David Geraghty, Google
Degree subject BAI Microelectronics and Electronic Engineering, Trinity College Dublin
Job title Director of SMB Sales
When I graduated, I joined Ericsson as a Software Engineer where I worked on programming telephone exchanges. Having an engineering degree provided me with strong technical knowledge, but I still had to learn a new programming language from scratch. It was a steep learning curve, and it’s true to say that your education only begins when you leave university. Nevertheless, my degree gave me a foot in the door and taught me great problem solving skills which have been useful in my career and personal life.
Although I really enjoyed working in a technical environment at the start of my career, I wanted to work more closely with customers. Joining Google gave me the opportunity to do this, as I showcase products to customers across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It opened my eyes to the fact that technology can really make a difference to people’s lives and their businesses.
I get an enormous amount of satisfaction from seeing small businesses develop and succeed online. My team helped two brothers to grow a business selling car parts from their shed into a company employing ten people, within a year.
The stereotype of an engineer is someone who is very bright but doesn’t have any social skills. The reality is that many engineers are great leaders as they can think analytically and can see ‘outside the box’. My strongest skill is being able to influence and lead people. My role involves leading a team of people who are working together towards the common goal of developing customer’s businesses. I developed these skills by spending time with people and learning to understand their motivations, thus learning to figure out solutions that work well for everyone involved.
It’s difficult to go wrong at the start of your career, as no one expects a graduate to know everything. Take advantage of this by asking lots of questions, to learn as much as you can and to show an interest in what you do. Also work on perfecting your core skill, and then look for an opportunity to innovate and grow.
The most important thing you can do is to operate with integrity in everything that you do. In addition, the best skill that a graduate can possess is the desire to learn continuously. In today’s world the pace of change is rapid, and so continuous learning has become part of our daily lives. In a business it’s a great idea to hire people who fill the skill gaps that you don’t have, making the entire team more effective.
Advice for graduates
We can’t influence the global recession or our economic circumstance, but we can concentrate on what is in our control. Always be on the lookout for opportunities, even if you’re over-qualified, as you will learn something from every new experience. Some of them will provide important stepping stones to bigger and better things, even though it may not be obvious at the time.
David was interviewed for Ireland's 100 leading graduate employers 2012/13