- Describe your role within Liberty IT.
I joined Liberty IT as a placement student and then last year, returned to finish final year of a BEng in Computer Science at Queen’s University, Belfast. Now I’m back at Liberty IT in a graduate role.
- What attracted you to work at Liberty IT?
I came here on the open night and I came away thinking that it seemed like a really great place to work – everyone was very welcoming, the technologies were current and they were exploiting new ones. I really got the feeling that they wanted to hire people who were passionate about technology. So I then spoke with the careers advisor from Queen’s and she advised me that this was one of the best and most reputable companies in Belfast. So I applied and was lucky enough to get an interview and three days later I found out that I had the job.
- How did you feel when you first joined here?
I felt slightly intimated but by the end of the first week I felt totally at ease. On my first day, I was assigned a mentor and he took me around the building, showing me around and introducing me to everyone, making me feel very welcome and comfortable. My whole team embraced me as a valued team member from the get-go and were all very willing to share their knowledge with me.
- Can you tell us a little bit about the culture within Liberty IT?
The culture is really friendly; it’s very genuine and everyone is always ready to help. We all have an interest in technology and programming so it’s nice being able to spend your days with like-minded people. Even the way the work areas are laid out helps with a feeling of openness and friendliness, the open plan office reinforces the team atmosphere of working together. There is a large intake of placement students every year and so it was fortunate that a few of my good friends from university took up a placement here last year too. Also, I was able to make new friends with people studying at other universities.
- Did you enjoy your placement?
I loved it. My manager and project lead really put their trust and faith in me and I was involved in multiple releases where I was the production coordinator. The company don’t typecast you as “just a placement student”. Instead they look at your capabilities and tailor the work and responsibility to suit that.
- Did you receive any training at Liberty IT?
Training is always available here. Liberty IT actually paid for me to complete 3-4 days training and sit an exam which enabled me to become ISTQB Certified, which was great.
- Have you always wanted to be a Programmer?
Yes and no. I was interested in IT and enjoyed using computers but I actually didn’t set out to study IT. I had actually enrolled to do a Plumbing Apprenticeship and then the recession hit in 2008 and there was little work in that industry. So I decided to enrol in an IT course, a BTEC National Diploma for IT practitioners. Upon completion I was awarded an All Ireland Scholarship for achieving 18 distinctions and went onto study a BEng degree in Computer Science at Queen’s University. It was the best decision I ever made as I love Software Development.
- Is there anyone you admire in the technology world?
Joshua Bloch’s work is really impressive. He is a Java guru and has published many books which are excellent in my opinion. His material really helps me in my job role and in what I love doing. I enjoy the online Java puzzlers too – they really challenge me and stimulate my mind.