MORE investment needs to be made in exposing parents, teachers and peers to the broad range of jobs available in the tech sector and the creative and rewarding careers they offer.
That’s according to Gillian Bergin, the new chair of it@cork an independent, not-for-profit business organisation representing the interests of the tech industry throughout the region.
Set up in 1997, the organisation has 200 members and represents 30,000 employees, and the Cork woman is in the driving seat for the next year to influence the future of tech here.
Just as well it’s something the Senior Consultant in Global Business Transformation at Dell Technologies feels passionate about.
Born in Cork city, Gillian moved to Ballincollig when she was six and lives in Frankfield with her husband Mark and their two teenage sons, Alan and David.
“I’ve been with Dell Technologies (formerly Dell/EMC) for 28 years. I’ve always loved the balance of tech and business and that certainly influenced my direction of study and career choices along the way.
“I hold a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics and Computer Science; a Post Graduate Diploma in Accounting and Management Information Systems; and a Masters in Data Business,” she said.
Gillian feels the potential for Cork as a tech hub is immense with possibilities and the organisation has just launched TechFest 2021 to showcase this.
“This event, from May 25 to 27, can perfectly demonstrate how Cork is a central hub for innovation and showcase the thought leadership in the region.
Gillian is also committed to encourage women into STEM, and supporting diversity in the sector.
“In the words of Marian Wright Edelman ‘You cannot be what you cannot see’. Women like to see other women succeeding and having an impact in STEM careers before they can see themselves in those roles.
“I too had to visualise my career possibilities through the inspiration of women who blazed a trail before me, so I hope I can inspire others.
“I am very fortunate that throughout my career, in the companies I have worked for, there have been strong, realistic role models too; from female software engineers, developers, testers and programme managers to directors and board-level VPs — all delighted to share their experience and offer advice and encouragement.
She joined it@Cork back in 2013, primarily through the pursuit of professional interests.
“Almost immediately, I could see that it was an organisation that had a hugely diverse membership, representing not only mainstream and expert-led tech companies but visionary start-ups that were leading the way in terms of new and creative innovative technologies.
“In that eight years, I’ve seen the organisation grow and evolve and become firmly established as a voice for the sector across the region.
Her day job is about “driving transformational change across global teams, creating environments where innovation flourishes and removing impediments so teams can move fast and with agility”.
“So I will be working as hard to ensure it@Cork continues to look around corners and stays relevant,” she pledged.
As for what are the growth careers in the sector, her advice is to combine what you are good at with what you are passionate about: “That’s a winning combination. Tech offers endless possibilities, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, CyberSecurity, Emerging Technologies and Digital Health are just the tip of the iceberg.”
Naturally, like all sectors, Covid turned the tech industry upside down, but it has also revealed its power.
“We were presented with the most extraordinary challenges to how we work and live. Back in April, 2020, Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, was quoted as saying that ‘we’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.’ That resonated with me instantly as it reflected the power of the tech sector to drive and influence change. We cannot set the clock back. We must recognise the benefits of such acceleration and applaud society for its resilience and adaptability to change. The hybrid workforce is being established as ‘the new normal’ and remote working is here to stay.
“Business networks and personal communications will continue to evolve, demand on infrastructural support projects will intensify, urban/rural barriers will diminish, remote work hubs and clusters will build, and I look forward to the day when my take-out is delivered by drone!”
See itcork.ie for more information on TechFest. Tickets are free for students.