We’ve all seen the big Internet companies that are serving you information right now. Google, Facebook, and Amazon are just a few. While these sites have made our lives much more convenient, many of us don’t realize the infrastructure that is providing these services. Data centres and electrical engineers provide these services and support them every day.
Your email gets delivered, your favourite TV shows get streamed, and your new book gets ordered when you click on its link online. This is possible because of the people who work in data centres. Electrical engineers are the brains and architects behind data centres. Without them our data centres wouldn’t get built and our online experience across all our favourite online providers simply put, do not work.
Electrical Engineers & Data Centres – Powering the Internet
Every day, millions of people around the world use data centres to store and process information. These are huge buildings that house thousands of computer servers, which are used to store and process information.
Data centres house all the equipment that makes our digital lives possible. The internet is made up of many smaller networks that connect computers worldwide. Each network has its own data centre, which houses all the equipment needed for communication between computers.
Electrical engineers play an important role in these centres by designing electrical systems that allow for high levels of efficiency and performance. They also ensure that the building itself is safe from fire and other hazards.
Challenges Facing Data Centres
According to Engineers Ireland by 2026 15% of electricity demand will come from data centres. According to Eirgrid (Ireland’s electricity grid operator) predict that electricity usage for data centres will rise to between 23 per cent and 30 per cent of overall consumption by the end of this decade.
With the current energy crisis creating high demand , coupled with inflation and the cost of electricity increasing all adds to the overhead costs for running data centres.
Data centres are extremely energy-intensive structures with average annual consumptions of around 30,000 kWh/m2. This is significant when compared to the normal non-air-conditioned businesses and public buildings, which use 200–300 kWh/m2 annually.
Another challenge facing data centres is finding qualified electrical engineers to maintain the data centre. More data centres will be continued to be built in Ireland for a number of reasons including:
- Politically stability (In comparison to our neighbours)
- Generous corporation tax (12%)
- Educated workforce
- Perfect climate (Its never too hot or cold)
- Geographically perfect (No volcanic eruptions, hurricanes or earthquakes)
- Our corporation tax already attracted giant tech multinationals. Such as Apple, Facebook Google etc. it made sense for those organisations to build their data centres here too.
More data centres will mean more demand for qualified electrical engineers. With the growing demand for electrical engineers in data centres there are limited courses in place to meet the expected demand.
There are only a few Data Centre Electrical Engineering-related courses offered in Ireland. A BEng in Data Centre Facilities Engineering is available from Sligo IT. This is a two-year, NFQ Level 7 program.
A Certificate in Data Center Operations (one year, NFQ Level 6) and a Bachelor of Science (two years, NFQ Level 7 in Data Center Operations and Management) are both offered by TU Dublin/IT Blancharsdown.
In order to fulfil the increasing demand for specialized service and facilities professionals. These programs were created in collaboration with industry providers including Google, Facebook, and Microsoft.
Additionally, there are certain industry-led courses that primarily emphasize the ICT components of the Data Centre. However, there isn’t much information available regarding the design of M&E systems for these intricate buildings.
Opportunities for Electrical Engineers
As we previously noted electrical engineers are in high demand to build and maintain data centres. With a shortage in the labour market right now the salaries for an electrical engineer can be from €50,000 per year to €130,000 per year in senior post such as Senior Electrical Project Managers and Senior Onsite Managers, Site Directors etc.
Entry level electrical engineers can earn €45,000 per year. Electrical engineers are also receiving some great benefits right now. We are seeing some of our clients offer our candidates excellent salaries, family health care, bonuses, hybrid working models to name but a few.
Good news for Electrical Engineers
The good news is that multinationals investing in Irish Data Centres, have created extraordinary opportunities for electrical engineers to help improve our lives with their work in data centres.
The difference data centres are making:
Efficient use of energy. Data centres need a lot of power to run servers and cooling systems and keep them cool. The most efficient ways to achieve this include virtualisation, which enables multiple servers to share hardware resources; cloud computing; and co-location services such as colocation hosting or managed hosting services.
Reduced CO2 emissions from servers. Data centres can be large users of fossil fuels such as coal and gas, which produce carbon dioxide when burned for energy production. Reducing CO2 emissions from servers will help reduce global warming and improve air quality all over the world!
Let’s face it, most people never consider the world of data centres when they consider the possible careers for an electrical engineer. However, behind the scenes of our existence, electric engineers and data centres play an integral role to make the world a better place.
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