Martin Flanagan: Dundee’s game for the digital challenge

Developer 4J Studios, behind the Minecraft console games, has a base in Dundee. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Developer 4J Studios, behind the Minecraft console games, has a base in Dundee. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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More evidence today that down-with-the-kids Dundee continues to leave its historical roots of jam, jute and journalism firmly in the rear-view mirror.

A new report from Tech City UK into the state of the homegrown digital sector says digital economic output in the city jumped 171 per cent to £97 million between 2011 and 2015 – the highest turnover growth in the UK.

• READ MORE: Dundee’s digital sector growth outpaces rest of UK

Driving the positive message home, the Tech Nation 2017 report says 86 per cent of tech workers in Dundee, which is essentially the heart of the Scottish gaming industry, are optimistic for the future of the sector. And nine out of ten say the ­quality of life in the city is good, indicating the gains are not at the expense of work/life balance.

Glasgow and Edinburgh have considerably bigger digital economic output, at £591m and £513m respectively, but it is the pace of growth from the Tayside city that shows it is on an almost exponential march in IT.

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Today’s report emphasises just how important the digital tech sector is to fuel growth in the wider UK economy. Like India, but to a lesser extent, it is an industry where we have a competitive and scientific edge.

Tech Nation 2017 says that more than 1.6 million people now work in the UK digital-tech sector. Given the high profile of technology in virtually every area of life over the past couple of decades, that figure is unsurprising. What will surprise many, however, are that tech salaries are now on average 44 per cent higher than salaries in non-digital jobs.

From gaming to cutting edge fintech, we are looking at an economic success story. It deserves its champions from Dundee to Bristol and Bath, and its nurturing by government.

Meanwhile, it warms the cockles of the handheld device to see Google get an advertising kicking for virulently ­extremist content on its YouTube video channel.

For too long, such search engines have got away with the management-speak bunkum that they are platforms, not ­publishers. It is the cop-out to end most cop-outs.

However, money talks and bull walks. As major corporates now evidently consider it a badge of pride to withdraw their advertising, Google now says it must sharpen its act. Funny, that.

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