Day in the Life of…A Principal Software Engineer at Liberty IT

Keith Wilson joined Liberty IT, 8 years ago as a Senior Software Engineer and following an internal promotion, took up his current position of Principal Software Engineer.  Read on to find out what a typical day is like for Keith…

Early Morning

Most mornings I am up by 6.30am and my first job of the day is to make breakfast for myself and for Kaitlyn, my one year old.  Once I’ve got her up and fed, I get both of us ready for the day ahead while my wife also gets ready for work.  Then, together the three of us leave the house and drop Kaitlyn off to the child-minders on our way.  Often, I’ll get the bus into our Belfast office as working in the city centre is very convenient for the various public transport routes.  As anyone with a small child knows, this peace and quiet time is much appreciated, so I spend the journey wisely – getting some downtime, listening to music or reading my kindle!

I am normally at my desk by 8am and I spend the first part of the morning catching up on emails that have come in to my mailbox overnight.  Working exclusively for our parent company, Liberty Mutual Insurance, means that we work with colleagues based all over the world.  I use this time when most of our colleagues in the US are still in bed to sort through and respond to emails, prioritising tasks for myself and the team for the day.

Mid-Morning

One of the things that I love about my job as a Principal Software Engineer is that my role is so varied – I am a technical team lead, software developer, analyst and tester, all rolled into one! Working on numerous live projects, all at various lifecycle stages, ensures that no two days are the same.  At the moment, I am involved in at least 8 projects, meaning I get to work with a wide variety of technologies, which keeps things very interesting.

To keep abreast of the latest technology trends I regularly undertake classroom based training and attend relevant conferences.  However, I also find it extremely useful to complete online video-based training, for example watching a 5 minute, bite-sized video can really help you learn new and more effective ways of doing things.   At Liberty IT, everyone within the company, no matter what their role, is strongly encouraged to be proactive in managing their career, and identifying relevant training is a big part of this.  However, it’s not all about technical training, I’ve also found the softer skills and the business-led, more customer focused training, extremely useful too.

Typically, the latter part of my morning is spent providing support and working with my Belfast colleagues, giving project status updates, bouncing ideas off one another, mentoring less experienced team members, and working through tasks in preparation for our global colleagues coming online.

The team atmosphere here is fantastic, helped by the open and friendly culture of the organisation and open plan office space.  We have a lot of banter over coffee and buns throughout the day, and often socialise together outside of work during both team nights out as well as during companywide organised Social Committee events.

Lunch-time

I actually like to take my lunch very early, usually around 11.30am – this is usually the latest I can last given that I have my breakfast at 6.30am! I really like to get away from my desk during lunch-time, and so when it’s nice weather, I often take a walk into Belfast city centre which takes approximately 2 minutes! It’s a good chance to run errands such as going to the Post Office or the bank, grab some lunch in one of the numerous places to eat, or just simply take the opportunity to get some fresh air.

Afternoon

Taking an early lunch also means that I am back at my desk in time for our American colleagues coming online.  So the rest of my afternoon is generally spent interacting or holding meetings with our US colleagues through video calls, the telephone, Lync and IM.  Email is great too, but I prefer more instantaneous conversation.  Even working from home doesn’t present a problem, as a lot of our work can be completed anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection!

We have great working relationships with our extended global teams, which are enhanced even further by the regular trips our employees make to their international offices, or through the regular host visits we hold for our Liberty Mutual Insurance colleagues.

The focus on work-life balance at Liberty IT works really well for me and my family life as most days I finish up my working day by 4.15pm – 4.30pm and head home to spend some “Daddy-time” with Kaitlyn.

Evening

Once we’ve put Kaitlyn to bed, my wife and I have dinner and discuss our days.  After dinner, depending on my mood, I go to the gym, read books, listen to music, or play games consoles.  However, bedtime isn’t long in coming and before I know it, the 6.30am alarm goes off again!

Keith

 

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