Tech Trailblazers

Tech Trailblazers: Aine McCaughey

  • Name: Aine McCaughey

    RoleSenior Software Engineer, Civica

    What does your typical day look like?

    My day usually involves a daily stand-up with my team in the morning, followed by prioritising important tasks before getting stuck into coding for the day. This can involve a lot of discussion around implementation of particular solutions as well as providing support to more junior members of the team. Aside from that, my day can involve answering emails and taking phone calls from teachers and school principals as part of my role in leading Civica’s Coding for Kids programme.

    What are you currently working on?

    I currently work on a project in the telecoms sector which involves designing and maintaining a system to provide voice and broadband services to customers. Our team works mainly on back end solutions, however my passion lies in front end development, and so any front end work required on the team is usually sent my way!

    What inspired you to join this company in particular?

    I first heard about Civica in my first year at Ulster University Magee, where they did a talk about their scholarship programme. I ended up getting a summer internship followed by a year’s placement with them and couldn’t wait to get back after I graduated! What I really liked about Civica was the way other employees talked about working there. It was obvious they loved it, and that the company ethos was about creating a great place to work; something that really appealed to me.

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

    Tech has always been in my life; my Dad worked in this industry for many years, but for a long time I was very unsure about what career path I should take. I explored careers in pharmacy, biochemistry and teaching, and it was actually attending an open day for Computer Science at Ulster University Magee that inspired me to take the leap! I loved the sound of the course as well as the University and just knew that it was the place for me! Over six years on and I don’t regret a thing!

    What’s your favourite part about your work?

    I love that every day is different. Whether that be a new problem to solve or technology to explore, things are always moving in the industry, and we must continually expand our knowledge and develop new skills. I also love working with all of the people in Civica; it’s definitely the people that make an organisation, and I am incredibly fortunate to work with such a great team!

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

    Passion is key; I couldn’t do what I do without it! Work feels too much like work if you don’t enjoy it, and we spend so much of our lives working, so why not spend it doing something you love! Also, don’t listen to the nay-sayers. Too often many people, especially women, are put off a career in tech because they have either been told, or they think, they aren’t good enough. If it is truly what you want to do, take that leap; I promise you won’t regret it!

    Who inspired you to work in this field?

    My Dad was a huge inspiration to me in my decision to join this industry. He worked in tech for many years, and now works in academia, and most definitely instilled a love of technology in me. His support and guidance from the beginning of my journey into tech has been second to none, and I feel incredibly lucky to have someone like him to look up to. After 30+ years in the field he is still so passionate about what he does; something I can only hope to be in years to come!

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

    For me it would be the advancement in machine learning. The applications for use of this are so far reaching in all areas of society!

    How do you see this technology impacting on our lives?

    As I said, machine learning can have many different applications, but one I am particularly interested in is its use within healthcare, and in particular, health of the elderly. With an increasingly aging population, and an increase in diseases such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s, we are now able to use things like machine learning in the diagnosis phase of these diseases to help doctors get a diagnosis much earlier than previously possible. This is only scratching the surface of the impact this kind of technology can have on our lives, and is something that I am incredibly hopeful about!

    What tech gadget could you not live without?

    My iPhone; I’m definitely an Apple fangirl!


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