3 Things We Learnt At London Tech Week
With the hustle and bustle of London’s annual tech week now a distant memory, we decided to take a look back at three of the most important lessons that the industry as a whole can take away from the events of the capital’s technological symposium.
1. London is Kind of a Big Deal for Tech
What became abundantly clear from London Tech Week is that London is now not only the capital of England, but the technological capital of Europe. From the first day to the last and beyond, the message that was being thrown at us was that London is now one of the global big hitters in terms of tech.
Whilst these kinds of declarations are often met with a healthy dose of scepticism, in London’s case there is actually quite a lot of evidence to back it up.
Roughly 30,000 jobs created in the sector since the Tech City’s foundation in 2010, with the vast majority of being in some of the biggest ‘tech unicorns’ (companies with a valuation of $1billion or more) along with a projected £18billion contribution to the UK economy this year. It’s no wonder that global tech heavyweights like Google, Amazon, Airbnb and Twitter are choosing to make London their European headquarters.
2. Women are Drastically Underrepresented in Tech
But despite the, at times excessive, amounts of PR trying to make it seem so, London Tech Week wasn’t all peaches and cream.
Although there was much to celebrate with regards to diversity in the tech workplace, with a significant increase both in the number of women employed in startups and tech ventures, as well as the number of female speakers presenting at the various London Tech Week events, the amount of women in tech is still quite a way off of where it should be.
With Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales evaluating the number of women in tech as ‘disastrous’, it’s clear that the global tech industry should make tech diversity their number one priority.
3. There’s More Work to be Done
But there’s much more work that needs to be done if London’s tech industry is going to continue to thrive. Perhaps the most pressing issue that London needs to deal with is the ‘chronic shortage of technical skills’.
For all of its world class universities and higher education colleges such as UCL and Imperial, both of which produce computer science and engineering graduates, technology companies are struggling to find enough of the talent that is required to help the booming industry thrive.
The answer to this shortage in technical ability? Open a dedicated computer science and engineering university. Putting it behind many of the other global technological powerhouses such as California’s revered Silicon Valley, which boasts world leading computer science and engineering programs at Stanford, and the University of California at Berkeley.
Add to this the fact that London’s broadband speeds are among the worst in the country, and it’s clear to see that, despite its impressive growth over the past five years, the London tech industry has more work to do if it is going to truly unlock its digital potential.