Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Caitriona Jackman from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:

Caitriona Jackman

Planetary Scientist

Smart Futures

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Caitriona Jackman
If you are considering full-time scientific research, try to get a work placement in a university department so you can see first hand what it’s like. It’s a relatively relaxed, flexible environment, but there is a certain degree of self-motivation needed. 

So I would say you need to be able to push  yourself and be proactive in terms of setting up collaborations with other scientists etc.
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Investigative?
Investigative
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with clever technology. They will often follow the latest developments in their chosen field, and prefer mentally stimulating environments.
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What are the main occupations in this sector?


Android/ iOS Developer - A mobile app developer chooses either Google's Android or Apple's iOS mobile platforms to use, then learns the programming languages for that platform. Currently, there are five major mobile platforms, each with its own core language(s) and development procedures but this in a state of constant change to keep up with the pace of new technology. Find out more here.

Animator - Animators are artists who use old and new technology to produce animated films that stand alone or are for commercials, computer games, pop music videos and websites. They create films or visual effects for production companies, major animation studios and computer games companies, and use various computer animation programmes and tools to improve light, texture and shadow. Find out more here.

Computer Scientist - Computer science is the study of how data and instructions are processed, stored and communicated by computers. It involves designing software and addressing important scientific questions about computing procedures but also involves many aspects of hardware and physical components of a large computer systems. Computer scientists are scientists and mathematicians who develop new ways to process, understand, store, communicate, and secure data. Find out more here.

Games Designer -  Games developers design and programme games for a variety of formats, such as consoles, wireless applications, the internet and mobile phones. They are involved in various stages of the creation of a game. Most specialise in a particular area such as design, programming, animation, audio, editing or production. Lead designers coordinate the design aspects. A game mechanics designer works on the balance of the game and its rule system to allow the player to experience the full range of activity in the game. The environmental designer creates the different scenarios and environments of the game. Find out more here.

IT Security Specialist - Any computer connected to the Internet is vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Cyber security is the technique used to protect computers and networks from these types of intrusions and from criminal attack. Specialists in cybersecurity are among the most sought-after professionals in the tech sector, as business and governments seek to fight off an increasingly daring and ruthless group of global cybercriminals and hackers. Find out more here.

Programmer -  Programmers write code. A programmer often works alone using a variety of computer languages, such as Visual Basic (.Net), Java (J2EE), XML and C++ to write software programmes. They modify the programme designs made by engineers and developers into a language that the computer can understand and follow. Find out more here.

Technical Writer - Technical writers turn complex, technical information into clear and simple language that is easy for either tech professionals or the general public to understand. They compose a variety of documents, such as software manuals, training manuals, assembly instructions, online customer service guides and technical reports. Technical writers often specialise in one field, such as software reporting or medical writing. Find out more here.

Web Designer - With a mix of skills from different backgrounds like IT, design and business, web designers design, test and maintain the websites and of companies and other organisations. They are familiar with programming languages such as HTML, ASP, JavaScript, C++, SQL and Visual Basic. Find out more here.

 

What types of employment contracts are there?


There is no typical employment contract in the ICT sector as it includes such a wide renge of employers and opportunities from small strart-up companies to large multinationls and everything inbetween.

Fulltime and parttime opportunities are available to suit your particular requirements.

 

How do you get a job in this sector?


Studying STEM subjects gives you a set of skills, such as critical thinking and problem-solving, creativity and innovation, design and communications, all of which are highly valued by many different types of employers.

How do you get involved?

If you are interested in learning more about coding why not try out one of the free Coder Dojo clubs all over the country?

Tech Week takes place in April each year all over Ireland, giving students, parents and teachers lots of opportunities to learn more about working in technology.

 


Education and Training... header image
What qualifications are required?


The most usual route into this sector is through taking a degree at a third level college, often following this with a post graduate qualification.

Some courses offer work placements during the programme which is particularly beneficial in obtaining employment after completing the degree.

Higher certificate courses (level 6) and ordinary degree programmes (level 7) are also available. Alternative routes include Post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) qualification in general computing/IT certificate or diploma.  There are also many online resources to supplement learning.

Typical qualifications include: Computer science, software engineering, information systems, business/management, physics/maths/applied science. 

Degrees in IT security, computer programming, computer science, information science, and computer/software engineering are common gateways. 

A bachelor’s degree in biotechnology. Students can attain a general science certificate/diploma, before progressing onto a biotechnology degree. Biochemistry, microbiology and pharmaceutical sciences are also relevant. Alternative routes include Post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) qualification in general science/ computing certificate or diploma or MedTech apprenticeships.

For more information about the qualifications that are required click here

 

What are the typical routes into this sector?


Typical qualifications include computer science, software engineering, information systems, business/management, physics/maths/applied science. Alternative routes include Post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) qualification in general computing/IT certificate or diploma.

As the technology used in the ICT sector is in a state of constant change many practitioners will make use of a wide variety of online resources to supplement learning.

If students are interested in biotechnology, they can peruse a bachelor’s degree in biotechnology or attain a general science certificate/diploma, before progressing towards a biotechnology qualification. Biochemistry, microbiology and pharmaceutical sciences are also relevant. Alternative routes include a post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) qualification in general science, a certificate or diploma in a computing subject or MedTech apprenticeships.

 


Meet our People...
"Its great to go through all the stages of development and design and see the product in someones hand at the end of it"
Meet the People Who Make the Technology You Use
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"When I realised at school that maths was about solving problems I had a flash of understanding that went from really not enjoying it to loving it. "
Meet the People Who Make the Technology You Use
Part Two
"The purpose of technology is to automate the things that people are bad at, so they can spend more time doing things they are good at"
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Karl Stanley
"Are your eyebrows on fleek? "
Teen Vs.Tech
#TechTeamTour

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About this Sector... header image
Please give an overview of your sector?


Video: Explore Ireland’s Coolest Tech Companies - #TechTeamTour

People working in STEM in Ireland are changing the face of the world we live in everyday, whether it is by making life-saving drugs and devices, researching new cures for cancer or creating new technologies that keep us healthier, safer and of course, entertain us.

ICT stands for Information Communications Technology. It refers to communication technologies such as the Internet, wireless networks, mobile phones etc.

A major part of ICT is computer coding/programming. Coding is like a computer language, which tells the computer what you want it to do. Apps, websites and software are created by coding.

Nine of the top ten multinational technology companies in the world, including Google, Intel, Microsoft and IBM all have offices in Ireland.

Many of the world's top selling medicines are made here too.

 

What is the size and scope of the sector?


Over the past decade, Ireland has grown into a global technology hub. We are now home to 9 of the top 10 global software companies, 9 of the top 10 US technology companies and all of the top 10 born on the internet companies. 

People working in STEM in Ireland are changing the face of the world we live in everyday, whether it is by making life-saving drugs and devices, researching new cures for cancer or creating new technologies that keep us healthier, safer and of course, entertain us.

Employment in the technology sector has increased by 30% over the last ten years in Ireland and salaries are on average 29% higher than in other sectors!

Many of the world's top selling medicines are made here too!

 

What are the current issues affecting this sector?


25,000 new roles were announced in the tech sector over the past five years, arising from expansion and replacement demand, a trend likely to continue into the future. A key factor for Ireland will be to ensure an adequate supply of ICT talent and skills from the domestic supply pool and global talent, to meet the needs of both foreign-owned and indigenous enterprises.

A huge range of roles that require technical skills also exists within non-technology sectors from marketing and sales, education, entertainment, to banking and even retail. A lot of people don't realise this and this can create problems for these large multi-national companies also.


 

What changes are anticipated over the next 5 years


The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs forecasts the demand for IT skills to be strong as organisations introduce new systems and migrate from existing systems to increasingly sophisticated online and/or cloud platforms.

Ireland is rapidly becoming a global leader in technology and the HEA has incentivised the state Higher Education Institutions to provide additional places in their computing courses across the country, to help increase the number of full-time undergraduate places on ICT courses at Level 8.

Higher Education Institutions all over Ireland are enrolling for Level 8 courses in the areas of Computing, Science, Information Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Students not applying through the CAO process can consider an offer through Springboard+ which offers over 2,700 free ICT course places, with part-time and full-time options available.

 

 

Are there any areas in your sector currently experiencing skills shortages?


There are so many STEM careers opportunities both abroad and in Ireland!

Currently, the highest demand is for graduates with STEM qualifications, particularly in the areas of medical devices, renewable energy and ICT.

 


About Us... header image



Video: What is Smart Futures?

Smart Futures is coordinated and managed by Science Foundation Ireland, in partnership with the Engineers Ireland's STEPS programme and is supported by 50+ organisations from research and academia, as well as partners such as BioPharma Ireland, the Royal Society of Chemistry, ICT Ireland, the Irish Medical Devices Association (IMDA), the Institute of Physics, the American Chamber of Commerce and many other stakeholder groups.  

Smart Futures aims to provide STEM career resources to students, teachers, guidance counsellors and parents in Ireland and stimulate an interest in STEM subjects in secondary school and at third level.