Ireland: the perfect launchpad for your technology career

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Ireland is a global leader in the tech industry and is the global and EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Asia) headquarters of many household technology names. According to the Irish Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, there are currently about 80,000 people employed within the sector, with well over 700 companies currently operating within the sector within Ireland. While Dublin is the main hub of tech industry activity, the real strength of the tech industry in Ireland is its diversity in terms of location and legacy in terms of how long many major tech firms have been operating here. From Microsoft, Google, Twitter and Facebook in Dublin, to Apple in Cork, HP and Intel in Kildare, there are growing clusters of tech activity throughout the country, with Galway, Limerick and Waterford also the locations of major indigenous and international technology operations.

Northern Ireland’s tech sector is a massive employer, contributing more than £1.5 billion to the economy. Over 100 international tech investors are in Northern Ireland, making it one of Europe’s leading investment regions for technology and software. 13 university related research centres exist in Northern Ireland in such tech areas as security, wireless technology, digital media, semiconductors and telecommunications.

The tech sector in Ireland:

  • Worth more than €35 billion in exports to the Irish economy according to the IDA

  • Home to 16 of the top 20 global tech companies

  • Home to the top three enterprise software providers

  • Three of the globe’s top five gaming companies

  • Nine of the top ten global software companies

  • Nine of the top ten US technology companies

  • Home to the top three global enterprise software companies

  • 40+ companies in Ireland use or are developing AI technologies

Roles currently in demand within the technology industry include:

  • Business analysts

  • Applications developers

  • Client account managers

  • Database administrators

  • Foreign language tech support

  • Games testing and design

  • Programmers proficient in programming languages such as Java, Oracle/SQL and .net)

  • Systems analysts/engineers

  • Technical analysts

  • Technical architects

  • Technology security analysts

  • Test engineers

  • Web developers

What if you don’t have a technology related degree?

A technology specific degree isn’t essential for a career in the sector, as such diverse skills as finance, marketing, HR and sales are also required. If you do wish to pursue a career in the strictly tech-oriented side, most colleges offer conversion courses specifically designed to convert your current academic path into one more in line with the technology sector.

University College Cork’s Higher Diploma in Applied Computing Technology and TU Dublin’s Higher Diploma in Science and Computing are two examples of courses that provide non-technology graduates with the opportunity to acquire the theoretical knowledge and practical experience the technology sector demands.

Employment trends

Skills such as those listed above are in demand not just in Ireland, but across Europe. The EU Commission estimates that throughout the Union, there could be more than 800,000 jobs that are seeking those with the right technology skills.

As well as access to the EU single market, Ireland offers some other benefits including being the only English-speaking country in the EU, well-paid jobs, a world-renowned education system, a low corporate tax rate, and the Euro currency, meaning there are no exchange fees when dealing with most EU countries.

Ireland’s tech sector is now the highest-paid sector of the Irish economy. 40% of Ireland’s GDP comes from its tech sector. The country is now the go-to choice for the location of international tech headquarters. Three quarters of jobs in the sector go to those with third level qualifications while the most common age group hired is 25–34, accounting for over 40% of new hires. This illustrates how postgraduate applicants and those transitioning from other sectors are successfully being hired in the sector. According to gradireland research, the average starting salary in this sector for graduates is just under €32,000. Technology accounts for the largest share of new employment permits issued in Ireland each year. This creates a challenge for companies seeking the right graduates and jobseekers. More than half of the employment permits issued went to positions offering salaries between €30,000 and €50,000.

Growth roles in technology

1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are two very hot buzzwords that have become synonymous with innovation. Today, AI and ML are used in a vast number of services and tools.

Skills such as TensorFlow, Python, Java, R, and Natural Language Processing are skills that you should learn today to improve your chances of getting hired for an AI or ML job as these skills now have the highest demand.

Learning to build chatbots is also one of the most in-demand skills that come under AI and ML. You must have noticed that AI deals with customer service interactions and queries on many websites and that chatbots pop up when you visit these websites. AI-operated chatbots are being deployed extensively by several major industries.

2. Cloud computing

It’s very important for any company that collects sensitive customer information or deals with sensitive data of its own, to keep their networks secure. Almost every major company today stores customer and company data in databases, making cybersecurity one of the top technology trends.

Cybersecurity, information security, network security, and vulnerability assessment are the best skills to learn to land a job as a cybersecurity specialist. You also need a good knowledge of the basics of programming languages.

6 out of 15 top-paying IT certifications focus on security, so learning IT security is definitely a worthwhile addition to your tech CV.

3. Full Stack Development

While not a new job, the rapid pace of technology change has made full stack developers an asset for any company.

Both front-end and back-end developers have high demand in many countries, but full stack developers have even greater demand.

According to LinkedIn, the hiring rate for the role of full stack engineer has been at an annual growth rate of 35% since 2015. Currently, most in-demand coding languages across the globe are Go, JavaScript, Java, and Python. JavaScript is also the most used programming language. There are other coding languages with high demand but low supply due to fewer developers working with them.

4. AR and VR

Also known as Extended Reality (XR) is the collaboration of both Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). Many industries, such as entertainment, education, health, manufacturing, and advertising, have already adopted XR technology. According to industry data, demand growth for the role of AR/VR Engineer was 1400% in 2019 data.

5. Blockchain

Blockchain comes in the last place of this list due to the rapid decline in the popularity of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. But blockchain is not only used for cryptocurrency but is also used for peer-to-peer payments, crowdfunding, file storage, identity management, digital voting, and so on.

Therefore, more companies need developers who understand blockchain, smart contracts, and can build decentralised applications. Some of the blockchain skills you should learn are networking, database design, and programming languages ranging from Java, JavaScript, and C++ to Go, Solidity, and Python.

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