Puppet in Belfast: Then and now

  • As technology continues to grow at a perpetually rapid pace, automation has become a daily requirement for many modern businesses.

    Tech firm Puppet makes “automation software because you’ve got better things to do” (in their own words). The company’s mission is to solve the most complex problems of their customers.

    Puppet partners with the world’s largest companies and government institutions to scale intelligent enterprise automation anywhere, with the freedom to choose how and where to manage infrastructure, and the knowledge to transform and empower the workforce. The company provides tech solutions that automate how companies continuously deliver software, make infrastructure compliant, remediate vulnerabilities, and generally manage infrastructure in hybrid cloud environments.

    Puppet started hiring in Northern Ireland with a Belfast office in 2014.

    In those seven years, the firm has grown and now has a number of global teams with a local NI presence, including development, customer support, technology and security, and human resources.

    A lot has changed for the automation experts during this time.

    The Belfast team moved into a new office in Linenhall Street in 2017 and Puppet has since partnered with local universities, providing a successful internship programme for UX and engineering positions.

    Sync NI asked Principal Software Engineer, Seamus McKenna, what he likes the most about working at Puppet. 

    RELATED: A day in the life of an engineering manager at Puppet

    He said: “Firstly I want to point out that I haven't stayed at any other company as long. This is a testament to how many things I like about working at Puppet. 

    “Most importantly, I feel like I am constantly learning and being presented opportunities to work with the latest technologies. I feel respected and my well-being cared for. From flexibility to being surprised with extra company days off, work-life balance is really valued.

    “Day one at Puppet for me was actually at our PDX office (in Portland, Oregon, USA),” he continued. 

    “I was blown away. From beer kegs, arcade machines, relaxation rooms, table tennis to snacks, I couldn’t get my head around it all. Was like nothing I’d seen before (with the exception of the film, ‘The Internship’). Then to come back and recreate a similar space Belfast Office was an incredible experience.”

    Puppet's current Belfast office

    Manager of Engineering, Andrés Núñez Veiga echoed Seamus’ opinions. 

    He said that “initially in Belfast, the office was a set of rooms in the Scottish Provident building and, despite being small, the atmosphere was incredible.

    “The company was really open and inclusive about the plans they had to open a bigger space in Belfast and that made the journey from that small startup space to the second-to-none facilities we have these days even more enjoyable.

    “The facilities are fantastic. The company really cares about giving the employees anything they need to do their job. I have never worked in a workspace like this, where every single detail has been well taken care of for the employee to be comfortable in the office.”

    Senior Software Engineer, Sheena Tharakanparampil added that Puppet stands out for her compared to other local employers because the company “always comes up with challenging projects and we use the latest technologies that help each of us to keep up to date with the market.”

    “We also get the opportunity to work on open-source projects,” she commented. 

    “We have lots of opportunities to attend tech talks and conferences. Every Friday, we have a wrap up session which helps everyone to understand the work done by different teams. 

    “The regular all-hands, product meetings, demos, etc., help us to get pieces of information from the management. In Puppet, we have a very flexible working environment. Love it!”

    Puppet's Belfast office is located on Linenhall Street

    Giving some advice for prospective Puppet employees, Senior Principal UX Designer, Rick Monro, said, “Come to work to learn, and to give back. Technology without design can be soulless and unusable, which makes the experience layer of software critical to its success. 

    “We are working to make life better for customers, and the people who work for our customers. We do that consciously and ethically, but it takes applied effort and alignment around creating a better future for organisations.”

    Rick has worked in tech for over 20 years and joined Puppet in March 2017, attracted “by the nature of the design challenges”. 

    “Puppet products enable automation to help customers achieve digital transformation,” he said. 

    “These challenges are new, and addressing them demands innovative approaches. Understanding the problem to be solved has never been more critical.

    “Puppet is big enough to count 80% of the Global 5000 amongst our customer and community base but small enough to still be in touch with the company’s startup roots,” Rick continued. 

    “The potential for the company is huge. The nature of our user base is evolving at the same time.”

    He concluded: “Belfast is a major part of the Puppet story, with the office established almost seven years ago. The products being designed and developed here are in use by some of the world’s largest organisations, helping them solve some of their toughest problems.”

    Find out more about Puppet on their website here and check out their latest tech job offerings on the Sync NI Jobs board here.

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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