What does your job entail?
As a Senior Project Manager working at Liberty IT, Belfast, I manage three teams of Engineers, with each team focused on a different area: Cloud, Communication & Collaboration and Test Engineering. My day-to-day activities vary significantly depending on where we are in the lifecycle of various projects, and which US visitors are in town. One day I can be head down with project planning, the next day in budget meetings, and the next day hosting visitors on a trip to the Giant’s Causeway. Some days are dedicated primarily to resource management and helping develop my teams.
Is it 9-5?
My average working day lasts eight to nine hours, however, like any job, there are times when I’m required to work extra hours to meet project commitments or attend customer meetings. The extra hours are balanced out by the work/life balance initiatives that Liberty IT offers. I can work from home when I need to, or leave for an hour in the afternoon to attend an appointment. I also have the option of starting work any time between 8am and 10am. Also, since most of our colleagues are in the US and therefore five hours behind us, I do my best to accommodate their schedules.
How did you get into this line of work?
I have always loved technology, ever since receiving my first computer, a ZX 81. Software became a passion when I started coding in BASIC at age 11. Since then, that passion has continued to grow and I have been very fortunate to be able to carve out a successful career doing something that I love.
Outline your career to date.
I studied computer science at Queens University Belfast, including a placement year with Kainos Belfast in 1993. After graduating in 1995, I returned to Kainos as a full-time employee. I spent 5 years at Kainos as a Software Developer, rising to the rank of Senior Software Engineer.
In June 1999, I joined Liberty IT and spent the next 12 months living and working in the US and learning from Developers there. I enjoyed this experience greatly, so much so, that I returned to work in our US offices in 2007 for four more years.
During my first five years with Liberty IT, I was technically-focused, rising from a Senior Engineer to a Technologist. In 2004, I moved into the Project Management career path and was promoted from a Project Manager to a Senior Project Manager in 2013. My work here over the years has been wide and varied, providing exposure to a vast array of projects and technologies. I’ve also had the opportunity to travel to numerous customer sites in the US including Boston, Indianapolis, Seattle and Dallas.
What qualities are required for your job — personal and professional?
The Software Engineering industry is an exciting and dynamic industry. Qualities required to be successful in any role at Liberty IT include not only technical ability, but strong communication and collaboration skills as well.
In my current role, it’s important to have excellent leadership, organisational and customer relationship management skills.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I was a keen rugby player, and continue to enjoy all team sports – both playing and watching. I’m an avid New England Patriots fan as well and have been to several games while in the US.