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International Student’s Guide to Studying IT in New Zealand – Undergraduate

If you’re thinking of studying IT in New Zealand, you’re in luck! Now is the perfect time. The New Zealand IT sector is experiencing strong employment growth with more vacancies than any other sector in the economy.

IT in New Zealand

Jerry Li – Test Analyst, Yellow Pages Group. Unitec Bachelor of Computing Systems Graduate.

IT in New Zealand

This guide will help you choose the right career, course and tertiary education provider for your quality needs and your budget, all in 5 simple steps:

  1. Choose a career
  2. Determine your budget
  3. Choose a tertiary education provider
  4. Choose a course
  5. Contact KIWI ZONE to confirm your selection, explore alternative options and to kick start the application process. We offer the complete service from start to finish: FREE OF CHARGE.

If you prefer to skip this guide and get everything done for you: leave us a message in the contact form below.

Let’s move on.

We’ve done all the research for you in this guide to make it as simple as possible. You won’t find a lot of stats here – instead we’re focusing on recommendations and insider tips. If you’d like to go through the list of resources we’ve used (where you can find a lot of stats), head over to the resources section.

Right! First up, a quick note on KIWI ZONE and who we are:

And we can help you with:

For more information, please see: KIWI ZONE – About Us

We are actively involved with a number of tertiary education organizations mentioned in this guide to provide you with the most up to date and accurate information.

The KIWI ZONE International Student’s Guide to Studying in New Zealand: ICT, Electronics and Telecommunications – Undergraduate is continuously updated and improved.

Who is this guide for?

This guide is ideal for fresh school leavers who are considering to study ICT in New Zealand with a view to settle.

You will still find this guide useful even if you’re not planning on settling in New Zealand. After all, the Long Term Skill Shortage List is just that:

A list of occupations where there is a sustained and on-going shortage of highly skilled workers both globally and throughout New Zealand.

Why did we write this guide?

It’s a part of our motto at KIWI ZONE: We want you to make it. International students who read this guide:

  1. Have their expectations met,
  2. Study the right course with the right education provider,
  3. Get the right job,
  4. Have higher chances of settling in, and
  5. Don’t repeat mistakes others have made.

We recommend you to read the whole guide first, top to bottom – and later refer only to the sections you need.

Can you trust this guide?

Absolutely. All our recommendations are in line with:

This way you can rest assured that the qualification and a career you’ll be studying for will stay relevant and in demand in New Zealand long-term.

Let’s begin.

#1. Choose a Career

Simple! The country needs: ICT Managers, Management and Organisation Analysts, ICT Business and Systems Analysts, Multimedia Specialists and Web Developers, Software and Applications Programmers, Database and Systems Administrators, ICT Security Specialists, Computer Network Professionals, ICT Support and Test Engineers, Telecommunications Engineering Professionals, and ICT Support Technicians.

Click the title of each occupational group above to see its description and a list of occupations, alternative titles, specialisations, and tasks.

The New Zealand Long Term Skill Shortage List identifies 24 high-demand ICT occupations under the ICT, Electronics and Telecommunications occupational group. Here we present an alphabetical listing of 20 occupations relevant to this guide:

Keep this list handy: it will come in useful when it’s time to start looking for full-time work in New Zealand.

The are over 1900 ICT jobs in New Zealand. Expect this number to grow over time. Here’s a list of ICT job categories from SEEK, New Zealand’s No. 1 employment marketplace. Click the title of each category to see how many jobs there are at the moment (the list is sorted by overall popularity, does not work on mobile devices):

For more interesting stats about the ICT industry in New Zealand, please see the latest SEEK Industry Insights report:

Can’t decide? Skip this step and move on to #2. Determine Your Budget, or leave us a message in the contact form below.

Choosing the right career upfront is crucial: not only will it determine what you will study and where, but also your chances of settling in.

How? Well, at the end of the day, if your goal is to stay in New Zealand and become a resident, there will come a time when your immigration officer will have to look over your credentials and he/she will match, word for word:

Your qualification with either:

Your occupation title and related tasks with:

Your career choice is THE DETERMINING FACTOR. If your job doesn’t match with ANZSCO and any of the lists, or if your salary is below 40K per year, you won’t be able to stay.

For more information, please see: Immigration New Zealand – SM7.10 Skilled Employment

For more information about ANZSCO, see: ANZSCO – Overview

What’s important to know here is that ANZSCO occupational titles don’t match with the jobs you find on SEEK and Trade Me Jobs very well (or with any other job search website in New Zealand and Australia for that matter).

Why? To quote the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE):

Note: how statisticians define the industry and how the industry sees itself may be very different.

And it’s true.

When it comes time to search for full-time employment in New Zealand, your two* main options are:

*The third option here is your education provider’s career services centre.

These are the same job search websites MBIE uses for a lot of its research and reports (there’s also the Education Gazette, but it’s not popular).

When it comes to grouping jobs, SEEK and Trade Me Jobs do it differently. Don’t be surprised if you can’t find your desired occupation title on SEEK or Trade Me Jobs – it’s there, it’s just named differently. Check the job description to be sure, or better yet, contact the employer or the employment agency directly and ask.

Working Part-Time While You Study

Make sure you work part-time while you study. This is an absolute must for international students: it will increase your chances of getting in to full-time employment when you graduate.

It doesn’t matter where you work at first, as long as you plan your transition into a job related to your chosen career when you graduate. Your objective here is to get New Zealand work experience.

Just remember: you can work a maximum of 20 hours per week part-time.

For more information see: Immigration New Zealand – Working while studying

Right-o, next section.

#2. Determine Your Budget

Again, simple! There’s only two things you need to worry about here:

Living Expenses

You’ll need a minimum of NZ$15,000 per year available to cover your living expenses: rent, bills, food and your entertainment needs. This is a rule you have to follow.

For more information, please see: Immigration New Zealand – U3.20 Sufficient funds for maintenance while in New Zealand

Also note that all international students require insurance cover in New Zealand. Quick rule of thumb here: budget an extra $1000 for additional costs such as insurance and non-course related charges from your provider.

KIWI ZONE offer international student insurance for NZ$580 per year.

Tuition Fees

On top of that, you’ll need additional funds to cover your tuition fees. Now here’s an insider tip: the amount you budget to cover your tuition fees will ultimately determine your tertiary education provider, listed here in order of most to least expensive overall:

In turn, your education provider will ultimately determine which course you study. Universities and ITPs & PTEs simply don’t offer the same courses (SIMILAR, but not the same). A lot of courses mentioned on the Long Term Skill Shortage List are exclusive to universities, and out of those, the majority are provider-specific.

Here’s a complete list of tuition fees for qualifications mentioned on the Long Term Skill Shortage List:

Note: you won’t find courses cheaper than NZ$15,496 on that list. We know they’re out there, and we know what they are, but we are still researching the PTE section of this guide to make sure we only recommend the right courses with the right education providers as promised.

Well, now that you know what it costs to study, let’s move on to the next section!

#3. Choose a Tertiary Education Provider

New Zealand is a small country – and that’s the advantage. According to Education Counts, there are:

For a complete list of tertiary education providers please see: Education Counts – Tertiary Providers

We’ve narrowed down your choice of education providers to include only:

*We were surprised to learn that Lincoln University does not offer any courses relevant to this guide.

**We’re actively researching PTEs to include in this guide. Expect this number to grow.

If you simply want the best education available at any cost, and if you’re:

Choose universities.

If, instead, you prefer:

Choose ITPs.

If your education budget is limited, you only have a choice of:

If your budget is VERY limited, PTEs are your only option, listed here in order of most to least expensive overall (and, coincidentally, by quality):

For more information, please see: NZQA – Provider Categories

As mentioned earlier, if you’re taking a budget-first approach, this will limit your selection of education providers and courses. For more information please see: #2 Determine Your Budget.

If you’d like to learn more about the specifics of each provider type, leave us a message below.

Let’s move on to your options.


As we’ve mentioned above, you only have to choose between the following 7 universities:

Choosing a university is actually very simple. Surprise: it really doesn’t matter which university you choose. What’s more important is the course you want to study, and where in New Zealand you want to study. All New Zealand universities offer excellent quality education, a vibrant campus life and are well known by New Zealand employers.

What to expect:

For a list of courses, see: #4 Choose a Course

To see a list of locations for each university, do a quick search on: NZQA – Find Education Organisations

Think of New Zealand universities as WYSIWYG – “what you see is what you get”. Open any of the university prospectuses in the above list, or check out their websites – and you’ll find the EXACT same thing when you arrive. You’ll be happy no matter which university you choose.

If you’re having trouble picking one, feel free to move on to: #4 Choose a Course, or leave us a message below.

Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics

ITPs are often comparable in size to New Zealand universities and mainly focus on vocational degree level qualifications (including Level 5 and Level 6 diploma courses). All New Zealand ITPs are government-owned. You only have a choice of 10:

All New Zealand ITPs offer excellent quality education and are well known by New Zealand employers. Since NZQA introduced the category rating system (universities aren’t rated this way, but still follow the same NZQA quality guidelines), all New Zealand ITPs have made efforts to improve. In fact, give it another 3-6 years and ALL New Zealand ITPs will be Category 1.

This brings us to a couple of interesting insider tips:

It doesn’t matter which ITP you choose to study with, they’re all great. What’s more important is the course you want to study, and where in New Zealand you want to study.

What to expect:

For a list of courses, see: #4 Choose a Course

To see a list of locations for each ITP, do a quick search on: NZQA – Find Education Organisations

If you’d like some guidance on choosing an ITP, leave us a message below.

Private Training Establishments

There are over 500 PTEs in New Zealand, but only a small number are relevant to international students. Quality varies A LOT – that’s why you’ll only find Category 1 PTEs in this guide, and only some.

Note: this section of the guide is currently in active research. So far you’re safe to choose 1 PTE:

And one course:

When it comes to choosing, stick only with Category 1 PTEs if you can – this way you’re getting quality comparable to that of ITPs. Category 2 and Category 3 PTEs are best avoided. Category 4 PTEs are not allowed to accept international students.

For a complete list of Category 1 PTEs in New Zealand, see: NZQA – Category 1 PTEs

If you’ve already been recommended a PTE to study with, check their category ranking on the NZQA website: NZQA – Find Education Organisations

If you’ve already been recommended a course to study with a New Zealand PTE, check it against the list in: #4. Choose a Course

If you’d like further guidance on choosing a PTE, leave us a message below.

#4. Choose a Course

The New Zealand Long Term Skill Shortage List identifies 19 qualifications within the ICT, Electronics and Telecommunications section (including 3 qualifications not offered anywhere…). The following 12 qualifications are exclusive to universities:

The following 4 qualifications are exclusive to ITPs and PTEs:

All above courses offer bonus immigration points and a 12-month Graduate Job Search Visa. What determines where you’ll study is the specific course and major combination that you choose.

University ICT Courses

All international students are required to complete a foundation course before studying for any undergraduate course in a New Zealand university.

Here you have a wide selection of undergraduate ICT, Electronics and Telecommunication courses and majors to choose from, in most cases what you choose will limit where you will study:

Note: the term “majors” is exclusive to universities.

ITP and PTE ICT Courses

ITPs and PTEs offer essentially the same courses. Here you’ll find your choice of undergraduate courses is very limited. Which is fine! Makes it much easier to choose one:

Note: ITPs and PTEs offer “specialisations” vs “majors”, and the majority of undergraduate PTE courses don’t have specialisations. Whenever you can, steer toward Software Develoment.

Insider tip: by far the most popular undergraduate ITP/PTE IT course in New Zealand is the Bachelor of Information Technology.

Since this guide is based on the Long Term Skill Shortage List, you won’t find us recommending a lot of Diploma courses (Level 5 and Level 6). These diploma courses are mainly offered at ITPs and PTEs.


For detailed information about the New Zealand ICT sector please see the latest ICT Sector Report released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). The report provides in-depth analysis of New Zealand’s information and communications technology sector, and showcases New Zealand’s very strong performance in the ICT industry over the last few years:

Side note: the report above is the ONLY authoritative source of information about the New Zealand ICT sector.

For industry insights please see:

For ICT salary listings please see:

Additional resources:

#5. Contact KIWI ZONE

If you’re seriously thinking of studying undergrad IT in New Zealand, leave us a message below and a representative from KIWIZONE will get back to you shortly. KIWIZONE are a free education consultancy and we welcome your questions, feedback and comments.

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