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How to thrive in today's market from a tech perspective

Joseph Vartuli discusses current market trends, the future of work and key skills for start-up engineering roles and advice for Engineers who are early in their careers.

Think & Grow Co-Founder, Anthony Sochan and Joseph Vartuli, CTO at CreditorWatch discuss current market trends, the future of work and key skills for start-up Engineering roles and advice for Engineers who are early in their careers. 

What are some of the key trends you have seen in the Australian market over the last 12 months?

There are probably two angles for this; the market has gone from growth at any cost with the availability of cheap money. If you could spend 100k at a 10X or 15X multiplier, all of a sudden people are looking at price per share and cashflow. So, the ratio of cash in the bank relative to your burn. Previously as a CTO, this was not something I had to focus on as much. This has changed the game for founders, for the way businesses are run, as well as hiring. I’m having to think more critically about what are the most important hires for me today. 

From a technology side of things, between Azure and AWS how accessible AI and Machine Learning are to the average developer is amazing. We will start to see some massive changes in the market. People will think about BPO models and whether you can replace these with tech-driven services. 

For the AI Developer, I believe it will be the same way we have thought about the move from sys admins to DevOps. Sys admins had to switch things out and manage more actively whereas now you are able to work on the shoulders of giants, so a big focus is on the automation and process of things. 

How do you expect the next 12 months for the future of work? 

At least for us in the finance industry, there are two areas: 

  • DEFI (decentralised finance) and then the CDR component (open banking). Especially with everything going on people are starting to care about where their data is kept and what it is worth. What we are thinking about is blockchain technology for lending and credit. 
  • We will start to see people become far more innovative on how loans will be given out. This will all be driven by technology.
  • Then from the CDR point of view, energy is now on the cards. Then after this, it will be telecommunications so people will be looking at how data is accessible and how to make better decisions about their customers.
  • If you had to do some VOI checks - those businesses are likely to become obsolete. In the same way people are tracking if you are a “robot” or a “real human” people will start to apply this to fraud. These are really long term but we will start to see more of this over the next 12 months. 

What advice do you have for engineers early in their career navigating the current market (and progressing into the future)? 

In this market, businesses will look out for themselves. Make sure you are in a company where you are happy to get up and go to work every day. Be part of a company that allows you to experiment and gives you autonomy. True innovation doesn't come top down but from silos working together with engineering and other functions. So, the right culture is critical if you want to do the best work.

The other component equity is becoming more important to remunerate, so take the time to understand what it actually means. Go into a job offer understanding exactly what is on offer. 

If you reflect back on your last few years in Australia versus some of the trends you are seeing globally, what are some of the key differences?

Australia has always seen launching a company and failing was a blackspot on someone’s career. In America, failure is embraced and often seen as a positive. I think we are starting to turn this around in Australia, people are starting to think about it in the right way.

Don’t be scared to pivot or scared to fail; I believe this creates better leaders. This is not to say you should be reckless. But people are starting to learn and appreciate the value of experience you gain once you have gone through it and built the business and then failed for legitimate reasons.

If there was a particular skill you would suggest Engineers could improve on, what would it be and why?

Go back to core foundations. Engineers need to remember that it is still a science degree so make informed decisions. I still see too much guesswork which is okay when you have zero information, but this is often not the case. Indecision is terrible, guessing is just as bad.

How important is equity in the decision-making process of job seekers in Australia? Do you feel it is over/undervalued?

In the last two years, things have changed dramatically, with equity becoming extremely important to jobseekers. However, people have placed so much importance on this but now that markets have “corrected” it is a healthy reminder that equity is a risk that people take. It’s a great incentive, but it does need to be balanced with other parts of the package base etc. 

It places some onus on companies – if you are giving equity, what is the pathway for employees to realise some value?

Are there any global trends that you would like to see “take off” in Australia?

Australia is extremely rich in regards to renewable resources. There is so much opportunity here so I would love to see a huge focus on building capability in this area more. Hopefully, this happens and the type of engineers we need must shift as a result. 

 

Thank you to Joseph Vartuli, CTO at CreditorWatch and Anthony Sochan, Co-Founder of Think & Grow.

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