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Market update: game developer demand and salary in Australia, 2022

By Academy Xi

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A growing games industry exists in Australia, with the sector contributing $226.5million in revenue in 2021, which was a 22% increase on the previous year. Want in on the action? Read on.

Globally the gaming industry is worth $240 billion and predicted to reach $294 billion by 2024. Within Australia, 83% of gaming revenue is coming from overseas and now the Australian government is finally recognising the massive growth of the sector. Support on both federal and state levels is on offer in the form of tax incentives (the Digital Games Tax Offset or DGTO came into effect in 2022). 

Attracting employees with the right specialised skills is reported as being one of the difficulties faced by Australian gaming development studios. The global demand for experienced staff demonstrates that if you’re keen to get into the industry, now’s the time to strike.

What is a video game developer?

Game developers bring video game designer’s ideas to life by developing the code which creates the audio and visuals that make it a playable game. Video games exist across a number of platforms such as game consoles (we’re looking at you XBox, Playstation and Nintendo), mobile phones, PCs and different web browsers.

Are game developers in demand in Australia?

Recognised as a strong contributor to the national economy, the projected job growth for game developers over the next five years is tipped to be 25%

With a projected industry growth of 7% annually and a shortage of skilled workers to meet the increase, it’s safe to say that game developers are in demand.

How much does a video game developer make?

The average Australian salary for game developers hits roughly the $100k mark, with entry-level positions likely paying less. However, with plenty of opportunities available, you may find yourself climbing the ranks faster than in other industries. 

Keep in mind that if you specialise in certain aspects of gaming, you could command a higher salary.

Skills needed to be a game developer

It goes without saying that having a true passion for video games really is paramount if you want to be a game developer. In addition to your love for all things gaming, the following skills and attributes are also needed in your kit:

  • Proficiency in programming languages (C# and C++ for example)
  • An analytical mindset
  • Creative thinking
  • Great at working solo and as a part of a team
  • Be across the latest gaming trends

Do your homework

If you’re interested in working in the gaming industry, it pays to know about the companies in the field. Scan through game developer job listings to see who is who and learn about which services they offer. You can also read through the job descriptions to gain an understanding of the skills and experience required to join their ranks.

If there’s a studio you’re particularly interested in, check their website directly to see if they’re hiring and the skills they require. You can also ask about work experience or internship opportunities to get your foot in the door, which can be a great way to network while you gain a relevant qualification

How to become a game developer

How to become a game developer It’s a wise idea to have some training under your belt to become a game developer, in software engineering ideally, as a proficiency in relevant programming languages is required.  Some developers are self-taught, but it can be a much longer road to get up to speed, particularly when you consider that you might be up against people with computer science qualifications when applying for positions in game development companies. At Academy Xi, we offer industry-approved training via an intensive approach, so you can get yourself out there into the game development workforce sooner rather than later, instead of sinking four years into a university degree.  Our tech training options will give you the foundations required enter into the world of gaming, whether you want to upskill, or become a full-stack developer: If you have any questions, our experienced team is here to discuss your training options. Speak to a course advisor today and take the first steps in your game development journey.

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Skills and responsibilities of a game developer

In addition to writing code, a working day for a game developer often includes using application program interfaces (APIs) to develop their work across different software, analysing video game designer’s concepts and design specifications, as well as programming the artificial intelligence (AI) for non-player characters and the terrain of the game.

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What is wireframing? How to create a website wireframe and the best tools to use

By Academy Xi

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Are you new to the world of wireframing? Learn how to use wireframing and the latest software, so you can do web design and UX the right way.

What Is Wireframing?

For the sake of simplicity, think of wireframing as a bit like creating an architectural blueprint for a new building. A wireframe is a basic, two-dimensional visual plan for the layout of a website, app, or digital product. 

Product Designers, Web Designers and UX Designers use wireframing to arrange and prioritise the features of a design, giving them a clear picture of how its users will interact with it. 

There are many different types of wireframe (we’ll cover them in a bit), but the most common form is a low-fidelity sketch. This kind of wireframe only depicts the design’s functionality, without incorporating any stylistic features. This means many wireframes look incredibly simple, with only grey colour schemes, placeholders for images and ‘lorem ipsum’ for text.  

What is a website wireframe

What is a website wireframe?

Creating a website wireframe involves planning the structural framework of a website’s pages. Various teams use website wireframes to align on the layout, user flow and information architecture that a website will entail. 

As well as guiding the web design process at a structural level, website wireframes can be stylised, showcasing the user-facing elements of each page, including design features, colour palettes and other forms of visual content.

Website wireframing is normally an iterative process, which involves producing multiple wireframes (or prototypes), before a final design template is agreed upon.  

Why create a website wireframe? 

There are a number of benefits that come with creating website wireframes. Most importantly, they ensure cross-functional teams are on the same page before the web development process begins.

Some of the other organisational benefits that a website wireframe offers include:

  • It clarifies the overarching goals of a website and streamlines the design process
  • It documents the team’s decisions about which functionality and content to prioritise
  • It clarifies how users will interact with the website and offers the chance to optimise the UX
  • It documents how various aspects of the website will connect and establishes consistent ways of displaying content
  • It allows teams to share the design with clients and stakeholders before the website is built

What are the different types of wireframes?

Now you’re well and truly sold on the value of a wireframe, maybe it’s time to make one for yourself? Before you rush off and start designing, it’s wise to figure out which type of wireframe best suits your project. The most common types of wireframe include: 

  • Low-fidelity wireframes

Low-fidelity wireframes are normally just quick, simple designs that make ideas more tangible. Low-fidelity wireframes are usually black and white sketches that focus on the ‘big picture’ of a website’s layout. UI elements are usually depicted as boxes and lines without any details.

  • Mid-fidelity wireframes

A mid-fidelity wireframe is a step up from its low-fidelity counterpart. Mid-fidelity wireframes will have more detail, including accurate spacing, headlines, banners and buttons. The page designs might even be displayed in a sequence, called a wireflow, illustrating exactly how the whole website will fit together.

  • High-fidelity wireframes

A high-fidelity wireframe captures the look and feel of a website in the advanced stages of the design process. Hi-fidelity wireframes go beyond the placeholders and lorem ipsum text of low-fidelity wireframes, specifying actual content, typefaces, colour schemes, image dimensions and branded elements.

  • Mobile website wireframes

Much like a low-fidelity wireframe, a mobile website wireframe is normally a two-dimensional sketch that serves as a visual guide for the appearance and functionality of a mobile website. A mobile website wireframe doesn’t represent the full design, only depicting the screen layouts and key design components.

How to create a simple wireframe

Now you’ve picked the type of wireframe you’re going to create, here’s a four-step guide to help you kickstart the wireframing process:

  • Step 1: Determine your website device size

The sizing of your wireframe will depend on which device you’re designing for. There are three device sizes to choose from:

  • Desktops have a size of 768 pixels wide x 1366 pixels long
  • Tablets have a size of 800 pixels wide x 1280 pixels long (8” tablet) and 1200 pixels wide x 1920 pixels long (10” tablet)
  • Mobiles have a size of 1080 pixels wide x 1920 pixels long

Depending on the usage you’re planning for your website, you might design wireframes for all three device sizes.

  • Step 2: Understand the goal of the website

At the beginning of the wireframing process, it’s crucial to define your website’s goals. Do you want to generate more traffic? Do you want users to purchase something, or download an app?

Whatever your goals are, they will guide the wireframing process at every stage. Write your goals down on sticky notes and attach them to your wireframe template. This will keep the website’s goals top of mind amongst your team.

  • Step 3: Understand the user flow

Designing your user flow will help you track and plan movement within your website. The aim is to make your website as easy to navigate as possible. 

A wireflow is a hybrid document that combines a wireframe with a user flow diagram. Simply adding arrows and annotation between wireframes on a single canvas will indicate the paths a user may take while moving around in your website.

  • Step 4: Know the conversion points

Building on your understanding of the user flow, it’s important to plan exactly how the user will move through the website and complete each step of the process you want them to carry out. 

You’ll need to determine which buttons, menus and links will guide the user through each step. You’re aiming to smoothly move the user through the conversion points, enabling them to easily perform the task that you set as your goal in step 2. 

How to create a simple wireframe

What are the best tools to create wireframes with?

There are plenty of software options that can take the heavy lifting out of creating your wireframe. Some of the handiest wireframing software on the market includes:

  • Figma – Offering a range of customisable wireframe templates, Figma streamlines the process of producing website mockups. Figma is browser-based, so sharing your wireframes is as straightforward as sharing a link. Your team can leave direct comments, meaning you can easily field questions and gather feedback.
  • Adobe XD – Adobe XD is a powerful, free wireframing tool that’s perfectly suited to website design. With Adobe XD, you can quickly sketch layouts, design UI elements, create user flows and plan information architecture, all with a single design tool.
  • InVision – InVision is an online whiteboard platform designed specifically for prototyping. InVision tools mean your team can quickly iterate, share design ideas and gather feedback from users, designers, and stakeholders. This leads to wireframes that are more responsive and interactive.   
  • Sketch Sketch is known for being one of the easiest wireframing tools to pick up. Sketch artboards can be used to quickly illustrate wireframes, offering a combination of drawing tools and vector design shapes. Sketch tends to be better for solo projects, since it only allows designs to be shared once they’ve been completed.

Want to make wireframing part of your career?

If you want to make wireframing a regular part of your day-to-day work, then a career in UX UI Design is your best bet. Wireframing is an integral part of the UX process and a technical skill that no accomplished UX Designer could do without.

Academy Xi UX UI Design courses give you all the practical skills needed to break into the industry. You’ll learn to place the user’s needs at the centre of the design process, so you can create smooth and functional products that leave a lasting impression.

Whether you’re looking to upskill and test the waters of the industry, or launch a completely new career as a UX Designer, we’ve got the perfect course for you:

  •  UX UI Design: Elevate – For upskillers looking to boost their career prospects with in-demand creative capabilities 
  • UX UI Design: Elevate (Self-Paced) – For upskillers looking to boost their career prospects with in-demand creative capabilities, whilst enjoying the flexibility of self-paced learning
  • UX UI Design: Transform – For career changers, looking to transform their profession with a course offering access to a Career Support Program that helps 97% of graduates land their dream role 

Not sure which is the best course for you? Chat to one of our course advisors and we’ll help you break into one of Australia’s most creative industries.

Academy Xi Blog

Market update: Penetration Tester demand and salary in Australia, 2022

By Academy Xi

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Cyber attacks are rapidly rising with a 125% increase in 2021, costing businesses an average of $4.35 million USD per breach. The demand for ‘ethical white hat hackers’ has never been higher, as corporations double down on getting their cyber defences sorted. Discover where ‘Pen Testers’ fit into the big picture.

Penetration Tester Demand 

It is anticipated that an additional 16,600 cyber security professionals will be needed nationally by 2026, including penetration testers.

Penetration Tester Salary

The average annual salary for Penetration Tester jobs in Australia ranges from $120,000 to $170,000.

Penetration Tester Skills

Industry-focused, practical training will ensure you’re equipped with the right skills and mindset.

The pandemic undoubtedly added rocket fuel to the levels of cyber crime, with ransomware and data theft being the forerunners. As a result, businesses are seeking cyber professionals in-house and as contractors en masse. 

Recent research commissioned by CyberCX and conducted by independent think tank, Per Capita, reveals there will be a staggering lack of qualified cybersecurity professionals over the next four years, to the tune of 30,000 unfilled positions nationwide.

If a future in penetration testing has been calling you – now is the time to act.

What do Pen Testers do?

what do pen testers do Australia

Penetration Testers, often referred to as ‘Pen Testers,’ are responsible for running pre-planned and authorised simulations of cyber attacks, carried out on IT infrastructures to evaluate current levels of security. 

Running such a simulation can reveal any system vulnerabilities which need addressing to bolster the framework and make it more resilient against hackers.

This proactive approach to cyber security can involve using a range of hacking tools and techniques, with the pen tester acting in the role of hacker in an attempt to find any system holes that a real cyber-crime could exploit. 

Pen Testers need to document their entire process to develop a penetration test report, which can be shared with relevant stakeholders to highlight the current state of security and where different levels of action or monitoring are required. 

Daily responsibilities will vary depending on the industry and organisation, but some common tasks include:

  • Researching different attack strategies and tools
  • Reviewing code for potential vulnerability 
  • Automating testing approaches to increase efficiency
  • Ongoing documentation of any compliance threats
  • Development of pen testing methods
  • Conducting ongoing testing after security improvements 
  • Generating reports of findings 

Are penetration testers in demand in Australia?

It is anticipated that an additional 16,600 cyber security professionals will be needed nationally by 2026, including Penetration Testers.

The table below demonstrates the cyber security workforce need and shortfall forecast for Australia by 2026.

Penetration tester salary in Australia

As with many occupations there are a range of factors that can impact earning capacity such as experience, location, training and qualifications.

The average annual salary for Penetration Tester jobs in Australia ranges from $120,000 to $170,000, with Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne based roles being the highest paid.

Be mindful that we are talking in-house positions and there are likely many that can be performed remotely, from wherever you’re located.

Junior pen tester salary

Depending on the industry and organisation, some entry level Pen Tester salaries can start at around the $90,000 mark.

Senior pen tester salary

Those with more industry experience can command salaries of $175,000 and up as Penetration Testers. 

Can penetration testers work as a freelancer?

Yes. Freelancing can provide freedom and flexibility, but it isn’t recommended as a starting point for your pen testing career. By taking on in-house positions within cyber security, you will gain a breadth of experience, meet a range of people within the industry and ultimately ‘cut your teeth’ with the pros. Venturing into freelance before establishing a solid foundation can prove to be a lot more challenging, as you will likely not have the industry contacts, which can be helpful when securing your initial clients. 

What skills do you need to be a penetration tester?

penetration tester skills Australia academy xi

First and foremost, a willingness to be continually learning is an important attribute for anyone wishing to delve into the world of penetration testing, or cyber security in general. 

The playing field is forever changing, requiring constant research and investigation. Specifically, key skills include knowledge and a working understanding of:

  • Coding
  • Programming languages (Python, Ruby, Java, Perl, BASH)
  • IT security technologies
  • Threat modelling 
  • Penetration testing management platforms
  • Computer networks and capabilities
  • Components of different networks
  • Security assessment tools
  • Remote access technologies
  • Vulnerabilities and exploits beyond tool suites

In addition to the above skills, it’s also important to have excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, so you can present your findings effectively and with impact to all relevant stakeholders. 

Similar specialisations and career paths

  • Information security analyst
  • Security software developer
  • Security architect
  • Security engineer

How to become a penetration tester Australia

Pen tester demand and salary australia

Ensuring you have industry-ready skills is definitely required to break into penetration testing. While it is not uncommon for pen testers to have tertiary qualifications, such as a Bachelor of IT or computer science, it’s actually hands-on industry experience that will be appealing to most employers.

By fast-tracking your training with industry-built, practical and outcomes-focused courses, you will graduate job-ready in a fraction of the time it would take you to complete a degree, getting you out into the working world at pace.

Our Cyber Security Engineering: Transform course will ensure you are equipped with the skills needed to enter the world of penetration testing with confidence. The course can be completed part-time in 10 months, with practical learning, expert mentoring and 1:1 career coaching.

If you have any questions, our experienced team is here to discuss your training options. Speak to a course advisor and take the first steps in your penetration testing journey.

Academy Xi Blog

What is typography and why is it important for designers?

By Academy Xi

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Know your serifs from your sans serifs? The difference between font and typeface? Read on to get a taste of the world of typography.

What is the origin of typography?

Historically it is thought that cave paintings dating way back to 20,000 B.C are some of, if not the first examples of written communication recorded, with ‘formal’ writing being developed at approximately 3,500 B.C by the Sumerians. Then in rolled the Egyptians with their hieroglyphics and the Phoenicians with their phonograms (think symbols that represent words, eg: # for ‘number’). This same crew are credited with developing the first alphabet, also used by the Greeks and Romans. 

Fast forward to the industrial revolution and typography was used across multiple mediums and media to communicate to the masses – from posters to newspapers – and saw the beginnings of experimentation with various sizes and styles of typefaces. 

Why is typography so important to graphic designers?

what is typography

Any design that incorporates the written word requires the use of typography. An essential element of design work, the selection of typeface can have a massive impact and alter the entire mood and style of a piece. 

Here are some of the key reasons typography is a vital element of a designer’s process:

  • Attract attention

Not only can typography attract the audience’s attention, but it can also hold it. If a fitting option has been selected, the desired message and mood can be conveyed. 

  • Typography builds brand identity and recognition

When a brand is being designed, the choice of typography is incredibly important as it will remain with that brand for the duration of its existence. Yes, rebranding does occur, but ideally you want to start out with typefaces that you intend to continue with long-term. The consistent application of your typeface design across all brand items, in print and online, will build brand recognition and reinforce brand identity. 

  • It gives personality to a brand

Typefaces each carry their own personality, which in turn reflect on the personality of the brand. A light, playful brand would want to lean toward typefaces that reflect these aspects, as opposed to something heavy, structured and dark. What is the energy and mood you want a brand to convey? Which typeface might reflect this?

  • Typography influences decision making

Designers need to consider what they are communicating with their designs and therefore which typography would best convey those messages. Typography can be incredibly persuasive when used in a way that evokes certain emotional reactions and can certainly influence decision making. Think about food packaging design and its typography – enticing you to buy it, eat it, and come back for more.

How do you choose the right typeface for a brand? 

Having a very clear understanding of the brand identity is fundamental to all design work, especially the selection or design of the typeface. Versatility also needs to be taken into account – consider the various applications the typeface may need to be used for and if the font would work across them all. 

Learning about different typefaces and how they work together can be a huge benefit. By studying graphic design you will learn about typeface combinations.

Font vs typeface examples

Font vs typeface examples

There is a difference between fonts and typefaces. While the two terms are often used interchangeably, they are both referring to different things. Typeface is used to describe a style of lettering, whereas font is used in reference to the variations of the typeface, such as the weight and size. 

What most people refer to as a font, say Times New Roman or Arial, are in actual fact, typefaces. 

Let’s break it down a little bit more.

Serif typefaces

Font vs typeface examples

Serifs are little ‘feet’ added to the end of a letter stroke. Design wise, it can project a sense of sophistication. Times New Roman ticks this box. There are other serif fonts with a bit more character and warmth, such as Georgia.

Sans serif typefaces

Sans serif typefaces

The Bauhaus movement were big supporters and users of sans serif fonts with their minimalist appeal and more laid back feel. Examples of popular sans serif typefaces include Helvetica and Futura.

Script typefaces

Script typefaces

With a handwriting style, this kind of typeface can be quite carefree, playful or elegant, depending on the approach. 

Okay, so what’s a font again?

Font is the definition of the typeface. Some typefaces have a wide range of weights – ultra light, thin, light, medium, bold, heavy and black are some of the common terms applied. The size of the typeface can dictate a font, as can the letterform width and if the typeface is in italics. 

What is leading and kerning?

These are tools designers use to help make typefaces and fonts achieve the desired visual outcome, supporting the impact of the text. 

Leading and kerning adjust the spacing in an area of text. Leading focuses on the vertical gaps between lines of text, whereas kerning manipulates the spaces between two characters. The adjustments of these spaces can make or break the layout of a design and support the designer in getting it ‘just right’. When text is adjusted correctly it makes it easier to read and more aesthetically pleasing. 

How to get into Graphic Design 

Keen to learn more about typography? You can delve into the detail and the creative application of typography by studying Graphic Design. 

For those looking for a career overhaul, Graphic Design: Transform will ensure you’re job ready by graduation and offers access to a Career Support Program which helps over 97% of graduates get straight into the industry.

Looking to complement your existing skillset? Graphic Design: Elevate will get you there, with premium content built by in-house experts. 

If you have any questions, our experienced team is here to discuss your training options. Speak to a course advisor and take the first steps in your Graphic Design journey.

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