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Q&A with Stripe President John Collison on UL’s Immersive Software Engineering programme

The demand for software engineers is on the rise and through so many different facets of society, therefore, how important is the support, expansion and development of the course in answering industry’s needs?

“A career in software engineering is one of the world’s best kept secrets. Software engineers are well-paid, work around the world on some of the world’s most pressing problems, and yet we don’t have anywhere near enough of them. Many more of Ireland’s most talented young people should be studying computer science.
“Any student that’s good at maths should be at least considering a career in computer science. We’ve seen companies just vibrating with enthusiasm for ISE. We launched with 16 residency partners; just a few months later that number is 36!
“Software engineers play a crucial role in solving generational challenges like climate change or responding to the next pandemic, and ISE students will be placed right on the front line, tackling the climate crisis at Watershed, building next-gen medical equipment at Analog, or making our roads safer with Provizio.”

How important was it for you that this course would be launched in Limerick given your connections?

“UL is the perfect place to disrupt software engineering education. It’s the upstart university.
“Often the most lasting change is spurred by plucky outsiders, and UL has a great history of doing just this, not least by pioneering the co-op education model that ISE is building on.”

What does success look like in the first 5/10 years of the course?

“We want to mint the best new software engineers in the world, right here in Limerick.
“Success means more of our top young minds choose to study software engineering.
“In the long run we want ISE to spur copycats so that more universities around the world are able to turn our brightest students into world class software engineers.”

What do young entrepreneurs need to have to succeed - aside from their education in software engineering?

“Whether founding a company or joining one, there’s very little that can prepare you better than real-world experience.
“A lot of what happens in day-to-day working life is hard to accurately simulate in a classroom. That’s why student doctors are sent out to train in hospitals. No one wants to be operated on by a surgeon that’s only ever read a textbook.
"We’re bringing the same logic to software engineering, sending bright, curious students out to learn solving real world problems in real world environments.
“ISE graduates will leave with both a masters and two years’ industry experience, that’s an immense advantage over everyone else whatever you decide to do next.”

What would you be doing as a career if you were not doing what you and Patrick are doing with Stripe?

“I’ve no idea what I might be doing if not Stripe, but I’m pretty sure it would involve software.”