A headshot of a man sitting in an office chair and smiling at the camera.
Sean Kelly. Image: Liberty IT

‘I chose IT because I like solving problems and making things better’

23 Sep 2022

A ‘relative latecomer’ to the tech industry, Liberty IT’s Sean Kelly discusses his experience starting out as an intern and now working in a graduate role.

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Sean Kelly joined Liberty IT as an intern in January 2022. After graduating from his master’s degree in computer science at TU Dublin, he then secured a role as an associate software engineer.

Kelly told SiliconRepublic.com that he was a relative latecomer to the tech industry, having initially gained a degree in music and philosophy.

“I always knew it was never going to get me the job I wanted. Four years ago, while working full-time in the vehicle graphics industry, I went back to study a part-time master’s in computer science in the evenings,” he said.

“I chose IT because I like solving problems and making things better. I chose to go for an internship in Liberty IT because I was drawn to their recruitment process, which I had heard involved team-based problem solving, and I had also read about their reputation as one of the best places to work in Ireland and the UK – I can confirm both are true!”

‘Liberty IT makes the transition from university life to professional life easier for lots of reasons’

Can you describe a typical day in your role?

My day usually goes as follows, with several cups of coffee thrown in the mix. I also like to stand up and walk around at least once every hour.

9am: I currently work remotely so after the long commute from the bed to the desk, I log in, greet my teammates on Slack and check on any service desk tickets that may have come in from our colleagues in the US. I will also work on cleaning up any work to potentially show to teammates during stand-up.

10am: Daily stand-up where we run through any open tickets, raising any issues that are blocking progress. This also doubles up as catch-up time with my teammates.

10:30am: Continue working on any open tickets that are assigned to me. This often takes the shape of a paired programming session, working with another engineer on my team to problem solve together.

12pm: Lunch time. As I work from home, I can just nip down to the kitchen for whatever I fancy.

1pm: Catch up with my teammates to get any update on how things are going – good or bad.

1:30pm: Back to working on any tickets I’m assigned.

4pm: Catch up again with teammates to have a look at what I’ve been doing. At this time of the day most people’s eyes are tired so it’s always a good idea to get a second pair on whatever work you’re doing.

5pm: Finish up for the day. Close the laptop and move away from a screen for a couple of hours.

My typical day is also about to change as I am moving to a hybrid working contract where I get the best of both worlds, both working at home and going into the office to meet my teammates.

Have your responsibilities and workload changed as you have progressed?

When starting out as an intern I was placed on a team with other interns to work on an internal application where other employees could create their own avatar and make their own profile, kind of like a mini social media for Liberty IT, which was a fun introduction to the company and working in an agile team.

Since moving into the graduate role, I’ve moved into the transformation of financial datasets into a unified format for easier consumption by clients. It requires a different skillset to what I was previously working on and also different to anything I had done in college – a lot of AWS.

There is plenty to learn but Liberty IT gives you access to all the training courses you need and provides you with a personal development plan to help get you up to speed.

How do you think this has made you more prepared for working life?

Liberty IT makes the transition from university life to professional life easier for lots of reasons and its development system is extremely transparent.

First, they assign you a buddy who assists you with anything you need or any questions you may have for the first few weeks to help you find your feet.

Then they put you though an excellent training academy. In this programme I’ve found my soft skills have improved a lot with teamwork, speaking up, demoing all becoming a lot more natural. Also working in an agile environment is another important thing I’ve picked up since joining.

Would you recommend the graduate programme at this company to others?

I would definitely recommend the Liberty IT graduate programme to others. They have a self-nominated promotion system where you can put yourself forward to go up a level based not only on the work you’ve completed in the past six months but on the training courses you have completed and any unique or strategic thinking you have brought to the table.

They also have a big focus on social events, collaboration and connection. They recently held their company-wide 25th anniversary celebrations at Clandeboye Estate in Bangor, which was some craic!

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