by Richard Buckley, Editor, Business Eye

The Northern Irish tech industry needs to tackle the widening skills gap to respond the emerging opportunities in Artificial Intelligence. That was the take home message from the opening day of BelTech 2019.


BelTech is the premier technology event for local software practitioners, business leaders, entrepreneurs and young people aspiring to break into the industry.

Opening the sixth annual BelTech event, Tom Gray, Group Chief Technology Officer at Kainos, said: “We need to ensure we have the right skills for the industry or Northern Ireland will be left behind on the global market.

“There is a need to debunk the myth that the tech industry is only for people who code. We have a responsibility to help people understand the breadth of skills that are essential in our industry. Problem solvers, designers, communicators, collaborators, and project managers are all fundamental roles within the emerging technology sector,” he added.

Over 370 delegates attended the sixth annual BelTech conference yesterday at Titanic Belfast. Guests heard from Managing Director of Techstars Toronto, Sunil Sharma who said there were lessons Belfast could learn from the growth of Toronto’s tech sector said:

“Policy makers need to create cities that are attractive to disruptive tech start-ups to sustain the growth of Northern Ireland’s thriving tech community,” he said.

BelTech is curated and sponsored by Northern Ireland-based digital solutions provider Kainos Software and features influential international speakers from the worlds of Software Engineering and Artificial Intelligence.

This year BelTech launched a new stream as part of the programme aimed at technologists with an interest in exploiting the application and growth of technology. The new BelTech Business stream focussed on innovators looking to build technology that will enhance business.

The second day of the event (Friday 12th April) was focused on education, with 500 post-primary students attending inspirational sessions delivered by local and global high tech organisations on how to achieve sustainable career paths in software engineering and artificial intelligence.

The conference includes hosts and speakers from prominent members of Northern Ireland’s tech community such as, Chris Johnston (Adoreboard), Graeme Clarke (Expleo Digital Labs), Stephen Anderson (Made to Engage), and Alan Beck (Syndeo).

Sponsors of BelTech 2019 also include AWS, Allstate, Hays and Unosquare.

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Tom Gray from Kainos, business stream keynote speaker Maria McKavanagh from Verv, Lord Mayor of Belfast Deirdre Hargey and conference keynote speaker Sunil Sharma, MD of Techstars Toronto.

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