How Ireland’s IT talent has been upskilling during the pandemic

The tech talent in Ireland has kept busy and focused on improving their skills through the pandemic. Namratha Anbhat from GemPool shows which areas have grown the most.

Long before the pandemic struck, digital transformation was making its way through the employment industry and the pandemic only accelerated the rate at which it was adopted. The sudden shift in our way of life created new gaps in the market which called for new strategies and methodologies to be put into place.

The tech industry especially, the backbone of supporting this transformation, required the workforce to enhance and improve their skills to help deliver. The pandemic cutting out travel to and from work added useful time to everyone’s daily lives.

“The bottom line is in order to grow and move forward in your desired career path, it is key to keep learning and applying this knowledge in your professional endeavours”

Our research highlighted how candidates in the current Irish market upskilled within their own niches over the last year. The IT industry is an ever-evolving industry and to keep up and stay ahead of the curve, many people in the industry put time towards developing their skills to give them a better and stronger advantage.

Not only did individuals focus on this themselves, but there are many huge multinationals who are also committed to helping their employees upskill in order to support their growth.

To gain a better understanding of how the talent has invested in training and improved their technical skills over the past year, our team at GemPool Recruitment conducted research using our own research and using data supported by LinkedIn and have published the results below. We’ve broken down the different skills added to the profiles of various professionals within the tech market, over the course of the pandemic:

Front-end technologies

front end skills growth in Ireland

Most growth was seen in React as there has been a shift to React in many companies. This is due to the fact that it’s new and easy to use.

Angular is still on a steady incline as it’s the second most popular framework with skills gaps closing as Irish-based devs continue to up their JavaScript game.

It is interesting to see frontend developers upskilling in NodeJS which indicates a need for understanding of NodeJS and its libraries by frontend devs in their workplace.


In the last year, we have seen an increase in developers using PHP showcasing its strength as a language and movement in API’s.

PHP has seen increased use in areas such as Testing and DevOps. Trends are also being observed with strong combinations with the likes of Docker and Linux which is also showing how resilient PHP is and why it remains one of the most widely used development languages in the world. It’s fast, flexible and practical.

Project manager and IT project managers

Agile Project Management: There has been 14pc growth in people that upskilled in this area within the last year.

Agile is by far the most popular IT Project Management methodologies these days and this can be seen by the number of people furthering their learning in this area over the past year.

Courses like the PMP and Prince 2 certifications are popular among a lot of project managers and largely cover the agile methodology and how it works within a business context. 

Software development

software dev skills in Ireland.

Our report shows that there has been a 63pc increase in the number of people who have gained Kubernetes as a skill in the past year.

Kubernetes is a portable, extensible, open-source platform for managing containerised workloads and services, that facilitates both declarative configuration and automation. It has a large, rapidly growing ecosystem. Kubernetes services, support, and tools are widely available hence its popularity.

The next trend we noticed was a 60pc increase in microservice skills, which is a modern architecture style. Developers see the potential of this architecture as it enables the rapid, frequent and reliable delivery of large, complex applications.

Talent upskilling within frontend development showed – skills have increased by 42pc with a 43pc increase in TypeScript, a frontend Microsoft programming language, and a 41pc increase in React, a modern open source JavaScript library.

TypeScript released a new version in December 2020 and React released one in October 2020. We expect developers to continue upskilling in these areas throughout 2021.

An interesting note is that even though I suggested more of a backend stack with C# in the criteria, developers are upskilling within frontend development. This highlights that you want to get experience across the full stack and get a better understanding of the full software development life cycle.

Cloud technologies

There has been a 38pc increase of people developing Azure as a skill and a 37pc increase of people developing AWS as a skill, getting exposure to the Cloud is particularly important among developers.

Cloud is becoming increasingly popular with software development companies and hence it would be a good choice to upskill in this area. Where previously it was a preferred skill, it has now become a required skill on many job specifications.


A lot of Java Developers are upskilling and either becoming associated with the cloud.

Almost 75pc of Software Developers in this space have become associated with AWS.

Kafka, AWS, React, Kubernetes, and microservices are the five most popular right now for upskilling.

Network engineering

Network Engineering remains a high-demand skill set around the world. What we are seeing is that the larger the network, the more important skills such as scripting are becoming. So trends are showing a huge lift in Python Development skills over the last few years.

As networks get more complex, automation remains a critical part of a network engineers’ responsibility.

Hence, to make yourself more desirable to the companies with larger networks this would take your career to the next pay scale in your network engineering career.

We are also seeing huge surges in the likes of Palo Alto and Fortinet Security and how the Security and Network Engineers roles are starting to merge certainly in the mid-range network environments.

Another trend that came to light was, Network Engineers have started to focus more of their time and skills on the security side of things within their company.

As 2020 saw a huge change in networks to allow more allowances for remote working. Security has always been a huge part of a network but we are seeing security departments needing further network skills in order to deal with demand. This has led to network engineers upskilling aggressively to get up to speed with the latest technology. 

Data centre engineer and data centre operator

Many candidates have used the time during lockdown to pursue either CompTIA A+ courses in computer hardware or CCNA in networking. These are respected and sought after qualifications in the area.

Data Center Engineers continue to upskill in areas like improving power and cooling solutions, environmental impact remains a huge concern for the industry as a whole and engineers continue to upskill in areas such as Lightning, voltage & transformers.

We have noted large upskilling in areas like Python and AWS architecture in order to improve data centre efficiency. 


Security engineers continue to upskill in cloud related technologies as network infrastructure continues to grow aggressively in the Cloud Space. Areas such as Asure, AWS and Cloud security.

We have also noted Engineers upskilling in areas such as Bash & Python to be at the forefront of technology in the largest automated networks.

Another noticeable trend was that data specific technology such as Splunk was quite popular in 2020.

The tech talent in Ireland has kept busy and focused on improving their skills through the pandemic. Some areas more so than others, have seen larger growth. 

If you’re a candidate in the tech jobs market, now would be an excellent time to put some effort towards growth in your area of specialisation. To have this drive within you could not only help you in your new job search but can also help you add more value to the development of your team.

The bottom line is in order to grow and move forward in your desired career path, it is key to keep learning and applying this knowledge in your professional endeavours. If you’re looking for more information on what platforms to engage with to support your skill development, you can find it here

If you’re interested in finding out more about what professional upskilling can get you salary-wise, we’ve published our 2021 Information Technology Salary Guide for Ireland. This can help you map your career path in a more accurate manner.

Young smiling woman in front of a window.

Namratha Anbhat is a digital marketing and web design executive at GemPool, specialising in the IT recruitment market.