The early days

Growing up, I have always been a keen problem solver – making, creating and breaking things was my entertainment. As I progressed through school, STEM subjects piqued my interest and I was curious and intrigued about how software worked. I always loved the thought that one day I would be able to create something brand new from scratch too.

When the time came, I started studying software engineering at Queens. During my first-year of university, I decided to submit an application to Kainos AppCamp and to my delight I received a place! The next eight weeks were spent designing and developing an iOS application.

AppCamp taught me the basics of programming and how design fits into the software development process. Taking part in AppCamp changed my career and has led to so many more opportunities for me, which ultimately ended up in me working for Kainos during my placement year.

On placement, learning every day

Throughout my placement year, I had the opportunity to work on a number of different projects. The projects were large-scale web applications for government bodies – which allowed me to work with new technologies and develop a range of skills. Working on multiple teams allowed me to work in different capacities, from interacting with the customer in a support role to a development role, building and shipping features.

Getting to work as part of a team and to up-skill in these different tools/technologies gave me a lot of beneficial skills to take back to final year of university with me.

Specialising in AI

Towards the end of my placement I started looking into Artificial Intelligence – mainly through my own personal interest, everything from attending local hackathons to working through online tutorials.

Due to my newly-found passion, I was asked to attend Microsoft’s OpenHack – which was a two day event down in their Dublin HQ. This allowed me to work through different challenges with industry experts and gave me the insight into the real-world use cases of AI. A few months later, I was invited to return to the Microsoft HQ in Dublin, to deliver one of my AI workshops at ConverCon, which is a large conference specifically focused on conversational interfaces. it really opened my eyes to AI and I took this with me back to my final year.

The present

I have recently just graduated from university in the summer with a first-class honours and have joined Kainos as an AI Engineer. Since returning to Kainos as a graduate, I was given the responsibility of designing, creating and delivering a two-week course called AICamp to teach undergraduates the basics of AI, ensuring that they leave with valuable skills for the future.

I am now working as part of the AI practice within Kainos, developing intelligent, production- ready solutions for our customers. It’s amazing to see our solutions working in the real world.

My advice?

For anyone hoping to break into the industry, I would recommend taking advantage of the fantastic community-driven events that run frequently, close to you. These are great for networking and developing your interest in new areas. Try to check out local meetup sites and social media for anything you think would be fun or interesting to attend.

Things like hackathons, meetups and conferences have really helped me develop the skills necessary to work with Kainos in the role I am in today – including immersing me in AI in the first place!  

Ensure to take the opportunities that come your way, as you never know where they could lead or take you in the future!