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Cloud specialist and university join forces to address tech skills shortage

Pictured launching the cloud camp are (from left) Yazmin Fitzpatrick, Dr Nicola Ayre, associate head of the School of Computing at Ulster University, Novosco managing director Patrick McAliskey and John Murphy

WITH the north's booming IT sector announcing a wave of new jobs, its future engineers and analysts are participating in an innovative IT infrastructure summer camp all this week.

The five-day Novosco Cloud Camp in partnership with Ulster University - first launched in 2016 and free to students aged 16-17 and enrolled at schools and colleges across Northern Ireland - provides first-hand, practical experience in the management and development of IT infrastructure and systems in a fun and engaging learning environment.

Professional IT engineers from Novosco, experts from the Connected Health Innovation Centre (CHIC) at Ulster University and lecturers from the Ulster University School of Computing are facilitating the camp, which also includes a tour of Novosco's state-of-the-art Belfast headquarters at Catalyst Inc.

A mix of theory and hands-on experience, the camp covers networking, programming, IoT (internet of things), cloud computing, AI (artificial intelligence) and more.

The camp, running until Friday, will also utilise Ulster University's smart environment labs, which include some of the latest smart technologies, as well as a state-of-the-art robot, Sandy.

In a bid to nurture future IT talent during the camp and beyond, each student is also provided with a third-generation Raspberry Pi, a small and affordable computer used to learn programming, which they can keep.

Novosco managing director Patrick McAliskey said: “We are proud of the team we have built at Novosco, professionals who are some of the finest in their field, and it's our priority to retain this expertise and provide opportunities for continued development and growth within the company as we expand our horizons.

“Equally, we remain firmly committed to providing the resources and experience necessary to equip Northern Ireland's IT engineers, programmers and developers of the future with the skills they need to find employment in the sector and, ultimately, to drive forward its continued success and reaffirm Northern Ireland as a hub of industry-leading talent.”

Dr Nicola Ayre, associate head of the School of Computing at Ulster University, added: “Ulster University nurtures world-class IT and computing talent every year, students we are proud to say are industry-ready and sought-after by global companies, industry disruptors and local technology firms.

"Hosting the Novosco Cloud Camp allows us to showcase the breadth of opportunity a degree in computing offers to potential students. The knowledge and experience the budding IT professionals in attendance will gain about how Novosco stays ahead of the curve is invaluable.”

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