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22/05/2017 - 14:12

According to the Tech Nations 2017 Report, the number of digital enterprises in Scotland is increasing and is now in fact the fastest growing region outside of London. This is great news for the Scottish digital economy however concerns have been raised that Brexit may have huge implications on continual growth within the industry.

In particular the report found that Dundee, at 171%, has the highest turnover growth of any cluster. Dundee have a “thriving games sector” which is one of the main contributors to the city’s success. Abertay University puts a strong focus on Computer Games Education and can offer students degree-level qualifications in games developments.

However Brexit could have negative implications on this: “Scotland is already struggling with a digital skills gap, and Brexit could potentially exacerbate that, impending the growth of the digital economy. Digital businesses in Scotland will be concerned about any Brexit deal which makes recruiting talent harder than it already is.”

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12/05/2017 - 11:51
Last night we had another sold out MancML and personally my favourite event so far. It was great to see so many people from the previous two events, it’s really encouraging to see the enthusiasm for Machine Learning in Manchester. We had a few new faces in the audience as well and from the feedback I got, everyone seemed to have a great time.


A quick thank you to Auto Trader again for hosting, the event space was incredible and the food, well that was just amazing. We definitely undersold it pre-event, ‘nibbles’ is probably the understatement of the year - for those of you who missed out, we had: handmade pizzas, hot dogs, pomegranate salad and lots more!


Andrew from Auto Trader was up first in our line-up of speakers and although only 4 months into his role with the company, he delivered an accomplished presentation on how they approach some of the problems they face. It was interesting to hear the various ways the team at Auto Trader are approaching Data Science and how they apply that to accurately price the hundreds of thousands of vehicles on the site. Andrew also showed us a model using real Auto Trader data using Gaussian Process Regression, comparing that with a simpler Linear Regression model - which in this case worked much better.


Up next we had Dominic, Chief Data Scientist at INRIX. Dom gave us an in-depth look at how INRIX approach mapping out cities to make searching for a parking space much easier - ‘Mapping the face of the City: neighbourhood identification using PCA’. With a relaxed presentation style and ability to break down what they are doing even to the simplest of minds (that’s me …) it was very well received.


After a short break - in which we devoured the aforementioned ‘nibbles’ we got back into the swing of things with Steven from autosermo talking about Chatbots and how to implement them in the real world. Although we had a couple of technical difficulties we did get to see a real Chatbot working and everyone had a go at interacting with the bot. Steven talked about the potential for Chatbots in a variety of industries, with autosermo working closely with MEN to encourage people to register to vote using a bot. The big thing I took away from Steven’s talk was the potential use of bots in the Charity sector, where having someone available to talk to 24/7 could literally save lives.


Last but by no means was least MancML and’s own Erik Mathieson who delivered a funny, technical and insightful talk on Deep Learning. Erik did pre-warn everyone in the audience that some math would be coming our way - he was not lying. Fortunately for him, I was the only one who struggled to keep up, with everyone else seeming to really enjoy the more in-depth look at Neural Networks.


That concluded another packed session! Straight after the last talk we had people asking about the next meet-up which was lovely to hear. We don’t have anything set in stone, however, we will be back sometime in August - everything will be announced on our Twitter and website.


If you can’t wait until then we are expanding internationally (well Scotland …) with our first event in Edinburgh penciled in for July 6th and is being hosted by Amazon. Tickets for this will be extremely limited so again keep an eye on our social media for updates.


Thanks again to everyone who came along and of course the wonderful Auto Trader, & Cathcart Associates.


10/05/2017 - 11:20

“Demand for staff is growing within all sectors and regions of the UK, but there are fewer and fewer people available to fill the vacancies”, advised by REC chief executive, Kevin Green.

With the UK seeing the lowest unemployment rate since 2005, lots of companies are reporting huge skills shortages. More and more people are reluctant to move roles and instead are deciding to stay put in their current position as an act of job security. The uncertainty over the effects of Brexit, is also proving to be off-putting for EU nationals applying for roles within the UK.

A report taken from recruitment firms saw the number of people placed into permanent roles has decreased and instead we are seeing more people going into contract/temporary roles.

With this in mind and the threat of economic insecurity, Theresa May and Matthew Taylor, head of Royal Society of Arts (RSA) have joined together in the hope to address this. Taylor’s aims “to make all work “good work” – which he defines as “fair and decent”, with scope for development and fulfilment”.

To read more on this, please follow the link:   

08/05/2017 - 12:33

Sam Wason talks us through the specialist skills required to make a name for yourself in the burgeoning technology scene:


How to get a job in tech

02/05/2017 - 14:45

With the digital economy positively booming, it is essential that Scotland make the most of opportunities to source good, quality candidates with relevant skills.

More and more we are seeing that a career in technology does not mean that you will be positioned within a Digital Technology Business but could in fact be working within the financial and public sector. With that being said, the number of job opportunities within the digital sector is rising year on year along with the average full time-salary. It is apparent that the demand for technology skills is huge, as stated by the Minister for Employability and Training, Jamie Hepburn. “Digital Skills are not only essential to our inclusive growth – they are vital to economic development, internationalisation and innovation.”

However with the increase in job opportunities, companies are still struggling to find people with the calibre of the digital skills required.  The Scottish Government has recognised the issues that businesses face and are determined to reduce the “digital skills gap across all sectors.” New initiatives are seeing university computer science courses, college courses and apprenticeships are becoming more popular alongside the recent launch of two graduate level apprenticeship pathways.

However we are also seeing the importance of transferable skills - with the number of graduates coming from a non-technology background, being as high as 31%. When recruiting for staff, employers should keep this in mind and not solely aim their focus on digital experience but look into the wider background.

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