Empowering the tech talent of tomorrow with Kainos

  • Kainos’ Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Danielle Keenan, tells all from pathways into tech to developing your career.

    Q: As Corporate Social Responsibility Manager for Kainos, can you tell us about what this role involves?

    A: Social responsibility is at the heart of everything we do within Kainos. We're aligned with the UN sustainability goals and my role focuses on widening participation within computing and helping underrepresented people to grow their technical skills and pursue a career within the software industry.

    I collaborate with schools, charities, third-sector organisations and the government to create a positive impact on society. Kainos have a number of partnerships with social mobility charities and together we're doing great things within our community. We're delivering high-quality learning programs and we provide work placements to help people to develop key employability skills. Our overall aim is to create the next generation of technologists which is not only important to us but also the right thing to do.

    Q: For anyone considering a career in tech, what pathways are available at Kainos?

    A: There are many exciting career opportunities at Kainos. Our “Earn as you Learn” apprenticeship scheme is a brilliant pathway into Kainos. Students can gain their degree in computing while working on real-world projects, getting valuable experience. We also have our graduate programme which is an 18-month program which involves world-class training, mentorship, and opportunities to build skills and experience.

    We have a placement scheme which is a year-long program for university students who work within our experienced teams. It really helps them to kickstart their career in the software industry. In addition, we have many experienced roles in Software Engineering, AI, Security, User Design, Workday and many more.

    Q: Do you have to have a background in STEM to have a successful career in IT?

    A: You absolutely don't, a range of different backgrounds are transitioning into roles in the software industry. For example, within Kainos we have people with a psychology background, who are now working in user research.

    We have mathematicians who are working as data analysts. We have former teachers who are working in product management and testing. The software industry is growing rapidly and there are lots of exciting opportunities available for people from a broad and diverse range of backgrounds.

    Q: Over half of your executive team started as graduates including your CEO, Brendan Mooney, who joined as a trainee software engineer. How does Kainos help its employees develop their careers?

    A: When you join Kainos, you build a career for life. We set up the Kainos Academy in 2011, a leading training and career development program. We set it up with two main goals.

    The first one is to tackle the technical skills shortage and the second is to ensure that when people join Kainos, they can get to where they want to be. We have endless high-quality training programs within Kainos, all of our employees have access to our MAP (Master, Accomplish, Progress) programme, allowing them to develop their skills and grow their careers.

    Employees get access to over 40 internal courses to benefit from such as presentation skills, effective leadership and management training right through to wellbeing and coaching modules. We also have a career lattice, which supports career growth from left to right not just up and down.

    Q: What steps should young people take if they are interested in working within the tech sector?

    A: The tech sector is a very exciting place to develop your career. I would advise young people to get involved in as many learning opportunities as possible. Try out code camps, cyber camps, AI, and Cloud workshops. There are lots of different opportunities out there. It's a really good way for young people to get exposure to different technologies, and to find out where they would like to build their careers. Most of the programs are free and they're virtual, and it's very easy to get involved.

    A good place to start is the Kainos Academy, one of the programmes we offer through our Academy is our virtual work experience. It offers students aged 14-19, a virtual insight into what it’s like to work in the software industry. The students spend 3 days experiencing everything we do here at Kainos, meeting our people, and getting hands-on experience in web development and insight into the world of working in technology.

    We also have CodeCamp, a weeklong summer camp held virtually across Ireland, UK and Poland for students aged 14-18 that are studying STEM subjects and want to improve their coding skills and kickstart their experience in tech. We deliver daily coding tutorials, tech talks from the best experts, coding challenges and interactive sessions with fellow attendees. It is a really great experience and it helps students gain vital skills and experience that will help them with future studies and their careers!

    We provide learning opportunities for primary school children, right through to graduates, so we have initiatives that serve everyone regardless of where they're at within their technology journey.

    Maeve Donnelly’s Kainos Journey

    After taking many of the opportunities that Kainos offers, Maeve explains how she got into the tech industry

    “Being involved with Tech Outreach programmes at Kainos has helped me in so many ways, from my confidence growing to improving my public speaking skills. I have been involved in various outreach events, I have organised Code Clubs in schools in Northern Ireland, mentored at CodeCamp and recently I have been working with AWS to become an AWS Ambassador to encourage more girls to get involved in IT!

    Tech outreach helps us give back to our communities. Without Kainos’ tech outreach programmes, I wouldn’t have known about the opportunities we provide as a company. When I was in school, Kainos employees visited and talked about our EAYL programme, CodeCamp and work experience. As a result, I attended work experience and CodeCamp and I just graduated from the Earn As You Learn Apprenticeship Scheme.

    Tech outreach benefits not only us in our careers but helps others, especially those in schools trying to figure out what they want to do later in life! It has enabled me to share my experience of being an apprentice with young people across the country and help raise awareness regarding the many career opportunities in the Tech industry.”

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