Tech Week festival to attract over 100,000 students

Event which seeks to promote technology-related subjects, promises fun for all

Sarah Guillement, Kacey Phillppe, Kiran Byrne and Nathan Kennedy pictured with Bumblebee the Robot at Merrion Square, Dublin for the launch of Tech Week 2016

Sarah Guillement, Kacey Phillppe, Kiran Byrne and Nathan Kennedy pictured with Bumblebee the Robot at Merrion Square, Dublin for the launch of Tech Week 2016

 

More than 100,000 students across Ireland are expected to take part in this year’s Tech Week, an annual festival promoting technology-related careers and courses.

The event, which is now in its third year, runs from April 26th to May 2nd and will provide opportunities for young people to learn about how technology is now part of almost everything they are passionate about. Among this year’s highlights are the return of the F1 in Schools finals, the Bebras computing challenge, and Ada.Ada.Ada, an interactive show that tells the story of Ada Lovelace and how she invented the first complex computer programme in 1843.

A Tech Week showcase will take place on April 28th that will offer a range of fun activities, including the National BizWorld entrepreneur finals and a scratch coding challenge.

Tech Week is organised by the Irish Computing Society (ICS). Supporters include Google, Salesforce, the Institute of Physics in Ireland, Dublin City University and Lero, the Irish software research centre.

ICS chief executive Jim Friars said that with an additional 45,000 skilled new ICT professionals required by 2018, it was important to do as much as possible to encourage young people to consider a career in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

“We’ve tried to position this as a way in which students, their parents and society in general can understand more the role technology plays. The aim is to excite people and show there’s more to a career in computing than just sitting in front of PC,” he said.

“We all engage with social media now and have technology in our homes, cars and workplaces and we’re trying to get people to recognise the centrality of it in our lives in a fun, engaging manner,” he added.

Science Foundation Ireland part funds the festival. Its director general, Prof Mark Ferguson said studying STEM subjects can be the starting point for a wide range of careers.

“Technology allows for diversity and it is important for students from a young age to recognise the wealth of opportunity out there for them. If you think about digitisation for example it covers everything from agriculture to sales and marketing, car supplies and so on. There is a world of options there for someone who studies STEM and it is something that is not going to go away either,” he said.