Beyond Second Level: Helping Your Child Make the Right Choice

Shot from the back of a class room with a girl in a crowd holding her hand up with a teacher up at the front of the room.

All over Ireland, secondary school students will be making some big decisions about their future in the next few weeks. With the release of Leaving Cert results and the first and second rounds of CAO offers, this can be a tension-filled time for students – and their parents.

If you need some advice to help your child find a truly fulfilling career, our latest blog looks at some of the most sought after skills in the Irish job market.

Information Technology


Information and Communications Technology (ICT) skills are now highly valued across almost every industry. Some of the most in-demand roles include software systems developers, application developers, and software testers. Technical support skills are also highly sought after, especially when combined with fluency in one or more foreign languages (particularly German and French). There’s also a huge need for project manager roles in the IT industry, which are less concerned with computer skills and more with organisation and planning abilities.

Big data is also an increasingly important sector across a range of industries, with knowledge of maths and data analytics, along with associated IT proficiency, one of the most prized skillsets now and in the future. If your teen has a flair for sums or statistics, this could be the area for them. Colleges around the country have responded to a current shortfall in this area, with DCU, DIT, and UCD all investing heavily in data-focused courses and a number of regional colleges also introducing data-focused courses at diploma level. Cloud computing is also expected to be a big growth area, with a number of colleges now offering courses in this exciting sector.



With most of the world’s top financial companies now housing operations in Ireland, there is a continuing demand for business graduates, especially in the booming International Financial Services (IFS) sector. Some of the most prized professions include risk management, compliance, accounting (including tax and auditing), financial advisors in banking and insurance, and once again, in big data, where multi-skilled graduates with I.T., finance, and engineering skills are urgently required. Financial technology is also set to be a big growth area, with Irish companies innovating in areas like payment processing and fraud protection.



One of the most traditionally solid professions in Ireland has continued to be one of our strongest. Recently, there has been a move in the industry towards more high-end design and development jobs as lower-skilled positions are outsourced. Areas like computer aided design, computer aided manufacturing, and electrical engineering (particularly in safety testing roles in the medical device sector) have begun to see huge growth in recent years.

As our population continues to expand, there will also be a need for mechanical engineering specialists in waste management, particularly in areas like water purification. Trinity College has made a major commitment to providing future engineers with the development of its Engineering, Energy and Environment Institute (E3), which will concentrate on job creation in areas like green energy, med-tech, telecommunications, big data, and digital gaming


If your teenager has a gift for words, there are a host of opportunities available in the communications sector – especially in the digital sphere. With the explosion of social media, many companies are now looking for arts and journalism graduates who also have an aptitude for IT or data analytics. Marketing is also becoming an increasingly hybridised sector, with colleges such as DCU and DIT now offering digital marketing courses at masters and degree level, as well as many private colleges offering specialised degrees and diplomas in this thriving sector.

Science and Medical Technology


Ireland is one of the foremost hubs for medical technology and pharmaceuticals globally, with 20 of the top 30 medical device companies and nine of the top ten pharma companies housing operations here. This means there’s plenty of employment for scientists, chemists, and biochemists in research and development, drug safety, clinical trials and device construction. Many third-level institutions, such as Trinity College, Limerick IT, IT Sligo, and DCU, now offer specialised medical technology courses. Although in most cases, a student will complete a generalised science degree before deciding to specialise at post-graduate level.

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