5 Minutes With... Dr Nick Tate FACS CP BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD, CEng, CITP
6th October 2020
Dr Nick Tate FACS CP has dedicated many years’ service to ACS both nationally and in Queensland, in a wide range of roles.
Read about Dr Tate’s ICT leadership journey here and abroad and highlights of his volunteer work at ACS.
About Dr Nick Tate
Dr Nick Tate is a Fellow and Honorary Life Member of ACS and in addition to working as a Consultant at his own firm, he currently volunteers on the ACS National Management Committee as Vice President – Membership Boards, Chair of the ICT Educators Committee, and is the Immediate Past President for ACS Queensland.
Dr Tate is a Company Director, Adjunct Professor and Consultant and has considerable experience at the level of CIO in two London banks and at the University of Queensland (UQ). He is co-author of “A Director’s Guide to Governing Information Technology and Cybersecurity,” a book published by the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and has 20 years’ experience as a Company Director in 16 Australian and 2 US companies. He was director of the Australian Computer Emergency Response Team (AusCERT). AusCERT provided a single national point of contact for Cybersecurity Incidents within Australia as the National CERT.
Nick is Chair of the Council of ICT Associations (CICTA) and chaired the World Computer Congress in 2010. He was the National President of the Australian Computer Society (ACS) in 2012/2013 and is currently President of the South East Asia Regional Computing Confederation (SEARCC) Nick is also an adjunct professor in IT and electrical engineering at (UQ) and has written and presented widely on cybersecurity, cloud computing and big data.
Nick worked on the development of antimissile systems and real-time air traffic control systems before spending 20 years working for investment banks in both London and Australia. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, a Master’s degree in computer science, and a PhD in Cybersecurity.
1. Dr Tate, you currently wear numerous hats on a variety of Committees within the ACS National Governance structure, and you are the Immediate Past Chair of the ACS Queensland Branch. What do you see as the key purpose for ACS within Queensland’s ICT industry?
ACS’s key role is to support, extend and champion professionalism in ICT. This includes defining, recognising and upholding professional standards. These standards are as applicable in Queensland as they are in the rest of Australia. However, ACS Queensland has the additional and special role of working with Government, Industry and other professional groups to expand both the size of the profession in Queensland and the overall size of the ICT industry.
2. In your years with ACS in these official roles, what have been the best parts so far? What is the most pressing thing you’d like to achieve?
The best part so far has been to see the ACS grow in size to over 50,000 members and to see it grow in influence through our thought leadership publications such as the ACS Digital Pulse Report. Additionally, seeing our increasing activity and uptake in the areas Certification and Accreditation.
This has included recognition for our CPs under the Professional Standards Scheme jointly supported by all Governments in Australia.
We still have too small a proportion of ICT professional as members of the ACS, so I would like to see this grow. We also have too small a proportion of our Professional Division members holding Certified Professional (CP) status and I would very much like to see this grow. CPs (and our Certified Technologists, CTs), need to undertake and record their professional development and this is essential for all ICT professionals.
3. Technology changes fast, what’s your strategy for keeping your tech skills current?
I take every opportunity to upgrade my skills through undertaking around 50 hours of professional development each year. I also read widely and attend relevant online webinars whenever I can.
4. What is the biggest challenge you face in your day job and how do you address this challenge?
There are still too many organisations who do not employ ICT professionals in their ICT departments or on their ICT projects. Fixing up the unsatisfactory outcomes that flow from this remains a significant challenge. It is important to address this challenge by clearly and professional explain what is needed and by ensuring the people with appropriate skills undertake the work.
One of the biggest challenges that I have faced in my career was when I was Head of IT at the United Bank of Kuwait (UBK) in London. I was part of the senior management team that dealt with the bank’s response to the Kuwait crisis during the first Gulf War when Kuwait was invaded by Iraq. The bank’s customers were held at gunpoint, there was a run on the bank and an abolition of the bank’s currency of account. This required some agile responses from IT.
5. How do you best juggle the demands of tech leadership and your project work, family and your wide-ranging volunteer roles? What are your top tips for managing work/life/balance?
Make sure that you deliberately set aside some time for non-work activities and that you avoid work interruptions during this time. You need to find time to “switch off.”
6. How has ACS membership supported you throughout your ICT career?
ACS has provided access to thought leadership, to skills development and to networking opportunities. It has also provided an opportunity to give back to my profession.
7. What is the key piece of advice you’d give to leaders and emerging leaders within the ICT profession?
Ensure that you act professionally, that you keep your skills up to date and, if you are new to leadership, don’t be afraid to undertake some leadership training.
"5 Minutes With..." is a series of articles showcasing exceptional ACS Members and their amazing, innovative, and game changing stories. Representing over 48,000 tech professionals across Australia, our Members work across industry, government, research, and education organisations and each edition highlights the role they are playing in making Australia a world leader in technology talent, fostering innovation, and creating new forms of value.