The Covid-19 global pandemic has changed the way we work. It has increased the pace of what is already identified as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. For many people, it has meant unemployment. Those looking to invest in reskilling or upskilling in order to better position themselves in the jobs market should look to qualifications that are future proof.
Most people have heard of Blockchain as the distributed ledger technology behind cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, but it can be applied in every sector where verified information is required quickly and securely. In 2019, Glassdoor described Blockchain as “one of the hottest tech skills on the market”. The same article acknowledges the challenges in hiring for this emerging technology. The impetus towards digitisation caused by Covid-19 has increased the pressures on employers to understand and hire for this skill. Deloitte’s 2020 Global Blockchain Survey notes that “business leaders now see it as integral to organisational innovation”.
Qualification in this emerging technology puts graduates at the forefront of an expanding jobs market. National College of Ireland (NCI) offers a part-time Higher Diploma specialising in Blockchain, designed for those coming to ICT from other disciplines.
“At level 8, this course doesn’t assume that you already understand computing, but rather starts by guiding your problem-solving processes and teaching you technical skills. A facility for logic and language is definitely an advantage, and the hard work it takes to learn the fundamentals really pays off when you begin to specialise,” says Sean Heeney, who lectures on the Higher Diploma in Science in Computing at NCI.
Also starting with the basics and working to a sought-after expertise is the Higher Diploma specialising in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning.
At the core of AI and Machine Learning is pattern recognition, which allows computers to quickly react to certain scenarios, to spot anomalies, and to repeat processes consistently without losing concentration. The value to business is clear – but first businesses need to find employees with the necessary technological skills.
KPMG considers AI and Machine Learning to be “key components of the Fourth Industrial Revolution” and vital skills to cultivate in order to encourage foreign direct investment through Ireland’s workforce. A recent survey by PwC and the Analytics Institute reports that Irish business leaders know that AI is essential to maintaining their competitive advantage, but 52% express concern that they will not be able to meet demand for AI skills in the workforce.
The Government’s Future Jobs Ireland report clearly identifies Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence as areas in which Ireland is experiencing a ‘skills gap’. Springboard+ is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020, and provides courses designed to address the country’s skills gaps.
At NCI, the Higher Diplomas specialising in Blockchain and AI/Machine Learning are funded by Springboard+ and the Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1, and so are free of charge to those who are currently not working, and 90% of the cost of fees is covered for those who are in employment
Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence are ‘cutting edge’ technologies: give yourself a ‘cutting edge’ in the jobs market, with a qualification in an area where the supply of suitable candidates cannot yet meet the demand by employers.
More about NCI – www.ncirl.ie
National College of Ireland is one of Ireland’s most innovative third-level institutions with over 6,000 students across its key areas of business, computing, education, and psychology. Courses are delivered in its IFSC (Irish Financial Services Centre) campus and online. To date hundreds of NCI graduates have been qualified in areas like cloud computing, cybersecurity, and data analytics.
Information about our online open evenings for all our courses, and sample classes for some ICT courses, is available on our events page.
Teresa Murray, PR, National College of Ireland
[email protected] / 086 467 2800
More about Springboard at NCI – https://www.ncirl.ie/Springboard
Post Graduate Diplomas (validated by QQI at level 9 on the NFQ) in Data Analytics, Cloud Computing and Cybersecurity allow those who are already qualified or working in ICT to specialise at a higher level in these much sought-after areas.
Higher Diplomas (level 8) are designed for those who already hold a degree in a different area, who are moving into the field of ICT, and are suitable for those who are not already familiar with computer programming, offering specialisms in Data Analytics, Software Development, Cybersecurity and, this year for the first time, Blockchain and AI/Machine Learning.
National College of Ireland will accept non-standard applications to these courses on an individual basis. Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) takes into account a person’s years of work and life experience, even where they may have no formal qualification, and often opens up access to Higher Education that the mature student may have thought impossible. RPEL is a thorough process and takes time. Places on Springboard+ courses are limited. Now is the time to start the process that could change your life through education.
Companies who have employed NCI Springboard grads in the past include: SOLAS (Software Developer), Jaguar Land Rover (Senior Cloud DevOps Engineer), Version 1 (Java Developer), Ergo (Technical Account Manager), Dell (Graduate Programme, Enterprise Support), Civil Service (Software Developer), Fenergo (Java Developer), Openet (Graduate Software Engineer), Ding (Junior QA Engineer), Global Payments (Operations Analyst), Oracle (Senior Cloud Customer Operations Engineer).
Further Information – Springboard+ at NCI
Regina Dunne, Education and Training Adviser, National College of Ireland
[email protected] / 086 386 4201
Glassdoor on blockchain hiring: https://www.glassdoor.com/employers/blog/what-to-know-about-blockchain-hiring/
Deloitte 2020 Global Blockchain Survey: https://www2.deloitte.com/ie/en/pages/technology/articles/Global_Blockchain_survey.html
PwC 2019 Artificial Intelligence Survey: https://www.pwc.ie/issues/artificial-intelligence-six-priorities.html
KPMG article on the workforce of the future: https://home.kpmg/ie/en/home/insights/2020/02/shaping-the-fdi-workforce-of-the-future-consulting.html
Future Jobs Ireland 2019: https://dbei.gov.ie/en/Publications/Future-Jobs-Ireland-2019.html, which holds the following PDF: https://assets.gov.ie/6827/6cbfd223cf354f04ac1d7266032effdb.pdf
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