Building our digital capital

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It’s probably true that at this particular moment in time, we are a little bit guilty of over-emphasizing the positives when it comes to new job announcements. However, it is clear that there are enough sustained signs of growth for at least a cautious sense of optimism as certain trends begin to emerge.

With all manner of talking heads and government officials eagerly expounding the virtues of mobile app development, cloud computing, big data and so on, it is forgivable if the effect of such discussion begins grate on listeners after a while. We hear the suits utter seemingly outlandish proclamations such as ‘The ambition is for Ireland to become one of the digital capitals of the world’, and we wonder, how can we manage such a lofty goal when we couldn’t gather the wherewithal to link the two Luas lines together in our nation’s capital?

But there is earnest ambition in what they are saying. And there may just be some truth to it too: Ireland already acts as a European base for major international companies such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft; and whatever its follies, the government has invested significant funds in supporting start-up digital companies and enterprises; and there are a number of excellent college courses in computing to harness the raw talent here. The groundwork is actually pretty solid.

The recent announcement that almost 300 jobs are to be created by three homegrown Irish companies is, of course, great news. One of the companies, FeedHenry, is a cloud-based platform that enables large businesses to build and deploy mobile apps that are integrated with their business data. The company was successful in securing 7 million euro in investment.

Another of the companies, MickGarage.com, is an e-commerce retailer selling car parts and accessories. The company aims to expand it operations by setting up localized MicksGarage.com websites across nine European markets.

Add to this the fact that Facebook Ireland is to expand its European headquarters in Dublin, creating up to 300 jobs, and you have something resembling a strong, steady level of demand.

Such growth is, of course, good news for anyone studying in the area of software engineering, web development, web design and online marketing. However, it is not only computing graduates that are rubbing their hands together with anticipation. In order to support the growth of export-focused business, companies will also need to recruit project managers, business analysts and customer care staff.

We may not yet be a world capital in digital terms, but the expansion of the digital sector here will affect everyone, and we all have reason to celebrate its successes.


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