Tech Trailblazers

Tech Trailblazer: Michaela McGrath

  • Name: Michaela McGrath

    Job title: Senior Platform Engineer at Kainos

    Biography: I graduated 6 years ago from the Ulster University with a degree in Computing Science. After I graduated, I worked as a DevOps Engineer for a year before applying for the Platforms Academy within Kainos which I joined over 5 years ago.

    Over the past five years I have worked on eight projects for four different customers, three of these projects were delivering services to the UK government whilst the other four have been improving existing healthcare services.

    The technology stack across these projects differed, some of them used AWS, Terraform, Ansible, Puppet & even Salt. Working on diverse projects greatly enhanced my knowledge & skillset which allowed me to apply for my promotion to be a Senior Engineer which I have been for the past 3 years.

    What does your typical day look like?

    A typical day begins with a stand-up meeting where my team will share what they worked on yesterday, what they’re working on today & if they’ve any issues.

    Following this meeting I will pick up a new task from the sprint board or continue working on an existing task I have previously picked up. Tasks differ depending on sprint goals, a task could be to build a new environment for the application via Terraform or to create an Open Design Proposal document to mitigate the problems with the application’s inbound traffic flow.

    There is usually another meeting during the day, whether it’s an Agile ceremony or a 1-to-1 catch up.

    What are you currently working on?

    I’m currently working on two projects for Genomics England.

    For one of the projects, I’m supporting other squads within Genomics England integrate with the Session Management API, which is a global solution for National Genomic Information System web applications with regards to session management and handling backchannel logout events.

    For the other project I’m helping to improve Genomics England’s onboarding process so researchers can onboard to the Research Environments seamlessly.

    What inspired you to join this company in particular?

    Kainos were known to offer multiple programs to help develop engineers such as Earn as You Learn, Entry Level Academies, etc. This really inspired me to join as I felt Kainos would help me enhance my knowledge & skill set within my role as a DevOps Engineer. This role required a different skill set than what I was primarily taught at university & lucky enough Kainos were running a DevOps academy at the time.

    I was also inspired to join Kainos as it was one of the only companies that originated in Belfast at the time.

    Did you always want to work in this industry (tech)?

    No, when choosing my A-levels I originally wanted to work in Forensic Science, so I studied Biology & ICT. I quickly discovered that A-level Biology wasn’t the subject for me but on the other hand I was excelling in ICT. I was lucky enough to have a teacher recognise this & guide me to the tech industry.

    What’s your favourite part about your work?

    My favourite part about my work is the variety of it. Within the last 5 years I have worked on eight projects for four different customers, for each project I get to work on a new solution & the technology stack may differ from the previous one which has allowed me to continuously grow my knowledge & skill set as a Platform Engineer.

    What would you say to other people considering a job in this industry (tech)?

    Go for it! Right now, the tech industry is booming with opportunities. There is so many ways to get started in this industry too, it doesn’t have to be down the university route either. Plus, it’s an industry where you can easily change role, I’ve seen a Software Engineer transition to a Business Analyst.

    How do you see this technology impacting on our lives?

    Technology affects almost every aspect of our lives & it’ll continue to do so! I can see technology continuing to impact the manual processes of our lives with the use of AI.

    I recently went on a holiday & went through 5 different airports, the airports that had automated check in systems allowed the whole process to be completed in 10 minutes whilst those airports that didn’t had a process time of 60 minutes plus. I obviously preferred the automated system every time!

    Who inspired you to work in this field?

    As I previously mentioned, my secondary school ICT teacher.

    What do you consider to be the most important tech innovation or development in recent years?

    3D printing because of its many uses that has transformed industries around the world such as healthcare, aerospace, architecture, etc.

    What tech gadget could you not live without?

    Shamelessly I rely on a lot of gadgets every day, but it would have to be my phone.

    About the author

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