Mary Cleary, ICS

A conversation with Mary Cleary, ICS

On upcoming challenges for growth, mentorship for young entrepreneurs, and the resilience of the IT profession
Mary Cleary, ICS

13 August 2021

Secretary general of the Irish Computer Society (ISC), Mary Cleary is chair of the CEN standardisation committee for digital competences and IT professionalism, and is chair of the Irish National Coalition of the European Commission’s Digital Skills & Jobs Coalition. Cleary also advises on European skills policy, and has worked with the European Digital SME Alliance on strategy, contributing to the Commission’s Skills for SMEs report (2019) and the Skills for Industry 2030 report (2019).

In addition to championing the voice of the IT profession in public policy debate with government and European institutions, Cleary has a particular interest in attracting young people, and especially girls, to the IT profession; in supporting the development of young IT professionals; and in building vibrant identities and networks for each specialism in IT which will foster greater appreciation and effective collaboration across IT functions and between IT and business.

Amid all the gloom, what was your highlight from the IT space in the last 18 months?

The resilience of IT professionals in weathering the storm and adapting systems for their own needs and to support the population working and learning remotely.




What do you think the main challenge for growth in the next 12 months will be?

The continued and essential digital transformation of businesses, really the digital business transformation, as the change must include more than technology improvement.

What is your opinion of the support infrastructure available for young businesses?

There are significant supports available for young businesses, but young entrepreneurs need mentors and advocates from the established business sector. Along with that, a focus on business as a career option needs to be promoted in schools. This tallies well with a focus on technology in education

As a highly respected judge of the Tech Excellence Awards, what are three items that you look for from submissions?

  • Originality
  • Breadth of applicability
  • Well described/illustrated/defended submission

If we had a Minister for Technology, what do you think their number one priority should be?

The support of the IT profession, leveraging industry, education, social partners, public sector in promoting and demanding best professional practice based on professional standards.

In the next five years, which technology will have had the greatest impact on the tech industry?

It probably hasn’t been invented yet! Cloud is still a driver of transformation, and will be a key ingredient in the growth of artificial intelligence. In Ireland we need to make sure that we are at the cutting edge of designing and developing these systems, not merely deploying them.

Mary Cleary is a member of this year’s Tech Excellence Awards judging panel. For details on how to enter click here.

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