Filling the Skills Gap in the Irish ICT Sector
There is a lot of good news in the Irish Information & Communication Technology (ICT) sector: it already employs more than 105,000 people in Ireland directly an increase of 40 percent on 2010 and computer services deliver 22% of our national exports. As one of the economy’s fastest-growing sectors, ICT should have a rosy future, but significant skill shortages are casting a shadow on its potential.
Demand for ICT Professionals
Research conducted by cybersecurity experts iamcybersafe.org predicts an astonishing 1.5 million vacant positions in the international cybersecurity sector alone by 2020. With the growth of the Internet of things, there may be up to 30 million connected devices in use worldwide by 2020. Both of those areas will need a constant stream of talent to maintain relentless innovation.
According to a 2016 Collins McNicholas report on the Irish ICT industry, demand for qualified professionals in ICT will increase at a rate of 5 percent annually through 2018. Demand will be particularly strong in the areas of cloud computing, data analytics, cybersecurity, and the Internet of things.
Skill sets that are most likely to be in greatest demand include the following:
- Web developers with a grasp of Web 2.0 technologies and skilled in HTML, CSS, XHHTML, Ruby
- Games developers
- Software developers for Windows and UNIX/Linux operating systems.
- Computer architects and administrators experienced in big data analytics, CRM applications, and SQL server database administration
- Cloud computing specialists with expertise in cloud infrastructure, VMWare, and other virtualisation technology
- Network specialist engineers
- Technical support personnel
- Security experts
- ICT project managers
- Mobile technology applications developers
Addressing the Shortages
Filling the skills gap is not a short-term project. Business leaders and the Irish government will need to work together to make the country more competitive internationally by providing incentives for technical training for Irish professionals and designing the school curriculum so that children are educated to join a technological economy.