We at WP Carers are big fans of the Web Summit, last week we wrote a blogpost on the WordPress community’s involvement at the event. The Web Summit Careers night for students took place on Wednesday, and naturally we were there to see how the tech community is reaching out to its younger members!

The event kicked off with a dramatic countdown from centre stage as the thousands of students in attendance took their seats. Paddy Cosgrave, founder and CEO of WebSummit, took to the stage and made an introductory speech celebrating the uncertainty of the future, in regards to technology and employment in general.

The first discussion of the night was focused on future entrepreneurship and the importance of startups. It was hosted by Colm Lyon of Fire Financial Services. He spoke to three inspiring young entrepreneurs; Rhona Togher, the founder of Restored Hearing, Conor Nolan of WattSpot and Niamh McHugh of Pucker. They shared some great insights into the drive and commitment needed to make it as a young entrepreneur. The conversation ended with the message: if you have an idea for a new enterprise or product, just go for it!

The second discussion featured recruiters from large corporations, talking about their thoughts and hopes for Generation Y as employees. Recruiters from BT, KPMG (who employ almost 300 graduates each year) and Microsoft discussed how connected Millennials are and how this can be effectively used by their employers. They also emphasised the importance of keeping this generation in Ireland, saying that education, broadband and accommodation needed to be improved for this to succeed.

Automation was the theme of the third discussion, as Nick Webb (Business editor of the Sunday Independent) talked to the founders of BlaBlaCar. They discussed how close we are to an automated world in some areas (Google cars for example), but pressed the point that this is not something to be feared. Automation will not necessarily replace jobs but allow new technologies and possibilities for us all in the future.

The biggest speaker of the night was of course Ed Catmull, president of Pixar Animation, in conversation with RTÉ journalist Claire Byrne. The audience were shown an adorable clip from Pixar’s upcoming film, The Good Dinosaur, before the discussion began. It was surprising (and perhaps reassuring for some!) to learn how many changes of heart Catmull underwent before he chose to pursue a career in animation. Catmull also talked about his late colleague and close friend, Steve Jobs, maintaining that the image we have of him posthumously as a difficult genius isn’t entirely fair.

The final segment of the evening was the ringing of the NASDAQ closing bell, marking the end of the stock market day. This was broadcast live to the NASDAQ building in Times Square, New York.

All in all, the night presented an invigorating look into the future of tech, and surely proved useful for many students contemplating their future careers.