At TEQSA’s third annual conference in Melbourne, at the end of November, Dr Steve Mackay presented a paper on the Development of a Career Advisory Site; it summarised his research to date - applying machine learning techniques to millions of job adverts around the world. Caroline Patterson also attended the conference and interacted vigorously at the QA Online Learning Forum.

Despite the software still being in its infancy, Steve’s presentation (his latest project) involves the creation of a site which is able to collate and update real time job postings.

He believes it will have varied applications, but trusts it will also provide education regulators, including TEQSA and ASQA, with an objective means of measuring and assessing the value of proposed courses - courses that are currently relevant in the marketplace and courses which will enable graduates find work in their fields of study.

EIT's Dean of Engineering, Dr Steve Mackay

With the chatter about jobs being hollowed out, in an age when technologies are changing rapidly, Steve also anticipates the site becoming a useful guide to students, and indeed to those already working. It will provide them with an idea of the existing and emerging job opportunities wherever they live in the world.

The reputable marketing analytics company, Burning Glass, estimates that up to 85% of jobs are now posted online. It was this statistic which spurred Steve on. He realised that sophisticated ‘web spidering’ and machine learning techniques had the capacity to access up-to-date job information, for each key location in the world, and provide a real time source of data.

He has used the ubiquitous Python language, with its machine learning libraries, to classify the huge array of engineering and technology job data.

Natural language processing was then used to identify specific skill and knowledge requirements. This has been useful in summarising what a specific job requires in one city versus the same job, but with different requirements, in other cities.

Then, to ensure readability, Steve used a simple dashboard to include the job title, occupation details, proposed salary, the employer and the location. This will be released in a full online version in late December 2018.

In our modern world immediacy and convenience are expected. This career advisory site will tick both boxes for educators, regulators, would-be students, graduates, job seekers and those looking for a career change. They will have - at their fingertips - access to current information on job vacancies, across the different disciplines, worldwide.

The Engineering Institute of Technology (EIT) is dedicated to ensuring our students receive a world-class education and gain skills they can immediately implement in the workplace upon graduation. Our staff members uphold our ethos of honesty and integrity, and we stand by our word because it is our bond. Our students are also expected to carry this attitude throughout their time at our institute, and into their careers.