Phoebe McBride: 'Working in Applied Systems fosters collaboration, learning and a great mindset'

  • Phoebe McBride is a Belfast-based Software Developer at Applied Systems, a US-headquartered insurance tech company that provides cloud-based software globally.

    Sync NI chatted to Phoebe about her life working in the company, why she chose to work in the tech sector, any asked about any words of advice for future potential techies. 

    How did you come to work for Applied Systems? 

    I have worked at Applied for about six months now. An internal recruiter at the company reached out to me while I was on maternity leave and looking for a new opportunity for when it ended.

    I have worked in both a large corporation and a smaller company previously, and wanted to return to a more corporate environment. Applied also have a great reputation for being a family friendly company, which is now very important to me.

    Starting a new job during the pandemic was strange. It was odd to join a team without meeting anyone in person, but Applied provided a great working from home setup for me so it's been easy to stay connected to the team. We also make an effort to socialise as much as we can online until we get a chance to do it in person.

    I have worked in tech since I was 20. I started a software development apprenticeship and did my degree at the same time which was great. Before that I had worked in retail and various call centres in Belfast.

    What does a typical work day in your life look like?

    My typical work day involves team meetings to check on the progress of current work and to prioritise work we've agreed to complete. We also have daily meetings to refine future work so it's ready for development when we choose to start working on it.

    Outside of meetings I'll be working on new functionality or fixing existing bugs. I work on the web team; we provide insurance software for a few different customers in Ireland. It's interesting working on different things each day and being able to mix up the work, it means every day brings a new challenge which is great for staying motivated and continually learning.

    RELATED: A day in the life of a Junior Developer at Applied Systems

    Applied have been great throughout the pandemic, they have sent multiple care boxes out to every employee consisting of everything from a blanket to sweet treats and wine. They've managed to keep everyone feeling involved and appreciated while working remotely, which has been really lovely.

    They also provide continual updates on the company as a whole and provide developer days where devs get to take a whole day for personal development.

    They have webinars we can dial into to learn something new, or take the day to ourselves to work on something we have a specific interest in. This is so important for keeping up to date with the latest technologies as well as being able to delve deeper and gain a better understanding of the tech we use every day.

    Why did you decide to work in the tech industry?

    I was very practical about my choice to work in tech. I knew they needed people in Belfast and I have always had a proficiency in maths. My choice was made for me when I got a place in the apprenticeship program and the opportunity to go to university without any student debt presented itself.

    Technology impacts almost all aspects of our lives now. I think this will only continue in the future with smart homes leading to smart cities, which I think will eventually be the norm.

    RELATED: Tech Craic: Applied Systems' Andy Fairchild

    How we are utilising tech for sustainability has always interested me, and we will need to harness this going forward to build a world that is no longer reliant on natural resources. I couldn't live without my phone for a multitide of reasons, one of the main ones being that I use it to track my running progress!

    I think our reliance on tech has grown massively throughout the pandemic, with way more people having to use their phones for online banking, shopping, doctors appointments, school etc. Because of how normal it's become I reckon our reliance will only continue to grow.

    Do you have any advice for those considering a career in tech currently?

    To anyone considering a job in the tech industry, I would say go for it! It's a great time to get into the field and there are so many online resources to learn from.

    You probably don't even necessarily need a degree any more to get an entry level job, provided you've done the work yourself to learn the basics at home.

    There are also amazing opportunities for people with existing degrees to do a conversion masters. I've worked with lots of people who have come through this pathway and they are some of the best developers I've worked with.

    Where do you see your career in the future?

    In 5 to 10 years years I'd like to be working on a team with lots of young developerss who can teach me all of the most up-to-date stuff!!

    You have to be committed to continuous learning in this field and the more people with different skillsets on a team, the more robust and efficient the system you're building will be. It also fosters an environment of collaboration and learning which is a great mindset to be in while working everyday.

    RELATED: Check out all of Sync NI's Tech Trailblazers here

    Find out more about Applied Systems here and check out the latest tech job offerings across Northern Ireland on Sync NI's Jobs page 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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