Degree subject BSc Mathematics, University of Nottingham
Job title Software Engineer
Employer NYSE Euronext, Belfast
I wasn’t sure what career I wanted to go into when I graduated, so I spent some time considering my options. I had enjoyed the programming experience I got during my degree and felt that I’d developed good analytical and problem-solving skills. These strengths along with my interest in technology seemed to suit a career in IT.
I was more interested in working for a software vendor – providing companies with software – rather than within the IT department of a large company. The increased variety of work and the opportunity to get involved with cutting-edge technology really appealed to me. This is the focus of my current employer, so when I found out about their software engineer vacancy I decided to apply. Another factor in my decision was that I had moved back to Northern Ireland after university and they are based in Belfast, near my home town. There were three stages to my application: a phone interview, a face-to-face interview with a project manager, and finally an interview with the CEO.
My company provides software platforms to companies in the finance industry. I work on the optimisation of our software in order to make sure we disseminate market data as quickly as possible to the client. My work has so far taken me to New York, Zurich, and Paris – the opportunity to travel is a great perk of the job.
I’m currently working at our exchange in Paris, developing some new software on site. We’re facing tight deadlines, so I’m here to resolve any bugs as they occur and work alongside the software testers in a consultancy role. It can be hard work at times, but if you like a challenge that can in fact be a good aspect of the job. I don’t like to look too far ahead, but at the moment I’m enjoying the opportunity to continue improving my technical skills and learning more about the IT business.
At interviews, focus on your potential to learn, not just on the knowledge you already have. When starting out in a new job in any industry there is going to be a steep learning curve, but don’t be put off by it. Everyone has been there at some stage and will be happy to help you get up to speed.