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Deirdre O'Connor

Associate Software Developer, Fidelity Investments

Degree subject BSc Civil Engineering, MSc Software Development and Design
Job title Associate Software Developer
Employer Fidelity Investments

I had always been interested in computers, but I was unsure whether to pursue a career IT. I began a degree in electronic engineering, but after two years ended up changing to civil engineering. Once I had graduated, I realised there were few engineering jobs and so I decided to return to IT and do a masters in software engineering. This turned out to be the best decision for me, as it meant I could live in my home town Galway, which is known for being an IT hub.

I applied successfully for a job at Fidelity Investments, a financial services company, after a friend recommended working there. It runs a six-month ‘Leap’ programme for its graduate employees, which involves three months of classroom training in software development and technology, and three months of project work. My project was on post-trade processing and it was put into production following the programme, which was a great achievement.

I have been working here as a software developer for 12 months now. I work in a small team and so communication between us is essential. I developed strong communication skills during a civil engineering internship that I completed at Galway County Council, where I learned to express myself clearly and to share my ideas. I like challenging myself and so I am going to attend a three-day training session soon to learn how to use another computer programming language. Programming is my favourite part of the job as it is really absorbing and complex. I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing a final product, knowing that I contributed to it.

There is a good social side to my job too. I organised a BBQ recently as part of my responsibilities with the social club. My plans for the future will hopefully include a visit to our headquarters in Boston, to see how our colleagues in the US operate.

Top tips

As the IT industry is so broad, it’s important to decide what languages and technologies appeal to you. By researching different companies, you will know which ones will suit you best.

Deirdre was interviewed for gradireland IT 2013