IT job ads move online ‘gives false impression’

24 May 2006

There has been a dramatic increase in Irish IT job ads online in the past year, according to the latest Dublin City University (DCU) jobs survey. However, the move from newspaper advertising to online advertising may be giving out the impression that there are few jobs in the sector.

In the past year the number of Irish IT jobs advertised online increased by 42pc to more than 13,400. Adjusted to reflect jobs available now, this corresponds to 11,000 job vacancies in the sector, up from over 8,000 a year ago.

The jobs noted by the DCU survey cover a wide spectrum, including roles such as web developer, senior software engineer, embedded software developer, systems analyst, IT project management, IT sales and technical support. Some of them require a number of years’ prior experience, others are available for recent college graduates.

According to the survey the jobs here will be filled by graduates from abroad rather than by Irish graduates as the numbers applying to study computing still have not recovered from the sharp decline after the dotcom bubble burst.

It has been suggested by DCU that IT is being shunned by some school leavers as a career option because they think there aren’t jobs in the area: the move to advertise computing jobs on the internet, rather than in the traditional newspaper job sections, may give the impression that the number of jobs available is far fewer than is actually the case.

Prof Michael Ryan of DCU said: “Somehow students are not getting the picture. They seem stuck on the dotcom fiasco, now ancient history in this business. They should be looking at the future, where everything from entertainment to medical care to management will involve computers and software. The opportunities are vast. People with imagination and an entrepreneurial spirit who understand the technology are going to do extremely well.”

Ryan believes that part of the turn away from computing courses is due to a lack of understanding of what is involved. “It’s a far cry from the image of the ‘nerd’ hunched over a computer keyboard. You are more likely to find our graduates managing their own companies or acting as consultants or senior technical managers. The technology crops up everywhere so computing students acquire a broad foundation across a range of application areas. They develop abilities in critical thinking, in problem solving, organisation and management as well as an understanding of the technology. They have many career paths available to them.”

The Government’s Expert Skills Group’s projected demand for computing graduates in 2010, when this year’s college entrants will be graduating, is already seen by industry sources as an underestimate. The Expert Skills Group predicted a shortfall of between 1,217 and 2,313 in the supply of graduates in 2010 but the gap is expected to be significantly larger. It will be made up by graduates from abroad and already there have been Government initiatives aimed at facilitating work permits for those coming into the sector.

By Elaine Larkin