Creating a centre of digital excellence across Dublin
A new plan aims to put the city at the heart of the digital world, but what do people working in the area think of it?
In my own experience in Digi Women, we are finding more women who want to set up their own business and get involved in technology or start-ups. I think that women collaborate and network differently. What we need is a visual map that could be made available which would show people the various stages they need to go through to set up their own start-up and collate all the information. Start-ups and tech are seen as a vibrant young industry but it’s important we don’t make older people feel excluded. As a mother of two, you can feel like an outsider.
How do you make people over 30 feel like they’re a part of it? Places like the Digital Hub are great but they can be quite intimidating. A lot of ordinary people may never open the business pages of a newspaper, so it’s important to make this kind of information more accessible. It’s important that we change perceptions to ensure the industry is not seen as off limits to anyone, regardless of age or gender.
Director of innovation, Dublin City
University, and chief executive of
It’s a tremendous opportunity for Dublin. However, while wifi is good in Dublin city, there are issues with 3G and 4G connectivity which is coming down the line in the wider Dublin area, such as north Dublin and Wicklow.
Enabling a digital environment requires an absolutely top class mobile network because many of the new services that consumers will access requires mobility. For the vast majority of the public who avail of mobile data services, the speed of that service is quite variable and patchy and that needs to be looked at as a priority. The enablers for driving the digital economy are public wifi and domestic broadband for business. This initiative could spearhead many of the new breakthroughs that entrepreneurs and new companies are working on.
One of the problems facing these new companies trying to expand internationally is the lack of access to test beds. If we can demonstrate that there’s a new breed of enterprising companies that can get their products adopted, tested and trialled by State agencies, then I think the Dublin Digital Masterplan can be deemed a success. The economy needs these kinds of companies and should be given the support necessary as they will provide much-needed jobs.
Education is something the Dublin Digital Masterplan needs to address. In general, there does not seem to be much joined-up thinking from universities, classrooms and industry placement and onto final employment. Older people tend to have more work experience but not necessarily much digital experience.
There are huge efforts being made to fill this skills gap by a number of State agencies. We look for graduates in computer science, yet many are being taught old technologies as that is what the lecturers are familiar with, even though the technologies have moved on.
There are lots of opportunities due to the increase in digital media, but few graduates have the skills we require. I lecture business management students in NUI Maynooth and we create practical modules that will give them the skills we know employers are looking for from graduates.
Due to the challenging economic situation, there are a large amount of graduates and new arrivals to the country looking for career opportunities. The JobBridge programme offers interns to companies and we find that companies are using this to get help with digital. At SocialMedia.ie we specialise in digital and social media software and solutions for the Irish and UK markets.
In our experience as soon as we train the intern, they will leave to get a job as there is no incentive for them to stay for nine months.
Then you have a bureaucratic nightmare trying to get another one. There has to be a better strategy put in place in order to hang on to our talent.