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Ireland: the perfect launchpad for your technology career

29 Sept 2023, 10:15

Ireland, a major player in the tech industry

Ireland is a global leader in the field of technology and is the global and EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Asia) headquarters of many household technology names. According to the IDA, there are currently over 106,000 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 activity, the real strength of the tech sector 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 and Meta 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 billions 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 is:

  • The second largest exporter of computer, IT and related services in the world
  • Worth more than €241 billion in exports to the Irish economy according to the CSO
  • Home to the top five global software firms
  • Nine of the top ten US technology companies
  • Four of the top five IT services companies

Roles currently in demand within the technology sector include:

  • Business analysts
  • App developers
  • Client account managers
  • Cloud architects
  • Cyber security engineers
  • Database administrators
  • Data Scientists
  • DevOps engineers
  • Foreign language tech support
  • Programmers
  • Systems analysts/engineers
  • Technical architects
  • Test engineers

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

A technology specific degree isn’t essential for a career in the sector, 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 and TU Dublin’s Higher Diploma in Science in 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. Visit to find the right conversion course for your needs.

Employment trends

Despite the tech sector’s stability over the past, it is not immune to downturns. As the Covid tech boom wore off, hiring freezes were put into place. Over 2023, the sector was hit by a significant number of high-profile layoffs. Companies such as Intel, Stripe, Microsoft, Salesforce Google, Spotify, IBM and Amazon have laid off significant numbers of their employees globally. However, many of these organisations still have a higher headcount than they had pre-Covid. It appears this is more of a hiccup than a long-term decline. The overall view is that this is a correction of Covid-related over hiring.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Simon Coveney, Minister for Enterprise said, "This is a correction in the tech sector but it is certainly not a crisis, I can assure you when the tech sector starts to grow again it will probably be growing out of Ireland rather than anywhere else."

The good news is that companies are looking to invest in new areas of business and are therefore still hiring. There is now an increased need for certain specialisations such as AI. The phenomenon may also entice people into working more with start-ups and SMEs. These companies have previously struggled to compete with multinational companies for hires. The tech start-up sector shows good promise for growth in Ireland.

Ireland remains an attractive country for tech companies. 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.

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.

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 a valuable 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.

Currently, the most in-demand coding languages across the globe are Go, JavaScript, Java, and Python. JavaScript is also the most commonly 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.

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.

gradireland editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the gradireland content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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