On 14 November 2018, 120 pupils and 12 teachers from 12 schools arrived at Titanic Belfast to find out about jobs in the tech scene in Northern Ireland.
The seminar was hosted by Belfast City Council, the Urban Villages Initiative and MakeMatic as part of a year–long programme of activity for both primary and post–primary schools in Belfast and Derry–Londonderry. Linsey Farrell, Director of the Urban Villages Initiative, explained that the vision was for “pupils [to] enhance their digital capacity and better equip and inspire young people to develop their digital skills.”
Pupils found out about the exciting developments in the tech scene and the core skills that they need – and that companies are looking for.
At his stall, Jonah was representing Fathom and championing UX, challenging the students to think about what was needed to build a product. He encouraged them to consider how to build a technology product while keeping the needs of the end user in mind using the example of making Instagram more accessible.
Activities helped the students to understand user requirements, including creating individual components which are more user–friendly for users with disabilities. Jonah also gave students some exposure to creating personas and wireframing.
Jonah speaking on the panel [digital image]. Property of author.
The seminar culminated in a panel discussion to help the students understand what they needed to start a job. The consensus was that there’s not one direct path to get a job, with A–level choices, university options and apprenticeship programmes all acknowledged to be viable paths to a successful career. And the good news was that the opportunities to work in these industries in Belfast have never been better.
Jonah’s key advice to students:
- Never stop learning – read more and learn more.
- Be proactive – start getting experience to put on your CV.
- Get experience by doing – it’s the thing that will stand out at interview.
- Network and make connections – get to know people in the chosen field.