Interviews

Version 1: Insights from a Belfast tech lead

  • Written by the team at Version 1

    Irish software firm Version 1 sat down with its tech lead, Chris Colohan for a chat about his career to date and some interesting insights for those looking to enter the sector. 

    Hi Chris. Tell us about your background and what drove you to get into tech?

    "I’m born and bred in North Belfast and still live there to this day. I studied Computer Science at Queens University Belfast where I achieved an MEng. In all honesty, I loved playing computer games when I was a child (and even more honestly, I still do!). I think this was what made me become interested in a career In IT. After studying IT as an AS level in school, I decided I was definitely going to pursue a career as an IT professional."

    Tell us what you love about your role?

    "Currently, I am really enjoying all of the opportunities being presented as part of Version 1’s growth in the Belfast office. I know I am biased, but we have a fantastic team and we are currently providing excellent services for so many customers! I have recently become a Tech Lead in the company’s .Net team, so I am really enjoying mentoring and sharing my experiences with junior members of staff. I have been a senior figure on teams before, but I am really enjoying pushing myself every day and taking on more and more responsibility. I have spent more of my career as a Microsoft SharePoint architect, so I enjoyed the opportunity to change over to the .Net team."

    What hobbies do you have and are any of them tech-related?

    "In my free time, I enjoy mainly spending time with my wife and kids, but I do have a few hobbies. I enjoy playing the guitar, watching football, reading, seeing my friends, fairly ordinary things in all honesty! I also have an interest in different types of financial trading and have started writing various applications over the last few years. I really enjoy doing this due to my interest in trading but it also helps me keep my development skills sharp!"

    What advice would you give to young people considering a career in the field?

    "Try to keep up with latest trends in the IT sectors you are interested in. If you begin programming and find it difficult to begin with, do not let it put you off: things will click eventually. I remember we had a practical exam in our first year of university which literally half of the class failed! This caused a lot of people to drop out of the course so I would say don’t let what can be a steep initial learning curve put you off."

    Why would you recommend a tech career at Version 1?

    "Version 1 is expanding rapidly, we have a very ambitious leadership team and we aren’t afraid to invest time and money looking into new technologies. We have taken on some big clients recently and at the rate the company is growing there is more scope than ever to forge your own path."

    Tell us a quote you live by. 

    "I always loved this one: 'Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. There is nothing more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not. Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not. The world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and Determination alone are Omnipotent' - Joe Strummer."

    Do you follow any interesting online accounts, blogs or feeds to stay up to date with the latest trends in the market?

    "I’m a Microsoft Stack Architect / Consultant so I mainly follow Microsoft related accounts on Twitter (the main platform I will use). I also look out for accounts written by MVPs from other companies who don’t work for Microsoft, there are a huge number of these accounts online. I have also found recently that Linkedin is a great way to keep up to date. Not necessarily for technical discussion, but for more general areas that you may not always consider as they don’t play a large part in your 9 – 5 role."

    Where do you see the future of tech going in Northern Ireland - are there any developments you're excited about?

    "Tech in NI is growing at an unbelievable rate. When I look back at the start of my career 12 years ago compared to now, the landscape is unrecognisable. I never thought I would see so many huge state of the art office buildings. NI, and in particular, is now a go-to place for American firms to create offices, it seems like a new one is announced every week! There is an exciting future for tech in NI and the most exciting part is the opportunities it opens for our IT workers."

    Interested in an IT career in NI? Version 1 is hiring now. 

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