Certificate in Secure IT and Deep/Machine Learning

  • NFQ Level 8
  • Points Required NA*
  • Course Code NA
  • Award Certificate
  • Duration 1

Course Summary

This Level 8 Certificate in "Secure IT Engineering & Deep Machine Learning" has been developed with the intent of up-skilling engineers/computer scientists with a body of knowledge in the critical areas of security, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Thought of particular relevance to the autonomous vehicle industry both regionally and internationally, the content is inherently of importance across the software field.

The course is multidisciplinary in nature - it builds on existing software skills to identify and address key security issues. Software security is an ongoing process involving people and practices, and ensures application confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Secure software is the result of security aware software development processes where security is built in and thus software is developed with security in mind.

Building on advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning automates analytical model building. The programme employs neural networks, statistics, operations research and physics to find hidden insights in data without being explicitly programmed where to look or what to conclude. Deep learning content will leverage neural networks with many layers of processing units, taking advantage of advances in computing power and improved training techniques to learn complex patterns in large amounts of data. Common applications will include image and speech recognition.
The Level 8 Certificate in Secure IT Engineering & Deep Machine Learning is offered in an online manner, utilising IT Sligo’s online delivery techniques. Lectures will run between 6pm and 9pm to facilitate the target market of those in industry hoping to up-skill. The students will be required to attend practical/hands-on sessions once per semester.

Learn more about computing in general at IT Sligo.

For all IT Sligo Springboard programmes, the participants will be enrolled on a mandatory and accredited ‘Personal Effectiveness and Employability’ programme and also a structured job readiness programme called ‘Get Working’ that will be delivered by distance learning using an enquiry based and interactive learning approach. These programmes are designed to improve the employability skills of the students with particular emphasis on CV and Interview preparation and on the job transferable skills to become an effective team member. These modules will also outline the skills needed for effective engagement in the workplace.

The course entitled “Get Working” is developed and hosted by HR specialists. During this programme the students will gain the technical skills and knowledge for work in the Biopharma and Med Tech manufacturing sectors, this job readiness programme will compliment that learning by enhancing the student’s employability. This programme consists of topics including, ‘Strategies for job readiness’, ‘What I have to offer’, ‘Identifying the right role & target employers’ as well as ‘Preparing for interviews’.

The ‘Personal Effectiveness and Employability’ programme has been assigned 10 credits and will be delivered in semester two following the ‘Get Working’ programme and on completion of this module the learner will be able to develop an independent, self-managed, reflective approach to study and work. They will become familiar with workplace cultures and collaborate effectively in groups, teams and meetings.

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements for CAO courses at ATU Sligo are available for download below:

Graduates with a Level 7 Ordinary Degree 2:1 or above in Computer Science or a related technical discipline are eligible to apply for this programme. Object-oriented programming knowledge at Level 7 would be expected.

Applicants who do not meet these criteria, but have the willingness to address them will be considered. Candidate interviews and entrance exams will be used to assess suitability for the programme.

In addition, international students, whose first language is not English, will be required to prove their English competency through previous examination results, recognized English language tests such as IELTS (6.5 or equivalent required) and through oral communication skills at interview.

Career Opportunities

The software industry is exceptionally strong in Ireland, providing a significant number of employment opportunities in a wide variety of organisation. The opportunities are with both indigenous Irish companies and large multinational organisations and not only in what you would call “tech” companies such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook. All sectors require software professionals and there are many opportunities in traditional sectors such as finance, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, health and service industries.

The outlook is positive. Morgan McKinley report demand for software developers shows “no sign of slowing down”. It continues: “Over the past 12 months salaries have increased across the majority of areas particularly in the development space.”

Entry-Level roles that graduates may fill in the I.T. Security sector include the following:

  • Software/Network Vulnerability Analyst.
  • Threat Auditor.
  • Cybersecurity Analyst.
  • Cybersecurity Engineer.
  • Software Security Engineer.
  • Quality Assurance Engineer/Software Tester.

Roles that graduates may fulfill in the AI Engineering sector include the following:

  • AI/ML Engineer.
  • AI/ML Programmer
  • Software Developer.

Further Study

Students are well positioned to progress to a Level 8 Honours degree and then to Master's study. An online BSc (Hons) Software Development programme is available at IT Sligo for which this Certificate would offer exemptions.


Joe Dunleavy: I am from Sligo and studied computer science in IT Sligo successfully qualifying with a Bsc. in Computing in 2002. I started my career in Microsoft in Dublin before spending some time in a tech start up at Sligo IT. After that I moved to Letterkenny where I currently head up our disruptive technology innovation office in Pramerica. I have been with Pramerica now for 13 years and in that time I had an international rotation for 3 years with my family to the US with our parent company Prudential in 2012.
Sligo IT was a great place to study. I made great friends there, learned critical skills to help me to have a rewarding career in technology and I had many great nights out and laughs along the way in my time there.


Clive Foley, CTO and co-founder of Plynk.io - a money messaging app - presides over the largest private equity investment in an indigenous Irish company and his company's pending roll-out throughout Europe. Clive studied Software at IT Sligo and teaches/guest lectures occasionally.