Rising Star: Orla Brooks, Scrum Master/Engineer, Ericsson

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In school I was interested in computers. I used them as often as possible as very few people had computers at home. After my leaving cert I went to work for a bank. Due to my interest in computers I found I had more knowledge than my colleagues. This led me to helping with computer related issues and furthering my knowledge on a daily basis.
Eventually I was asked by my manager if I would be interested in pursuing a computer course. I gladly accepted this offer and attended college at night for 4 years, completing my primary degree in Financial Information Systems. After a time I completed the Ericsson MSc in DIT and started in Ericsson at a graduate level before being promoted to Engineer, where I work presently.

Key milestones in your career development?

Being able to translate my interest in computers at school into learning more about computing through work and then returning to college to secure a degree in computing. Once I had completed my degree both the job opportunities increased, as did my earning ability. My job also opens up international opportunities for me and my skills also enabled me to set up my own consultancy at a time when I needed to be able to work from home. I also returned to college again to complete a masters degree prior to returning to the workplace.

Professional achievements to date?

My primary degree is a BSc in Financial Information Systems from Trinity College Dublin and I followed this MSc in Applied Software Technology from Dublin Institute of Technology. I also have a number of technical and training certifications, such as:

  • Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE
    5/SE 6 Programmer
  • ISTQB – Foundation Certificate in
    Software Testing
  • JEB – ICT Teaching Diploma

Key skills which you have brought to the organisation and what skills you have developed?

I have brought soft skills such as leadership and organisational skills to Ericsson, in addition to presentation skills and communicating with people. It’s part of my job to ensure there is a consistent level of high quality in the work we do and I have also brought testing techniques into the company that work well within our processes here. You never stop learning as your career develops, and with Ericsson I have developed skills such as AGILE Practices, as the AGILE methodology is engaged in Ericsson. I have developed programming skills (e.g. Java, Bash, Python, MySQL, HTML), platform knowledge (Linux, Unix) and domain specific knowledge.

Advice and tips for graduates entering the jobs market, and what to bear in mind during the current economic climate?

It’s important you enjoy what you do, so make it fun. Work hard and get good grades – the period for study is relatively short and it does pay off. Where possible contribute to Open Source Forums – answering question aids your development skills and you will also learn new things. Also, know and enforce best practices at all times – it is the best habit you can get into. It’s vital to keep learning – never stop exploring new technologies. Finally, don’t be afraid. Give everything a go! Even interviews – what is the worst that can happen?

Where you hope to see your career developing?

I am very interested in ensuring high quality in products via best practices and automated testing and I am aiming for a Senior Engineer role in Ericsson. Eventually I would like to be able to contribute to the architecture of new products. I am also hoping to travel more with work as Ericsson are a global company.

Orla Brooks was interviewed for gradireland’s Ireland’s 100 Leading Graduate Employers 2014/15

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