“Whether you want to uncover the secrets of the universe, or you want to pursue a career in the 21st century, computer programming is an essential skill to learn.”
– Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author
Griffith’s Head of Computing, Dr Waseem Akhtar contributed to a recent Silicon Republic article outlining the career choices open to computer programmers in Ireland.
Join a multinational or start your own business?
With there being a strong demand for skilled computer programmers in not only huge multinationals with HQs in Dublin, such as Google and Facebook, but also smaller medium-sized companies too, jobseekers have a range of options open to them. However, Ireland’s positive trends in entrepreneurship mean it’s one of the easiest places to start your own business too, and this gives computer programmers a third career path.
Dr Akhtar remarks that the individual’s career path is down to personality:
“In every academic programme there are usually modules and assignments where students learn about themselves, evaluate their own skills. In your final year’s project, for example, you could learn certain elements are not for you. There are graduates who think, ‘I’ve got my degree, now I’ll get a job in a multinational, use it as a springboard, avail of their professional opportunities and as I get going, my career will too.’”
Innovation and creative thinking are key to the success of start-ups but Dr Akhtar warns that aside from the glamour and buzz associated with start-ups at the moment in Ireland,
“from a graduate perspective, it’s a very lonely place. You have to make big decisions on your own. You have to be very confident in your own innovation and trust your own abilities. If you are a team player, who loves being part of team, maybe start-ups are not for you.”
Key skills needed for computer programming
For those looking to move into computer programming because of the increase in jobs, Dr Akhtar highlights the need for them to show evidence of a keen knowledge of programming and it’s use in the real world as “more than just a certificate saying you can do something,” is required when it comes to succeeding in a job interview.
Dr Akhtar concluded with highlighting three core competencies that all computer programmers need to master: critical thinking; effective problem-solving skills and an ability to model real-world problems from a mathematical perspective.
Written by Lydia Casey