Osijek Software City is not a Success, it is a Process
Foto: Bela Ikotić with Prince Charles and Osijek deputy mayor Vladimir Ham
One of the most told success stories in Croatian IT is Osijek Software City. First started as an initiative of local IT companies, it has evolved to an association that is driving IT development in Eastern Croatia. Today they are helping companies, University and young people to reach their full potential through workshops, educations, events, conferences and positive media presence. OSC Secretary Bela Ikotić explained why they have achieved such success.
Osijek Software City and its members are one of the few positive stories from Eastern Croatia. How did this success happen?
Osijek Software City is an example of one of the few positive stories from Slavonija and Baranja. It did not actually happen overnight, and is not considered as a success. For us this is only output that proves that we do not have to go out of town, we live here, and achieve what many consider as a model of success. Only after several years of work, we can review the results and be proud of them.
After the start and the promotion of the initiative, today the association, and great media presence, you turned to organizing events and training. What are your plans? What have you achieved so far?
The labor market is something that we are concerned with the past few years and the key to the continuing development of the community and companies in Osijek. Education that we need does not exist in standard schools, it is the whole area of education throughout life we are trying to fill. Several of our research, related to our efforts and goals, show that we have planned to hire 250 developers in companies. It is clear that the goals have been long exceeded because we have indirectly hired 750 developers.
New targets are not clearly set, but from some of the experiences we see several. The establishment of the Department of Computer Science at the University would be a strong step forward in creating positive change. Also the strengthening of the labor market, in primary and the advanced skills of employees. Continuous training and trends are of great importance. If you do not follow trends people will go away, IT is a very competitive market.
It is important to emphasize the OSC as a link between the real sector and the University of Osijek.
Osijek City Software has no plans to go into the development of parallel educational institutions, but through a series of programs we have already affected the changes in the existing ones. Improving knowledge is what we strive for, that goal will remain the focus of our activities. As the member companies at OSC are dealing with very heterogeneous technologies, the challenge would be to create a member clusters.
The initiative/association is now mature. How will this story keep on developing?
OSC has become a way of life for IT companies from Osijek, and it is clear that joint efforts in education are a way to develop better labor market and encourage entrepreneurship in the sector. The efforts that we have made in collaboration with University departments will finally come to reality. Next year the University will start the Department of Computer Science, a proposal we have been, along with some local professors, advocating for several years.