STEM Futures – Agri-food

STEM Futures: ICT

ICT is one of Northern Ireland's most important and growing sectors. It has over 700 companies, providing approximately 16,500 jobs. The ICT sector has a variety of exciting, transferrable job opportunities, highly sought after by employers, across a range of industries. A graduate salary starts in the region of £18000–£21000. Growth in the ICT sector is vital to our economy. Government and education bodies are working to ensure that the ICT sector reaches its maximum potential. You can find out more about some of the key jobs, employers and relevant opportunities here.

ICT Sector Profile

Are you the type of person who likes to ask questions about how things in the world around us work, for example your alarm clock, MP3 player, instant messaging, traffic lights, uploading to Facebook, watching the latest videos on YouTube? Then perhaps a career in ICT is for you. An ICT qualification could lead to a career in a variety of sectors such as healthcare, military, finance or science. A career in the ICT industry could help you to play a part in shaping the future for generations to come.

Jobs in the ICT sector

Some examples of jobs in the ICT sector are provided below:

Application and Software Development
Analytics – database, hardware, networks, security
Cloud Computing management and support
Database management
Systems Development
Engineer – hardware
Games and multimedia programming and support

Web Development
Technical support, Sales, Marketing, Finance, Operations
Software Engineers
Technical Support
Systems Designers
Systems Developers
ICT Managers
Hardware engineer
Infrastructure analyst
ICT security specialist

Java developer
LAN administrator
Platform developer
Systems analyst
Systems engineer
Systems programmer
Technical consultant
Technical sales representative
Technical support
WAN administrator
Web developer

Who are the employers in the ICT sector?

You will have heard of some of the biggest ICT companies, such as Google, Yahoo, EA Games and Apple, offering employment opportunities in Ireland and beyond. But did you know there are over 700 ICT-based companies operating in Northern Ireland? These include:

Amt-Sybex NI
Arrant Technology
Blue-fin Software Solutions

CyberSource NI
Fern Computer Services
Gazer Technologies
InVision Software

Leaf Consultancy
Pinnacle Computing
Serpico Software

Studying in the ICT sector

At School

In years 8, 9 and 10, you have opportunities to develop your Using ICT skills. You can do this across a range of subjects, such as Science and Technology, Mathematics and Art and Design. Developing your Using ICT skills can lead to a career in the ICT sector.

You will have a great choice of courses to study at GCSE that will help to prepare you to study ICT further.

Further and Higher Education

Colleges and universities throughout Ireland and the United Kingdom offer a range of ICT-related courses. In Northern Ireland, the courses available include:

Applied computing
Artificial intelligence with management
Business information technology
Computational finance
Computing and information systems
Computing and intelligent systems
Computer games development
Computing and information technology
Computer science

Cloud computing
Creative computing
Electronics and computer systems
Information and communication technologies
Information technology support
Interactive games development
Interactive media
Interactive multimedia design
IT management
Games programming
Graphic communications

Mathematics with computer science
Networking and security
Physics with computer science
Professional software development
Software development and computer networking
Software and electronic systems engineering
Software engineering
Web development
Web design and development

For more information on further and higher education courses visit: Further Education (FE) Colleges, Queens University, Belfast and/or Ulster University.

Future of the ICT sector

The ICT sector has a bright future. It has been targeted for growth and development. Experts have identified some key issues affecting the ICT sector.

These include a shortage of people in:

  • software development;
  • infrastructure management; and
  • applications management.

In the future, Northern Ireland ICT organisations are likely to recruit for roles in:

  • software development and engineering;
  • technical and PC support; and
  • systems design.

Global issues and trends

ICT is a growing sector worldwide. The Northern Ireland ICT sector is expected to provide 2,300 new jobs each year up to 2019.

Experts have predicted that transferring ICT processes to nearby countries, or nearshoring, will be important to the future of Northern Ireland, particularly in the health and finance sectors.

Packaged software development is a software application that operates in real-time (immediate response or without delay) and can be used across different sectors. Experts forecast that this will be important for the growth of the Northern Ireland economy.

Embedded systems are computer system embedded in larger systems that control specific functions. Digital watches and mobile phones are examples of embedded systems that you may be familiar with. Experts believe that Northern Ireland's economy will rely on innovative uses of embedded systems design in areas such as:

  • healthcare;
  • automotive and aerospace industries;
  • financial services; and
  • telecommunications.

STEM Futures

Areas of Learning

Science and Technology
Learning for Life and Work
The World Around Us