Global mining-tech company IMDEX is tapping into university high achievers’ programs and coding camps as well as using traditional employment methods to recruit digital specialists amid a cross-sector skills shortage of IT workers.
Faced with finding suitable talent for roles including software engineers, solution architects and user experience specialists, IMDEX is using its global reach and promoting the benefits of work opportunities to lure talent.
The company is sponsoring She Codes, a coding school that offers online coding workshops for women and collaborates with Curtin University to offer internships to students to provide experience across multiple disciplines in the business.
IMDEX Head of Software Development Rob van Selm said the company used its global reach to fill senior positions but luring top talent through internships and graduate programs was also important.
“There is a shortage of software engineers. They are highly skilled and in demand, not only in the resources industry but across all industries,” Mr van Selm said.
“We have a team in Vancouver and California which allows us to look more globally at the workforce and to attract senior software engineers to solve more complex problems.
“The rapid pace of change in technology means new roles are emerging all the time. There are roles now that wouldn’t have existed two or three years ago.
“Coding camps are becoming popular, and the students tend to have more tangible, practical experience.”
IMDEX internships, which run from November to March each year and offer paid positions, expose students to frontline challenges as part of teams working on product development and enhancement.
The company took on five software interns last year. They were among 15 interns who worked across various parts of the business.
Mr van Selm said IMDEX’s small size relative to major mining companies meant that IT specialists often would take a product from ideation through development to market release and beyond.
“Feedback from software specialists who have joined us is that in other companies they don’t always see software projects through from end to end. They are brought on for a particular part of the lifecycle and then they move on to the next project.”
“We help drilling contractors and resource companies to understand their orebodies with greater speed and precision. Leveraging digital technology and having a team of great software specialists are key enablers of that vision; they make a tangible difference,” he said.
IMDEX Digital Business Analyst Kyrollos Basmatic, 30, began as a paid intern in November 2020 after being included in a Curtin University high achievers' program, which prompted an interview with IMDEX.
Before Curtin, he was studying marketing and sales in Sydney at Macquarie University, but moved to Perth, where he has family, to study IT after realising it provided far greater job satisfaction.
Other IMDEX opportunities followed the internship and Kyrollos joined full time after completing his IT studies, which included software development and analysis and a Masters in information systems and technology, in mid-2021.
He credits the broad-based nature of his university course and the support and opportunities available at IMDEX for being fast-tracked within the company over the past two-and-a-half years.
“Two years ago, I was an intern and now I’m leading a big project,” Kyrollos said. “I have previously worked in big organisations and didn’t like it. I like wearing multiple hats. Here you are closer to the work and the client than in a large organisation and there is the opportunity to work from the scoping stage to implementation.
“There are massive opportunities. I have just moved into my fourth role and it’s only my third year.
“You really do have an in-depth understanding of the project you are working on an all elements of the software.”