Tech giants co-design Europe’s first data centre degree

29 Jun 20172.88k Views

Inside the Google data centre in west Dublin. Image: Google

Tech giants have co-designed a data centre engineering degree with Irish and Belgian colleges.

An upskilling programme to meet the needs of the data centre industry has emerged from IT Sligo and Haute École Louvain en Hainaut (HELHa) in Belgium.

The creators of the course claim that the new bachelor’s degree, a BEng in data centre facilities engineering, will be first of its kind in Europe.

‘This online course will increase the skills of people already working in the sector, and for those who wish to work in the industry going forward’

The programme was developed with input from a number of the major data centre operators in Ireland, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon.

Sligo-based engineering and technical services provider LotusWorks also contributed expertise.

As part of the programme, students will learn online but will also attend laboratories at HELHa.

Data centre boom

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There are currently more than 30 data centres operating in Ireland, principally in the Dublin region. Apple is planning to build an €850m data centre in Athenry, Galway, pending a crucial court verdict in Dublin tomorrow (30 June).

Complementing this news, IDA Ireland has contracted Jacobs Engineering to scout Ireland for further greenfield data centre locations in different parts of the country.

“Google’s data centres are some of the best in the world, and we look for the best talent to work with us,” said Denis Browne, EU regional data centre lead at Google.

“Thanks to IT Sligo and HELHa, this online course will increase the skills of people already working in the sector, and for those who wish to work in the industry going forward.”

Úna Parsons, head of the School of Engineering and Design at IT Sligo, said that data is the lifeblood of all modern industries and enterprises, and data centres are the engine room of this endless data flow.

She said that keeping data centres online at all times is essential; the operational efficiency of these facilities require technical staff that have the skills and ability to operate and maintain the centres to a very high standard.

“This bespoke new online facilities engineering programme is designed to upskill technical staff to an extremely high standard and, in the process, ensure that a pipeline of technical talent is available that meets the growing needs of data centres, which underpin global economic activity,” Parsons said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years