Hundreds of high school students have had their eyes opened to the possibilities of working in the information and communications technology field at a career day at the University of Wollongong.
The tech conference, called Big Day In, at UOW on Thursday, was a collaboration between UOW and the Australian Computer Society, and forms part of the industry's efforts to plug a skills shortage.
About 300 students from 12 high schools in NSW and Canberra were given access to industry leaders and graduates who have found success in the tech sector.
Organiser Rachel Weine, UOW's Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences industry liaison officer, said the event gave students, particularly young women, the chance to hear about what the industry had to offer, and how skills from the sector could be taken into industries including finance, government, health and education.
Ms Weine estimated 98-99 per cent of UOW graduates found work in the field straight away.
"The ones that don't are the ones that don't want to work yet," she said.
"There's currently a huge demand for ICT graduates in Australia and we're not meeting the market demand.
"We need to get more people studying this so we don't have to import as many ICT professionals."
Students sat in on presentations and demonstration by representatives from companies including Google, Westpac, HP, Internetrix and REA Engineering, which produced a formula one racing car for students to inspect.