Canberra's Secret Digital Boom

It's bigger than you think when you make the move away from such a mainstream IT culture...

Canberra has a fast developing digital landscape, and it’s about to crack right open. Yes, the harsh truth is that it falls behind Sydney and Melbourne, however not for long. Is the market prepared for the boom? Well, the capital is starting to show an understanding of the gap between IT, Digital and Marketing and it’s creating a magic market! 

With interest in government now looking to make a shift into investment in digitization of public services, the departments in Canberra now have a lot of room to move on certain organisational functions and the cash to do it! However, they have very little support for Digital talent management here in Canberra, being such a heavily IT recruitment focused market.

Myself and team are looking to change this.

So what digital verticals is the capital embracing?


Digital strategy and transformation seems to be the main key. Probably because it encompasses a range of changes. But, it is so misunderstood. We are still seeing a majority of work being out-sourced, especially for the border line technology projects, however some organisations are starting to build out their digital functions internally, usually starting with an EL2 Director hire of some sort. The reason for this is to bolster the main fronts of content, service design, interaction and AI and also the utilization of more commercially focused UX strategies. In addition to this, there seems to be an endless project line of Apps and updates to sites. These are now being reviewed by internal digital leads across Canberra, if not still being built by agencies.


There are 3 main areas of design the larger departments are focusing on (especially due to a fluid budget). These are Interaction Design (for CX purpose), Service Design and Design Led Thinking. All 3 of these more modernized design functions do sit under the UX banner, however they are niche skill sets that allow organisations to take more control over what interaction they want to have with their communities. A good example of a current progressive interaction demand would be the ABS needing to solidify a good interactive strategy for the Same Sex Marriage vote.

Social and Content

With some large changes to a range of policy, there is a list of online content and campaigning that needs significant focus. In the past, a majority of this has been outsourced to agencies (digital and advertising) in Sydney and Melbourne, however, with the growing talent pool in Canberra, some departments are starting to bring this in house. It would be amazing to see more ownership of this by ad and digital agencies here in Canberra itself.

Data and AI

Now, AI has been around for long time. Go on to any government website and press a button and have the content read to you. That’s AI. BUT, the fact we can now teach applications to personalize things is far more advanced, and the government is using this to secure your personal information. In addition to this, data (which in the majority should belong to a CIO not a CDO), is being manipulated and reworked by digital teams to make interaction with the public targeted and efficient. How secure is your Facebook data?? ;)

What next?

If you’d like to learn more about Digital changes in the Capital, email me – [email protected] and we can discuss. If you’re looking for a move to Canberra and you’re a proven digital practitioner, let’s have a conversation about what projects you can add to your portfolio in market that is about to explode with opportunity. 

Watch this space, I won’t be staying quiet about it!

*Max is a Digital SME working from Canberra as Ajilon’s new Recruitment Strategist and Digital Lead, with more recent experience in Sydney, Melbourne, NZ, New York and the UK digital markets.


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