Paul Downey, director of AOL Platforms
Paul Downey, director of AOL Platforms. Image: Connor McKenna

AOL: Combatting the talent gap by developing STEM skills locally

25 Feb 2016

Career Zoo, Ireland’s largest tech recruitment event, took over The Convention Centre Dublin last weekend, bringing together some of the world’s biggest tech employers with some of its most talented individuals. AOL was on hand to meet engineers who are passionate about software.

We sat down with Paul Downey, director of AOL Platforms, to chat about retention, diversity and the tech pipeline.

Where other companies struggle to combat the end of the job-for-life mentality, AOL believes it’s ahead of the competition when it comes to retention.

“Because we have a good career path, we work with the latest technologies, and we have a big commitment to open source, I think we’re well-poised to deal with the challenge,” says Downey.

Part of that is due to AOL operating at the ‘bleeding edge’ of the tech industry, meaning engineers who work there aren’t stuck with old tech or legacy systems.

That’s not their only approach. “We believe in providing a career path. Our engineers can transition into senior management roles, senior architecture roles,” says Downey.

“We’re a global company, so you can work potentially anywhere in the world. More important than that, you can work anywhere across the tech stack.”

But AOL does more than just retain staff – it’s also interested in building them.

Developing the tech pipeline is a huge concern across the tech industry. Making sure that there are enough qualified people to fill the myriad roles on offer is vastly important in the sector.

For AOL, growing the pipeline means starting at home.

“We’re very interested in developing STEM skills locally,” says Downey, citing examples of AOL’s involvement in universities and primary schools, its welcoming of interns, and its commitment to Fastrack to IT (FIT).

To learn more about AOL’s approach to working in tech, watch Downey’s full interview:

Looking for tech jobs in Ireland? Check out our Featured Employers section for information on companies hiring right now.

Kirsty Tobin
By Kirsty Tobin

Kirsty Tobin served as careers editor of Silicon Republic from 2015 up to August 2017. When she was younger, she had a dream where she started and won a fight with a T-Rex, so she’s pretty sure she kicked butt at this, too. Passions include eating all the cake, watching more TV than is healthy and sassy comebacks.

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