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Paul Walsh, Software Engineer, Guidewire

What does Guidewire do?

We provide insurance software to insurance companies. As a software engineer I work at developing features for our software, or fixing bugs in the software to improve and enhance it.

What’s your normal day like?

When I come in I prioritise my tasks for the day, then we have a daily ‘scrum’ meeting, which is a quick informal meeting we have every day with the rest of the team. The purpose of the meeting is so we can each outline the tasks that we’re going to try and achieve. We also raise any issues or problems we might be having with our work, so the cool thing about this meeting is that you’re never actually stuck with a problem for more than a day.

What did you study in college?

I studied Software Development at Dundalk IT. During my studies I learned a lot about database architecture and the course was mainly focussed around Java, a programming language which is one of the main skills that we use at Guidewire. Guidewire actually has their own programming language, Gosu, which is very similar to Java, so if you’re very familiar with Java, you can pick up Gosu very easily.

What are the key skills you use?

One of the key skills which I would advise students to become familiar with is software testing. We didn’t have too much of it on my course but these days many software companies are working through test based development, so testing is very much part of the software development cycle. It’s also a good idea to hone your presentation skills, because when you’re developing a software related product you’re going to be delivering it either to a customer or a manager. So being able to present it well, and show how much effort you’ve invested in it, is a really good skill to have. So in college, make use of your opportunities to present, take advantage of those opportunities and it will really pay off when you get a job.

Best thing about your job?

The thing I really like about my job is the freedom that I have. Essentially, people present me with a problem and then I have the freedom to research it and evaluate all the options. Then I can bring back the best solution, not just the quickest solution. This is something which Guidewire places great emphasis on, producing great quality work. There’s no micromanagement going on.

Are career prospects good for Software Engineers?

I think this is a great time to be a software engineer. I’m happy with Guidewire at the moment, but now that I have a job I’m contacted about Android Developer jobs, Java Developer job, and others. There are a lot of opportunities out there for software engineers today.

Where else can you go?