#GradStories Laura McKeown, Systems Analyst at First Derivative

22 Jun 2023, 13:24

Image for #GradStories Laura McKeown, Systems Analyst at First Derivative

What are the main activities you do in a normal week?

At the moment I'm looking at a regression piece. It's testing our old system towards the new system so it's making sure that all the tests were completed in an old version of a software piece is now okay to work in a new version, to make sure all the bugs are removed and everything's fine with it.

We have our own maintenance every day so we have our own meetings in the mornings were we talk about what went well the day before, what we're working on and if we've had any issues with any tasks.

What skills do you need to be successful in your role?

You need to have good communication skills. You do end up having to do demos or presentations with the client on the work that you're completing as well as documentation.

What do you love about your job?

I do really enjoy my job in terms of being able to work globally with many different clients. At the moment I'm working with a client in Sydney but I work at home and so it's wild being able to do that.

I also like the diversity of work QA analyst, you're constantly looking at different test scenarios and working with different teams and you're constantly learning because you are engaging with all these different teams.

How did you get into your job?

I actually did my placement year at First Derivatives and I studied business information technology at Queens University Belfast. My placement year definitely helped with the business element and the I.T side of my degree. I had the business understanding which help with communicating with clients and talking to clients and knowing what they're going to say for technical and non-technical aspects but then having the I.T side of it as well helps because I am using SQL and Unix and just different elements of software tests.

What skill should students develop if they are interested in a career in this sector?

Look at getting a computer science or it degree because it definitely helps for my role now just with problem solving and being able to have more of an understanding of where the problems are coming from and being able to troubleshoot.

I never used Unix before this role either so for Unix I would use for starting servers, moving files in the server and just basic troubleshooting. Then as well even for SQL just being able to query databases.

How have you adjusted to working from home?

You do develop a lot of self-management and a lot of time management and organisation. I actually would do more at home than what I would do in the office because I log on in the morning for about half seven or eight o'clock and then work my day up until about half five or six.

In the office you come in and you have a chat, you have a cup of tea. So definitely working from takes a lot of Independence and self-management but working in an office that one day a week helps you bond with the team.

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