consultant, Olivia King, “It’s the anchor that will keep jobseekers sane during the inevitable highs and lows of a job search.”

Education and Training: Building a Strong IT Foundation

Transition into a career in IT -

Transitioning to IT requires a commitment to learning, there is no way around this. New Zealand boasts several institutions offering courses tailored for various IT specialisations. Whether you opt for a formal degree, a short-term course, or online certifications, what’s vital is ensuring the chosen mode aligns with your career aspirations. Naturally, your preference for remote or on-site learning will dictate where you go for education, but it is also important that you consider the level you will need as this will give you your timeframe to being industry-ready.

It would pay to remember that budget and time will play a big part also.

Transferable Skills: Harnessing Past Experiences

Every professional journey, irrespective of the sector, arms people with a set of skills. When transitioning to IT, it’s worth analysing how these acquired skills can complement the work you are looking for. Project management, problem-solving, and analytical thinking are just a few examples of transferable skills that can be invaluable in IT.

Michelle Bishop, Lead Consultant, offers some insight: “While technical skills form the basis of IT, the value of soft skills, often honed in other professions, cannot be underestimated. Also, it’s not just about accumulating certificates. It’s about identifying within yourself, the skills that resonate with the broader industry needs.”

Overcoming Common Obstacles in the Transition

No career shift is without its challenges. For many, the initial phase in IT can seem overwhelming, encompassing both technical challenges and the task of establishing yourself in a new sector. However, resilience and a proactive approach can mitigate these challenges.

First-Hand Advice: Insights from Industry Leaders

While theoretical knowledge is valuable, there’s an unparalleled wisdom that comes from those who’ve walked the path. Building a Strong Network /Networking is key to both career advancement and job seeking. Attend industry events, join professional organizations, and maintain an active online presence on platforms like LinkedIn. Not only can a strong network expose you to new opportunities, but it can also provide valuable advice and support along your career journey.

A Glimpse into New Zealand’s IT Job Market

The IT industry is constantly evolving, so you need to stay updated with the latest trends and technologies. This doesn’t only involve learning new skills, but also understanding how these trends impact the industry and your role in it. You can subscribe to IT blogs, podcasts, and newsletters to stay informed. The internet is full of thoughts on trends for the year, for example, here is an IT Brief article that shares the top tech trends to watch in 2023 for small businesses in New Zealand.

The IT job market in New Zealand is as diverse as it is fast moving. From startups focusing on niche innovations to established firms looking to strengthen their tech infrastructure, opportunities are vast. Roles in cybersecurity, cloud computing, desktop support, and artificial intelligence are particularly in vogue, with a consistent demand for skilled professionals.

Bishop comments: “It’s a market that rewards both expertise and adaptability. Staying updated with industry trends ensures you’ll be able to transition into IT and then remain a valuable asset.”

Check out our Quarter Updates or Tech Shapers reports for a quick way to bring yourself up to speed.

Preparing for the Future: Stay Relevant in IT

The IT sector’s ever-evolving nature means professionals need to be on their toes. Continuous learning, staying abreast of global tech trends, and an innate curiosity are crucial to ensuring longevity in an IT career in New Zealand.

We’ve linked in our Updates and Reports above to help you get started, so keep an eye out for our next update to learn more about the challenges and opportunities of the current landscape, and feel free to get in touch to discuss any of this further.


  1. Which cities in New Zealand are hubs for IT jobs?
    • Wellington and Auckland dominate the IT landscape, but Christchurch and Hamilton also offer significant opportunities.
  2. Are there IT internships available for those looking to transition into an IT career?
    • Absolutely, many firms offer internships, providing a hands-on introduction to the IT world.
  3. Is there a preference for local certifications versus international ones?
    • Both hold value. However, understanding employer preferences for specific roles can be beneficial.
  4. How competitive is the IT job market in New Zealand?
    • While there’s high demand for IT professionals, it remains a competitive field, highlighting the importance of both skills and networking.
  5. How do IT salaries in New Zealand compare to other countries?
    • New Zealand offers competitive salaries, especially when considering the quality of life and work-life balance in the country.
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