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Gary McNeill, Software Application Engineer, Workday

What services do Workday provide?

Workday is a technology company that builds human capital management and financial software for some of the world’s biggest companies. In the last year the Dublin office alone has grown by about 250 people.

What does your job involve?

My role consists of building out the business logic that makes our application work, so everything a customer may need a software programme to do is my responsibility on my team. First thing in the morning, the whole team will outline what we’re going to do on that given day, which gives us an idea of where everybody is and where the team is going, goal wise. After that I might have a chat either with a project manager or a quality assurance engineer, just to make sure that what I intend to code for the day is exactly what is needed. And then I’ll start my day of coding whatever business logic I need to.

How did you acquire your job?

My college background wasn’t initially in IT. Two years ago I did a conversion course in IT in Dublin Business School as IT had always been a passion of mine and I wanted to change careers. I did that for seven months, followed by a six month internship. I decided on this role in Workday because I was looking for a company willing to invest in me and in my development, and somewhere I could be passionate about the technology.

What are the necessary skills for success?

Any standard object oriented language like Java or C-Sharp will give you a strong grounding in the skills you need to enter one of these bigger companies as a software engineer. Workday works very heavily with object oriented concepts so a grasp of that is absolutely necessary to be able to work at a company like this. In the last number of years tech has moved from just being behind your computer coding all day to something you really need a lot of personal skills for. I spend about 40% of my time interacting with the team or finding people within the company that I need to help me with a particular problem. In any large tech company you really do need those networking or soft skills to progress.

What do you love about your job?

For me it was important that Workday had a very clear career path. It’s very easy for me to know where I’ll be in five years. The culture is very important here, the people and how they interact with each other – it’s always easy to talk to someone and find help. That makes the job so much easier.

What advice would you give a first year student?

Don’t underestimate the power of a strong knowledge of coding fundamentals. It’s extremely important that people get to know the basic principles of what’s going on in the real world. Sometimes you’ll find that what’s happening isn’t exactly what you’re learning. Don’t just take your text books as gospel.