Q&A Interview with Sourced Managing Director Jason Bishop
Can you tell me a bit about Sourced?
Sourced is a specialist IT and technology recruitment agency with offices in Christchurch and Auckland. Our day to day goal is to be here for anyone and we continue our drive to be the best at providing people and businesses what they want and need. We still think the best thing you can give anyone is your time and a key part of our identity is simply that we are always available to help. We’ve been in the tech sector a long time and have a strong internal culture built around this thinking.
How are Sourced involved in the Canterbury tech sector?
Through participation, hosting, sponsorship and support, we are genuinely engaged in the tech sector. I’ve been involved in the Canterbury Tech Summit and Cluster (sponsor and committee member) for the past six years, and Canterbury Development Corporation (ChristchurchNZ) around workforce strategies and sector advocacy, as well as mentoring at University of Canterbury.
As a team, we are entrenched in the wider Canterbury tech scene, being involved with Canterbury Angels, Canterbury Tech and Institute of IT Professional meetings. We are active in both the Executive Women in Tech and Women in Tech local communities, as well as sponsors and loyal supporters of Code Club.
We also set up FluxNZ (with Memia, in 2012) which originally provided news, data and insights relating to the growing New Zealand technology industry. Ben Reid and I first started producing the Flux posters in 2014 – most recently I created this in a digital format (http://maps.fluxnz.com) and many people will be pleased to know there is a new poster on the way, based on the up to date data! We created the poster to help people to get their heads around the true scale of the sector. This has helped children and parents understand the outcomes within IT and the broad spectrum of ways to apply skills outside of the stereotypes.
How do you see the Canterbury tech industry evolving over the next five years?
We have a good split, compared to the rest of the country in terms of services, ecosystem, software, manufacturing and engineering and so on, it’s a harmonious sort of environment in terms of disciplines. But what we don’t have is the full spectrum of business ages/stages. You need to have your start-ups, your early growth companies, your full growth companies, and your big corporates.
We have a few big corporates but they have found it harder to grow here now that our employment market is a little more dynamic and much more candidate focused. People are more aware and in control of their career, and there is a lot more choice.
The short answer is the Canterbury tech sector in five years’ time will be more mature in its business knowledge with a healthy amount of wise business leaders to mentor future growth at all levels.
Why did you decide to start working in the technology industry?
It’s a continually evolving industry. The pace of change and opportunities it provides regarding professional growth are very appealing. Tech is an integral part of life these days, as far as subject matter goes, you’d be hard pressed to find a better vertical to innovate in and read new stories about, every day. It’s exciting, challenging and you never stop learning.
What excites you about the technology industry in Canterbury?
You just have to talk about those in it. Post-earthquake collaboration created a stronger community that is more connected with a more vibrant and diverse start-up & SME environment. By being motivated to learn lessons fast, our local sector has matured quickly and we have, I think, the best combination of conditions to lead the country into becoming a tech powerhouse.
What skills do you think need to be developed in technology workers?
Interpersonal skills are as important in tech as any other industry and perhaps this doesn’t get the air time it needs. Leadership, mentoring and presentation capabilities are also important, it’s no longer acceptable to have a ‘hidden developer’ mentality.
What advice do you have for people wishing to advance their technology career?
Get involved and network widely. Follow your interests and find the opportunities to learn new skills. Through networking, develop a reputation and get involved in the local community. This will help you stand out and get noticed, and for the right reasons.
There are a lot of places you can go to for guidance around town, and there are a lot of people who have done it before, so don’t be afraid to ask for someone’s opinion or help. Plenty of people out there have similar experiences in different verticals even, so it doesn’t have to be in your field of expertise.
That’s the big thing, don’t be afraid to learn lessons from other people’s experience.
Why do you support the Canterbury Tech Cluster/Summit?
The main reason we support it is because there is nothing else like it. The rest of the country doesn’t have a genuine central place they can come to and collaborate. Even if it was only a small thing, it’s a good thing. We are advocates and passionate champions of Canterbury (Tech) and want anyone we talk to, to be the same.
What are you looking forward to the most at the Canterbury Tech Summit 2017?
Networking, speakers, catching up with old friends, and the new learning opportunities. I love using our booth at the Summit to promote those that may not be able to get there themselves, we always share our spot.