What can the UK learn from Europe’s tech capital?

Innovation in computing does not come out of thin air. You need highly skilled people, you need the technology, but most importantly you need the investment and the infrastructure to drive it forward.

This is where Ireland have got things so very right. And where the UK is still lagging behind.

UK industry will almost certainly lose out to other countries in terms of digital technology due to skills shortages if we don’t make more investment in this area. The best example of doing things right is this small country just across the water from England (some people have swum it you know!).

So what can the UK learn from Ireland, dubbed the Tech Capital of Europe, and how have they achieved this status?

There’s no secret that Ireland is a bit of a tax haven for big businesses, but that isn’t the only reason why so many international tech firms have their European headquarters in Dublin. It is a tech and innovation capital. In fact, there are some 300 multinational tech companies that have their European headquarters in Ireland.

If we must name a few we would mention Apple, Dell, Dropbox, Facebook, Google and Linkedin…and that’s just the tip of a rather large iceberg.

Dublin has, for many years, been the host of Web Summit, which when it began saw around 400 people turn up, and last year attracted over 40,000 people to the city. Overall the digital economy accounts for over 5% of Ireland’s entire GDP.

Ireland has invested heavily in tech, both in attracting international tech companies to make a home there, or encouraging Irish start-up tech firms. But on top of that there is investment in technology education and training and university research.

There are entire investment fund projects dedicated to putting money into tech start-up businesses. Ireland has invested heavily in Cloud, Big Data, and other technologies which has all resulted in a booming tech economy.

We work with many employers and partner universities and colleges to supply LPI Certification and we see the same recurring issue. There are not enough young people training in Linux computing to meet the demand. We are walking into a skills shortage crisis in the UK.

People talk a lot about the sad loss of manufacturing in the UK, and indeed that is true, but very few people are talking about, or thinking about the future industries in the UK and the fact that IT businesses are growing around the world. Companies are looking for highly trained software engineers, and Linux trained individuals every day, with few people to apply for each job.

If you are interested in this topic, you might be interested to read our previous blog article about Future Cert data which shows a significantly low number of women and young people are taking Linux exams. Join the debate via our Twitter page and let us know what you think @FutureCert