Every company where I know somebody in the UK, there are several Irish working there. There is a sizeable number of us now, but we’ve been forced to work abroad. Saying we don’t have qualified people is naive. As its been shown, as lot of people and companies prefer and the soft eng route and then specialising. Ireland is (or was, numbering going down now) full of qualified software engineers. Wasn’t software engineering one of our largest exports recently, huge companies coming in and setting up bases in Ireland to handle a lot of their database solutions.
As much as people like to profess the uniqueness of working in games, a programmer is a programmer, an artist is an artist. If you’re good at either of those professions, I’d bet you’d be willingly embraced by a games company once you can show some understanding of how the industry works, and that requires just a little bit of research.
There was talk over the past few years of the irish government sending people abroad to sup with the big-wig games companies in a bid to entice them to set up, but for whatever reason, they seem to have failed thus far. DC studios was one that might have started a trend, but that wasn’t to be. When they first announced their intention to move there was a huge interest from both people in Ireland and those working abroad.
If this is going to be taken seriously, someone needs to make the first move. Realisticaly, I reckon its got to be an established company setting up a new base, and its up to the government to entice them. I think this bid of new games courses is their way of doing that, and in truth, I think its a little naive. Tony says there are now 15 or so courses in Ireland…is there even that many in the UK? When its mentioned over here there are a handful that get mentioned, if others exist, they’re not recognised as being good as they lack many of the things that Tony mentions. It would be much more useful (in my opinion) if one or 2 post grad courses had been set up, strengthened and fortified and from them, degree courses could develop with course content thats already been proven.
(sorry that turned into a bit of a long one)