The IT industry has an image problem it desperately needs to shake if it is ever going to reach its potential.
One of the main issues is that the kids just don't think IT is cool. Or, perhaps more importantly, their parents don't think it's cool.
Research has found parents of school-leavers tend to discourage any interest their children may have in pursuing an IT-focused tertiary education because of a widely-held belief that such study leads to a dead-end career.
The perception is that an IT job means earning low wages sitting in front of a monitor for eight hours a day.
Trade Me founder turned multi-millionaire Sam Morgan might beg to differ, as might numerous other wealthy technology entrepreneurs such as AfterMail and Xero founder Rod Drury.
But the perception exists. And by failing to attracting the bright young things it should be, the ICT (information and communication technology) sector is failing to have the positive impact it needs to on our economic growth.
John Blackham, the chief executive of XSOL Software who is also a trustee of the High Growth Trust and a 30-year veteran of the technology business, is blunt about the implications of this problem.
"The ICT industry in New Zealand is in danger of disappearing," he says.
"It is dramatically under-resourced in terms of commitment from the country as a whole, Government and industry.
"People just don't understand the underlying importance of computer technology to almost everything we do.
"As a result we don't have anywhere near enough people entering the education system with an ICT future in mind and we certainly don't have enough exiting the education system looking for an ICT career."
Because of this shortage, those tech companies trying to make a go of it struggle to find the staff they need to grow, leading to a vicious circle or missed opportunities through under-investment in staff and research.
Blackham is excited, however, about a new initiative launched yesterday by the University of Auckland's Centre for Software Innovation, which he hopes will go some way to addressing the issue.
The centre last night did its best to gather the local tech industry glitterati to usher in its new Extenda programme, a partnership with the university's business school.
Extenda offers software development companies the skills and services of the university's graduate and post-graduate business and IT students with the aim of providing a fillip in the research and business planning arenas.
Initial costs to businesses joining the scheme are being kept down through funding from the Tertiary Education Commission.
The centre is a commercial venture set up by the university last year. If it can make money by expanding the sector's commitment to ICT research then good luck to it. Research vibrancy will be a good start towards making the sector more attractive to students.
John Hosking, professor of applied computer science at the university and a driving forces behind Extenda, says one problem is that senior technology staff in New Zealand businesses tend not to have post-graduate or often even degree qualifications. As a result, the companies they work for, while often successful at selling a single idea, can struggle when it comes to continuing to grow through innovation.
"Although they [the technology managers] are bright and innovative, they haven't been exposed to research methods as you would through doing a masters or PhD," he says.
"We'd like to open their eyes to what research can do to make companies grow quicker. Obviously we'd be interested in helping them do that research - we're quite open about that - but the name of the game is to raise a research culture within their companies, and allow them to grow quicker, be more innovative and avoid this one-product wonder trap that they get into."
Duncan Millar, business executive for IBM New Zealand's consulting division, says the success of entrepreneurs like Drury demonstrates the business potential of effective research.
Despite what mum and dad might be telling their kids about the alleged drudgery of IT, the future is bright for graduates with an understanding of both business and technology. Says Millar: "If this market was awash with people today that had a great blend of those two competences and skills I would snap them up tomorrow."