Employment prospects in the area of computing have never been stronger in Ireland, according to Head of Department of Information Systems in the Institute of Technology in Sligo, Keith McManus. With college options currently being considered, he strongly recommends that students consider their aptitude for a career in information technology.
“Recent reports show that there are 2,500 unfilled jobs in the computing and games sector at the moment and there is no sign of that demand abating,” he said. “We have succeeded in attracting most of the big names in IT to Ireland and now all they ask of us is that we produce the graduates that they need.
With so many graduates now faced with no option but to seek employment abroad, it’s certainly a selling point to be able to state that we have close to100 per cent employment rate amongst our computing graduates, with the majority of them working here at home here in Ireland.”
Courses in Software Development, Web Development and Game Development are in high demand at IT Sligo, he said, and built-in professional accreditation is an added attraction; “Our courses include professional accreditation from the likes of Microsoft, Citrix and Cisco and this gives our graduates an added edge when looking for employment.”
Some students may find that they are intimidated or unsure about their aptitude or interest in specific areas of computing, and that’s why the courses at IT Sligo share a common first year – after which students can diversify into whichever area they like best. “Students have an opportunity to study a wide range of areas like gaming, cloud computing, web development and software development in their first year and they can make a decision after that point as to where their strengths lie,” he said.
Last year a team of four students from IT Sligo were the first Irish students to take first prize in the most prestigious student software development competition in the world, the Microsoft Imagine Cup, and this coup demonstrated the global reach and ability of the Institute’s graduates.
Selling computing to the next generation of third level students is crucial to maintain momentum in the industry, according to Keith McManus, and that’s why IT Sligo are planning to deliver fun, Scratch programming tutorials online to secondary schools in the North West region; “Scratch is an interactive, visual learning tool designed as an introduction to programming. We need to communicate the message clearly to the next generation that computing is accessible for everyone. Once we can provide the graduates with the right skill sets, the future for IT in Ireland looks set to remain bright.”
IT Sligo is also one of a consortium of Institutes of Technology who plan to start a conversion course for graduates from a non-computing background from next month. Graduates will not have to pay for these courses as they are being delivered on instruction from the Higher Education Authority to address the current skills shortage in the area.
Prospective IT Sligo students should check out its Facebook page for details on a photo competition to be in with a chance to win a iPad2. See www.facebook.com/itsligo for more details.
First Image; Computing students in IT Sligo have close to a 100 per cent employment rate.
Second Image; Students from IT Sligo were the first from Ireland to win the most prestigious student software development competition in the world last year, the Microsoft Imagine Cup. Pictured from left to right are the winning team, Matthew Madden, Calum Cawley, Aine Conaghan and James McNamara.