Matt Johnston commented recently that the recent surge in activity in the community side of the local tech & business scene could be “the ‘real’ end of the ‘Troubles’?”.  It’s definitely a positive thing, I’m delighted the next generation of technologists in Northern Ireland has a growing & diverse community around them.  Something that was sorely lacking in my formative years, where it seemed that the only exposure to technology was from inside the technology firm you worked in.  [and I’m a committed technologist, not a 9-5 salary man].  So what’s changed?

Many of us are of a similar age, all in full-time IT roles from the mid-90’s onwards, some for much longer.  Is it the relatively recent additions that have invigorated us? People like the hyper-active Andy McMillen, or what’s caused “the old guard” like Matt to push on with xcake & startvi, or Colm & Norbert to persevere with MobileMondayBelfast, or Darryl & the first Open Coffee Belfast?

Surely none of us would admit to letting Northern Ireland’s previous problems get in the way of the way we lead our lives?

So what changed?  How do we make sure we don’t loose momentum?

How much would your life changed if you had the community & adventure surrounding you 10-15 years ago when you first discovered your passion for technology could pay the bills?  Would you have endured the 10 years in big, faceless corporations? [how did we get brain washed into thinking that the best IT career involved one of 3 or 4 companies in NI?]

Would I still be doing what I’m doing now? Probably, but probably not for who I’m doing it for.  And I hope I would have had a much interesting & independent path here.