“I was considered the equal of all the other members of the team”

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Ian Quain from Liberty IT talks about his experience in the company’s graduate program and how his skills have developed over time.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in software design from Athlone IT, Ian Quain is now working at Liberty IT as part of his graduate program.

He told Siliconrepublic.com that his degree was a hybrid, incorporating some elements of a typical computer science curriculum and some elements of a more practical software engineering degree.

Now he works in the industry of his choice as a state-of-the-art software engineer.

“We are a team and we all take a shared responsibility for everything we publish”
– IAN QUAIN

What attracted you to Liberty IT when you were looking for a job as a graduate?

At the start, I joined the company as an intern. However, what caught my attention at the time was that the recruiting process was so different from any other process I had been in. .

Then, after working here as an intern for eight months, I had developed a strong taste for the corporate culture and I did not hesitate to come back after my studies.

What expectations did you have before starting the program?

To be honest, I was nervous. I had committed to commuting three hours a day to and from Liberty IT. I was worried that I wasn’t a competent enough engineer, and I was also worried that I would be stuck brewing tea and coffee, especially after the horror stories you read on the internet about intern experiences elsewhere.

I was so surprised, pleasantly, when I was considered the equal of all the other members of the team. Titles and experience didn’t matter and I never felt like I had a boss telling me what to do. It was more like a group of friends helping each other and working towards a common goal.

What functions and responsibilities were you given at the start?

When I arrived, I worked on an internal application. I worked closely with a senior software engineer and we were responsible for everything from infrastructure to meeting with stakeholders.

It was a great learning environment and allowed me to really get involved in the entire software development lifecycle, something I had never been involved in before.

Has the scope of your work changed as the program has progressed?

Yes, overwhelmingly! I started on an app, mainly focused on front-end work. Very quickly, I was transferred to another team that was working on event streaming solutions. I also started to get more involved in system design discussions and security reviews.

Can you describe a typical day in your role?

A typical day in my role usually goes something like this:

9am: Log in, check your emails and Slack, and stay up to date on anything that may have happened overnight – Liberty IT has customers around the world who are active while they sleep.

9:30 am: Take a look at all the open pull requests I’m a reviewer on and check for myself if there are any comments.

10:30 am: Standing meeting. I like to make a few dry jokes at these.

11am: put away my pull requests if there were any comments to process or start something new if everything was fine.

12 noon: lunch time. Working from home has been great as I can now reunite with friends and family during my lunch break.

1:00 p.m .: Catch up on all the emails, documentation or administrative work I need to do.

2 p.m .: Go back to the code I wrote earlier.

4 p.m .: Validate my code and do a quick self-assessment to make sure I’m following best practices.

5 p.m .: End of the day. Watch funny cat videos or TikToks.

I try to get up and move around for five minutes an hour. I don’t drink coffee but some days I will also take 20 minutes to go to the river behind my house and walk around a bit.

How do your responsibilities compare to those of more experienced employees?

Our responsibilities are relatively similar. We are a team and we all take responsibility for everything we post. The only difference is that more experienced engineers have to attend more communication and leadership meetings.

Do you feel better prepared for professional life after completing this program?

Absoutely. I have evolved a lot as a professional. My technical skills developed much faster than before in academia because I wrote code every day and it was scrutinized to make sure we were following best practices.

My soft skills have also improved a lot. Working as a team with others and having to collaborate and communicate regularly goes a long way in making you a better engineer overall.

Why should someone apply to Liberty IT’s graduate program?

If you want to develop technically and have fun, this is the place for you. You will work on cutting edge technologies and real business applications, and you will also be seen as a valuable member of your team.

You will also make friends that will last a lifetime. It’s not just work, there are a lot of events to help you get to know others and just like in college there are social events, like our game nights where you can hang out with other like-minded people.


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