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Richard Cederberg talks Government, ACS and ICT opportunity

Thursday, 24 Mar 2016

Richard Cederberg has been a member of ACS since 2001. Although ICT wasn’t his first industry choice, Richard is now a Principal Adviser of Engagement & Innovation, Business Technology & Information Management, within the Department of Health & Human Services.

Ernest Stabek (ES), Chair of ACS Victoria's Government Relations sub-committee, sat down with Richard Cederberg (RC) to discuss what lead him to a career in ICT.

Richard Cederberg
ES: Tell us a bit about yourself and your pathway into ACS?

RC: I actually started my career as a Registered Nurse in Sweden, and it was only years later when I moved to London that I changed my career and moved into ICT. My initial attraction to ACS was purely practical as a membership helped confirm my ICT skills when applying for VISA's to migrate to Australia. In fact, during the first few years of membership I was not active at all. It was only later that I realised that there was a significant network of like-minded people to connect and to share ideas with. Since this realisation I have become more active and been involved in a few of the Special Interest Groups (SIG's).

ES: What first attracted you to taking up a career in ICT?
RC: To be honest, it was really a decision based on what I didn't want to do. As mentioned, I was a registered nurse in Sweden (and later Denmark) but when I moved to London I was looking into what nursing was like there and spent a few weeks working as an unregistered volunteer in a couple of hospitals. I quickly realised that this was not an environment where I could work, and the obvious question for me was: what can I do that takes the least amount of study and provide the most amount of money? Since this was in 1996 the equally obvious answer was ICT - and thus I embarked on the quest to save the world from Y2K.

ES: What is your passion in life?
RC: Having grown up in a country as environmentally and socially conscious as Sweden; those types of issues are always close to my heart. So a fair bit of my time is spent trying to lead by example for my children where, for example, I try to ensure that they question where things come from, how it was produced, and what we may do in order to influence improvements without necessarily sacrificing our own enjoyment.

ES: What is your favourite piece of technology?
RC: Really hard to say - technology is so ubiquitous nowadays and I like a lot of it. 3D printers, augmented reality, wearable diagnostic and health monitoring tools and so on. Though at the moment I think I am in love with our new robotic vacuum cleaner - we have named 'her' Rosemary and I think she is currently the family favourite (although our cats are not quite as convinced)!

ES: Where do you see the opportunities in ICT will be in the future?
RC: Further connected information that can help us in more and more ways both from a personal perspective as well as informing government and industry on key trends and behaviours. Those that can master the art of deriving real intelligence out of it all will truly rule.

ES: What ideas/tips or traps would you like to share with fellow ACS members?
RC: I think that as the technology is storming ahead many of us are losing touch with how it all works, we only really dabble in the user experience levels, or possibly down to configuration levels of our tools. Very few of us are still in the true creation side of things, and I fear that it will be harder and harder for our next generations to understand it. "So, what?" you may say... but as with everything, knowledge is power, and I think that if we keep outsourcing things to others to do the tricky and boring parts we will soon find us dependent on very few powerhouses... and as recent reports show, Australia has over the past decade been steadily falling behind in both education as well as entrepreneurial and innovation skills. How will our kids be able to excel in the future of ICT if they do not understand advanced maths and how to formulate complex algorithms?