Tech industry takes a break for support and development

7 Aug 2015

After our effusiveness last week, we should have guessed that jobs announcements would slacken off this week, just to spite us. Of course, that doesn’t mean the tech industry is in trouble. Anything but.

While the announcement of Ireland’s first rural digital hub – to be based in Cork – came with the promise of 500 jobs over the next five years, this week was, by and large, all about developing the pipeline and supporting those already in the tech industry.

Early in the week, news broke of the fantastic Isis Wenger. Wenger, an accomplished software engineer, appeared in an ad for her employer, OneLogin. In response to the vocal disbelief of Men on the Internet that she could possibly be an engineer, Wenger created the hashtag #iLookLikeAnEngineer.

To say it went viral pretty quickly would be an understatement, with women all over the world using the hashtag to once again nip institutional gender bias in the bud.

Netflix showed the world just how dedicated it is to keeping employees happy, with the streaming behemoth announcing that new parents would be granted unlimited maternity or paternity leave during the first year after the birth or adoption of a child.

And it wasn’t just those already in the tech industry who were making headlines this week.

To coincide with Lero’s annual report, the research centre’s director, Prof Mike Hinchey, called for early, school-based intervention in order to narrow the gender gap in tech.

Intel pledged US$5m to an initiative with Georgia Tech, a fund that would see 1,000 people from diverse backgrounds – women and underrepresented minorities – brought into tech.

We also ran our first piece of coverage from inside the Stemette’s Outbox Incubator house in London. Ciara Judge, our guest writer, gave us an insight into the incredible work Outbox Incubator is doing to support girls and young women as they develop business ideas.

Of course, while a lot of discussion tends to revolve around how to encourage diversity in tech, it can sometimes be easy to forget that the pipeline is already spitting out some incredibly talented young people.

This week saw the announcement of the 20 finalists for the 2015 Google Science Fair. We put together a list of five finalists to watch ahead of the finals in September – five finalists whose obvious intelligence made us all feel vaguely inadequate.

At the other end of the spectrum was the announcement that Intel will be supporting ed tech start-ups. In other words, the start-ups that will be shaping how technology is used in the classroom, perhaps inspiring a whole new generation of tech aficionados.

And, as always, we end on a l-eye-ght note (you may not see what we did there, but you will), gathering together 10 memes that will make an optometrist (see) smile. They might just give you a chuckle or two, too.

For more information on any of these stories, follow the links below.

1. 500 new jobs at Ireland’s first rural digital hub

A new digital hub for Skibbereen, Cork, is seeking to create 500 new jobs over the next five years, with an initial 75 or more jobs guaranteed in the start-up phase.

2. #Ilooklikeanengineer challenges gender constructs

Once again, the gender constructs that have existed for decades, particularly when it comes to careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) are being challenged on Twitter, this time through #Ilooklikeanengineer.

3. Netflix introduces unlimited paid parental leave

Netflix is to give employees unlimited maternity and paternity leave during the first year after the birth or adoption of a child, it has been announced.

4. Lero MD calls for early intervention in tech gender gap

Early teaching of mathematics and technology is essential in order to address the gender gap in the tech industry, according to Prof Mike Hinchey, director of Lero.

5. Intel launches US$5m fund to boost diversity in STEM

In a partnership with the Georgia Institute of Technology, Intel has launched a US$5m fund aimed at bringing 1,000 students from diverse backgrounds into tech.

6. Meet the girls getting ready to take on the tech world

A gang of STEM-loving girls has taken over a 12-bedroom house in London for Outbox Incubator, the world’s first-ever incubator for entrepreneurial girls. Outbox executive Ciara Judge introduces the six-week programme.

7. 5 Google Science Fair competitors to watch

Last month, we reported on the announcement of the 90 regional Google Science Fair finalists, three of whom were Irish entries to the prestigious contest. Unfortunately, none of the three has made it to the final 20, but the projects that have are certainly worth a closer look.

8. Intel Education Accelerator has $800,000 for ed tech

The Intel Education Accelerator – a specialised programme to help ed-tech start-ups transform education – opened its doors on Monday. Each of the eight innovative companies participating will be eligible to receive an investment of up to US$100,000.

9. 10 memes optometrists should see the funny side of

In this week’s look at the STEM sector, we examine the work of optometrists, something a sight more complex than it at first glance appears to be.

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Main image, via Shutterstock

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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