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Sean Smithers

Associate Software Engineer, AOL

Degree subject BSc Computer Science and Software Engineering
Job title Associate Software Engineer
Employer AOL

I really enjoyed engineering at school, but it wasn’t until I attended a few university open days that I became interested in software engineering. The universities were showcasing their newest software applications. My favourite was a computer that could tell what colour a person was thinking of through patterns in their brain signals. I was compelled to learn more, and I decided to do a degree in software engineering.

I was lucky enough to be offered a job by a company at the end of my third year at university, after completing a project while on work experience. I postponed my final year to work for them for 14 months, because I knew it would give me really valuable experience. I worked in quality assurance, which involved writing, maintaining and testing software.

Just before I graduated from NUI Maynooth, my university department sent an email around about a job at AOL— the digital media company. AOL had been working with the department. I applied for the job, and after a phone interview, I was invited to the office for the day, where I did one technical test and three interviews with different managers. They asked me a lot of technical questions, but I enjoyed the discussions and the informal atmosphere. Luckily, I was offered the job.

I work in the advertising technologies department; my role involves designing and implementing features which could be anything from user interface to web services, in response to a brief from product managers. I work on designs from start to finish and demo them when they are complete. My team work closely with our colleagues in the US, via daily video conferences, and I hope to travel over there soon.

The best thing about my job is the supportive work environment and the cutting edge technology I get to work with, which is perfect for recent graduates like me. My team gave me lots of support while I did my first feature, as I found it really challenging. However, demonstrating it upon completion was a real highlight.

Sean was interviewed for gradireland IT 2013