Thoughts on the IT sector from leading tech figures.
Dr Waseem Akhtar, head of the Faculty of Computing Science, Griffith College Dublin
Even in these testing times, the global ICT industry showed 3-4pc growth in 2010 and further growth is predicted for 2011. Many of the world’s best-known brands have chosen Ireland as the hub of their European operations. As well as this, Irish innovation in the ICT sector is supported and funded by a number of government and semi-government entities. Although a well-educated and innovative workforce is a reality in Ireland, there is a significant skills shortage in the ICT sector. ICT companies are continuously complaining they cannot find suitable graduates for their jobs. A recent survey suggests that employers in the high-tech manufacturing sector have identified a 49pc gap in technical skills. This represents a huge opportunity for suitable graduates for work in Ireland.
Dave Fleming, senior vice-president and R&D head of technology, Citi
Globally technology, particularly software, is growing at a faster pace year-on-year as it embeds itself deeper into the global economy and into our daily lives. There is hardly an industry untouched by innovations enabled by technology. Ireland over the past decade has grown in significance and visibility in the global technology industry, given the rich vein of talent available and the high quality technology professionals being produced by the ecosystem of tech companies here. These attributes, along with the attractive corporate tax rate and R&D grant programmes, have attracted major players into Ireland, which has resulted in a significant number of employment opportunities. The global technology industry is currently a $1.6trn dollar business and there is no sign of it shrinking.
Sonya Curley, managing director, Harvey Nash
Ireland is one of the most important centres for high-tech business in the world. It accounts for more than a third of Ireland’s total exports – significant, considering 85pc of all our goods are exports. The reason for the growth has been twofold; one very significant factor has been the success of many of our indigenous IT companies winning international business, leading to increase in our exports. Along with an increase in the appetite for the goods and services of our indigenous companies, there has been a significant increase in foreign direct investment (FDI). With eight out of the top 10 technology companies announcing growth plans for 2011, there has been a large increase in demand for the top talent across a range of activities in the ICT sector.
Daragh Scaife, head of technology operations, Intuition
The adoption of exciting new technologies, such as Intuition’s mobile knowledge management platform, is relentless and drives global demand. The quality of Irish-based software developers is very high, which drives the industry here. The ICT industry worldwide has been expanding all the way through the recession. With all the doom and gloom here, this is easily overlooked by commentators and the media. There has never been a better time to work in the indigenous Irish software sector. Employers are very flexible and offer much better long-term opportunities than large global concerns, where it can be hard to make a difference. Entrepreneurial opportunities
abound and success and return can be much better, particularly for people at a stage in their career when they can afford to take risks.