What Birmingham tech means to me06/10/2020
Having studied a Bachelor of Science in Video Game Development at Birmingham City University and completed Sparta Global’s SDET training programme at our Birmingham Academy, Kieran McEvaddy is a passionate spokesperson for the thriving tech scene in Birmingham. In celebration of Birmingham Tech Week, we spoke to Kieran about studying technology in the city and why more young people should stay in the midlands to boost its digital economy.
Hi Kieran! You joined our SDET programme earlier this year, but why was it important to you to study at our Birmingham Academy and not elsewhere?
Birmingham has many more available jobs in IT than my home county of Leicestershire. Having graduated from Birmingham City University, I was looking for an opportunity to train locally. Sparta Global’s Birmingham Academy is very central – just a 5-minute walk from my accommodation! Though I imagine London would have been great, studying at the Birmingham Academy was frictionless and just as exciting!
What excites you most about staying in the city and working in the Birmingham tech scene?
With Birmingham’s massive banking sector, you would expect the majority of jobs to be in the area of financial technology. But Birmingham’s tech scene is notably bustling for social enterprise and game development organisations. With such names as Ubisoft, Rare and Codemasters - Birmingham is ripe for the picking in terms of game development jobs.
For graduates and students, the best thing is easily the number of hackathons held in the city – there are so many and these are a great opportunity to both learn something new and boost your CV.
Why do you think it’s important tech talent stays in Birmingham and not everyone relocates to London for digital work?
Areas outside London still have room to innovate and grow technologically. If technological advancements only happened in London, the rest of the UK would miss out on a lot of vital and exciting economic growth.
It’s also crucial to remember that technology shapes lives - and not everybody lives in London! For example, the NHS and government need IT talent and though they’re mainly based in the South, their technology isn’t. Think how nonsensical it would be having to send a Londoner up to Glasgow to fix some imperative technology? The fact is, we need tech talent all over the country.
Birmingham is also a very young and diverse city, meaning the talent pool is potentially massive. It will be great for Birmingham’s burgeoning microeconomy if employers continue to step in the right direction by doing business here.
What are you excited to do in technology in the Birmingham/Midlands area in the future?
For now, I’m focussed on bettering my skills through hackathons and illustrating to other young people in Birmingham that the IT industry is not as impenetrable as it can sometimes seem. The truth is that UK tech needs Birmingham’s diversity of thought and opinions to create better products. This is where Sparta Global is helping to bridge the gap – by hiring talented yet diverse individuals who can make a difference in cities and businesses across the UK.
My dream, being finance-obsessed, is to change something related to the financial products I use. For example, I’d love to work as a tester on a debit/credit card reward scheme. But for that, Birmingham needs to continue its focus on IT and attract some of the bigger players in banking. The city seems to be on track, with some large London-based finance organisations already making the move (such as HSBC).
I can’t wait to see what happens in Birmingham’s tech space over the next few years!