The number of school leavers applying for honours degree computing courses has risen 5pc from 2006, according to CAO figures.
1,835 students applied for honours computing on their CAO application in 2007, up from 1,752 in 2006 but this is a long way from the 5,000 who applied in 1998.
In order to facilitate this turnaround the Higher Education Authority (HEA) has provided funding in areas including the support of completion rates in ICT courses, marketing, ICT staff and equipment and development of new flexible courses to attract those already in the workforce.
The recent media campaign, ‘Areyouupforit’, in which the HEA collaborated with The Irish Computer Society, ICT Ireland and Engineers Ireland is an example of how the HEA aims to make ICT more attractive to school leavers.
“Developing the ICT industry also continues to be an essential part of wider national industrial policy and recent successes such as the Google, IBM and Digiweb expansions have proven this message,” said HEA chairman Michael Kelly.
Kelly said: “The dotcom bubble is now well in the past and the ICT industry offers exciting and stable career opportunities for graduates.”
The dotcom bubble has long burst but Ireland’s educational facilities are moving steadily towards a new era of digital media with the opening of the Media Cube in Dun Laoghaire yesterday and the five-year review of the Digital Hub’s Liberties programme on Monday.
Speaking to Siliconrepublic.com at the Digital Hub on Monday, Minister for Communications Noel Dempsey TD said: “In general terms we are talking about going up the knowledge chain. We are talking about a knowledge society and a knowledge economy.”
By Marie Boran