NCI to establish Cloud Competency Centre

13 Dec 2011

The scene at NCI's Cloud Arena event earlier this year

The National College of Ireland has revealed plans to launch a new Cloud Competency Centre to support the cloud computing industry locally and overseas. The college is currently recruiting a new head for the new centre.

The college aims to fulfil the rapidly growing educational needs of the cloud computing and web technology sectors.

The Cloud Competency Centre will be part of NCI’s established School of Computing, which delivers programmes from certificate to doctorate level and is already a leading provider of education in the cloud-computing area.

“The cloud computing industry has the potential to be a critical contributor to the Irish economy in terms of growth and providing jobs,” explained NCI president Dr Phillip Matthews.

“As the industry is still evolving worldwide, there are real opportunities for Ireland to position itself as a global leader in this field. By establishing one of the first significant centres of excellence for teaching and research in cloud computing, National College of Ireland seeks to support Ireland in taking a leadership role in this vital industry.”

New head being sought for Cloud Competency Centre

A new position is being created in the college to lead the Cloud Competency Centre.

As well as creating a centre of excellence for advanced learning and research in cloud computing, the individual will have responsibility for establishing the centre and its strategic and operational management.

The Dean of NCI’s School of Computing, Dr Pramod Pathak, said the establishment of the centre would help to bridge the recognised skills shortage in the web technologies and cloud computing areas.

“The establishment of the centre is fully supported and endorsed by international and local industry at the very highest level,” Pathak said.

“In addition to providing educational programmes and undertaking relevant industry research, the centre will support many organisations in migrating to a cloud-based platform and provide business incubation opportunities, as well as an established route to commercialisation.”

The centre has been developed in collaboration with a high-level advisory board, which consists of industry representatives from companies including Microsoft, IBM, Fujitsu and Google.

“The cloud computing industry is facing significant demand for specific ICT skills and we wholeheartedly welcome the establishment of the NCI Cloud Competency Centre,” said Regina Moran, CEO, Fujitsu Ireland and chair of ICT Ireland.

“With a balance of real-world and academic subject matter, coupled with a problem-based learning approach, we believe the centre will have a significantly positive impact on the quality and quantity of Ireland’s graduates, which will increase our global competitiveness in this critical field.“

Many indigenous Irish ICT organisations, across all sectors of the business and technology communities, are also represented on the advisory board. These include Staff Balance, Tradefacilitate, DANU Technologies and Orca Resources.

Ciaran McGowan, CEO of Staff Balance, said: “This centre will be of real benefit to our indigenous tech and software industries. As a HPSU, we have had to look outside Ireland to acquire technical talent in the cloud technology area.

“At a time when Ireland is feeling the pain of increased unemployment, it is ironic that we don’t have sufficient technical talent here to fulfil the demand. Cloud computing skills are among the biggest in demand and NCI is being very proactive to help fill this void and create much-needed Irish jobs.

“The centre also has the capacity to support local companies to scale up and move their operations to the next level, which is critical for the future of the industry and the economy as a whole.”

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