Tech Trailblazers

Tech Trailblazers: Margaret Le Roux

  • Name: Margaret Le Roux

    Role: IT Operations Team Leader, Randox Laboratories

    Biography:

    I graduated from the University of Rhodesia (now known as Zimbabwe), as a Biomedical Scientist in 1980. My career in South Africa was then predominantly in the clinical laboratory medicine field, and I qualified as a Technical Assessor for clinical laboratories through the South African National Accreditation System. I moved to Belfast in 2014 and started work with Randox.

    What does your typical day look like?

    I work in an IT Operations role bridging our science and quality control software, which assesses the accuracy and reliability of blood tests, and the machines they are run on, in the likes of hospitals, laboratories, and veterinary clinics. On a typical day, I deal with customer queries about this software, troubleshoot the issues, and drive new developments to improve our systems and applications. I also spend time training Randox staff, mentoring some of my junior colleagues, and speaking at Biomedical Science Conferences to educate others in the industry about the importance of quality control software.

    What are you currently working on?

    I’m currently working on the specification for our external quality assessment software, which involves a mock blood sample being run in a laboratory’s analyser, and the result being sent back to Randox so that we can independently check that it is performing correctly.

    I have also been working on the software project that saw Randox win ‘Project Team of the Year’ at the 2019 Belfast Telegraph IT Awards. This cloud-based quality control technology was specifically designed for ‘Point of Care’ machines which provide finger prick blood tests for conditions like heart disease and diabetes, in pharmacies, GP surgeries and A&E departments.

    Did you always want to work in the tech industry?

    I have been very lucky that my specialist role at Randox combines my degree in Biomedical Science, and my experience in QC, with my passion for software development. In South Africa, I worked as a Quality Officer for a large private laboratory, with 3 main laboratories and over 100 peripheral sites across 10 African countries. The management of quality control data was a huge job and as such I became interested in a software program that could assist the lab with this task.

    What inspired you to join Randox in particular?

    Whilst working in South Africa, I was one of Randox’s customers, and made extensive use of their quality control products. Randox has always had a very good reputation in South Africa so when I moved to Belfast it was a natural choice for me.

    What’s your favourite part about your work?

    It’s a great feeling when we introduce a new release to our software and you know that the customers are going to benefit from it.

    What would you say to other people considering a job in the tech industry?

    A job in the tech industry is simultaneously exciting and challenging, as each day brings something new. You will continually be making improvements and striving to make something better, which is a good work ethic. It’s really satisfying when you are part of a team which develops a software program that is so well accepted in the market and useful to the customer.

    How do you see this technology impacting on our lives?

    The technology industry is so fluid and moving at such a fast pace, and there are developments across all industries which are making our lives easier. At Randox in particular, our software is helping a range of healthcare professionals - whether laboratory technicians, clinicians or veterinarians – to achieve our shared goal of saving and improving the lives of patients. It’s rewarding to know we are making a difference.

    Who inspired you to work in this field?

    In the field of Quality Control, I was inspired by Dr Pandelani Rambau, a Clinical Pathologist from Johannesburg. In IT, it was a colleague Sean Dicks who showed me that there is always a way to get a program to do what you need it to do.

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

    The development of communication devices has been incredibly important. They open up the whole world to us and we can access things, both socially and for education, that previously were only available to a few. They have brought so much information to our fingertips.

    What tech gadget could you not live without?

    I couldn’t live without my phone, because it is so much more than just a phone. It holds all the important things that make up my life, like messages, memories, and my calendar.

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