Tech Trailblazers

Tech Trailblazers: Claire Houston

  • Name: Claire Houston

    Role: Senior AI Engineer, Kainos

    What does your typical day look like?

    I honestly don’t really have a typical day which I love. Day to day I might be training and testing bespoke models, leveraging machine learning services or working directly with a customer. The machine learning solutions I use change too as they’re dependent on the customer’s problem.

    What are you currently working on?

    I’m looking into hand-writing recognition, what’s being offered by machine learning services and what models are available for transfer learning. Essentially answering, can any of these solutions be used in production systems.

    What inspired you to join this company in particular?

    I was inspired to join Kainos as it was one of the first IT companies I’d heard of and I consistently heard good things about it. Kainos attended a lot of tech outreach events in my school, which gave me the opportunity to ask questions about what a career in IT was like. It helped me start my career and when I heard Kainos had placement roles, I knew I wanted to join.

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

    Honestly no, I wanted to do an English degree for a while and briefly thought of doing a science degree. I got interested in tech not because I was a gamer or because I’d built my own computer, but because I loved problem solving and getting to the bottom of things!

    What’s your favourite part about your work?

    The fast pace of AI, we have to keep one eye on the future to keep up with it all!

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

    Go for it. Tech is everywhere already, and its influence will continue to grow, so why not be a part of shaping what it will look like. In Belfast there’s also a great tech community to help you get started and support you as you grow.

    How do you see this technology impacting on our lives?

    AI will change every bit of our lives.

    Who inspired you to work in this field?

    My family- my dad, three uncles and two aunts all have careers in IT and hearing about it growing up made it a real option for me. One aunt helped me get a week’s work experience in Allstate, where I heard about the different roles and opportunities in tech, and it really cemented that this was the field for me.

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

    Use of GPU’s in allowing neural networks to become faster and bigger. Without them AI as we know it today probably wouldn’t exist.

    What tech gadget could you not live without?

    My phone.

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