Many of the trends that defined 2016 will roll over into the new year, with startup excitement a key driver for new IT jobs. What do you need to know?


As the world’s IT professionals return from a holiday to a brand new year, many will have their sights on expansion and diversification for the coming 12 months.

While 2016 may signal a fresh start for many in the industry, this doesn’t mean people can leave the lessons from 2015 in the past. In many cases, the trends that dominated 2015 will retain their momentum, and remain a notable influence for those in a range of professions.

One of the most important trends affecting IT and the wider economic landscape is startup culture. Although the idea of getting a small business underway isn’t new, the well-publicised success stories of a number of different tech companies are further inspiring the world’s entrepreneurs.

Startup hubs remain a vital link

Many of the world’s startup hubs have become well-known thanks to the efforts of charismatic founders and public-facing personnel. Leaders such as Elon Musk of Tesla fame and Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg are arguably just as famous as the companies they represent, yet there’s more to startup success than the influence of an individual.

In fact, in many cases, it’s not just the personnel within a small startup company that has the most notable effect on its success. Influential startups are often inseparable from their geographic location, and many cities across the globe are acknowledging the value in fostering thriving communities of entrepreneurs and tech professionals.

Known as startup hubs, organisations and locations which allow budding entrepreneurs and fledgling businesses to come together are essential to creating an economy that is able to adapt and evolve with changing trends.

River City Labs, a Brisbane-based startup hub, is preparing for significant expansion in 2016. The organisation reported that it will double in size by the middle of the year to accommodate the demands of the city’s newly formed businesses.

The organisation will move into new premises in Fortitude Valley, a location which the Director of venture capital firm Black Sheep Capital Daniel Gavel believes will be the centre point of the city’s growing startup scene.

“We feel that Fortitude Valley is a natural choice as well, close to transport, infrastructure, the heart of Brisbane’s creative scene and part of a precinct that is undergoing considerable urban growth,” he explained.

Further expansion planned for Queensland

River City Labs’ impending expansion is just a small sector of the growth Queensland’s startup sector will observe over the coming year. As any startup founder or employee will be aware, securing the finance necessary to expand and service new markets is one of the many challenges these companies face.

The Queensland government has acknowledged the importance of dependable funding in the formation and growth stages of its startups and is seeking to provide more options for these businesses across the state.

Importantly, this new round of funding is not just for current businesses and instead focuses on the future of the scene in Brisbane. Minister for Small Business Leeanne Enoch noted that any decisions the government makes need to provide for the next generation of startup founders and employees as well as the current one.

“We have some brilliant young minds in Queensland with the next generation of entrepreneurs in our classrooms and lecture theatres right now,” she said.

“We need to ensure we are providing opportunities for their innovative ideas to succeed.”

The financial component is just one part of the way the Queensland government will look to support its economy in the future. The upcoming Young Starters Program encourages students around the state to submit ideas for disruptive and revolutionary businesses.

With the grand prize of an accelerator program to turn their idea into a reality, it’s the perfect opportunity for those looking for an IT career to gain valuable industry experience.

How can Australian startups grow?

While, in many cases, startups are positioned against their larger counterparts, those looking to grow will need to consider how their relationship with these organisations can develop in a way that benefits both parties.

StartupAUS reported that it is possible to grow and maintain a mutually beneficial relationship between the country’s sizable businesses and developing startups. According to the organisation, both parties need each other and can offer unique products and services compared to their respective peers.

For the next generation of IT professionals, working with a startup can provide an important point of entry into the wider industry. StartupAUS notes that large organisations would be wise to focus their talent acquisition strategies on people that make a difference either as an employee or leader in these growing businesses.

However, the report noted that one of the biggest barriers to success in this regard is a hyper-sensitive approach to risk. With the IT industry evolving to favour disruptive and innovative companies, Australian businesses and their leaders need to welcome risk in the way they operate.