Tech Trailblazers

Tech Trailblazers: Cera McArdle

  • Name: Cera McArdle

    Role: Staff Software Engineer, Rakuten

    Bio: I graduated from Queen’s University Belfast in 1993 with a with a first class honours degree in Computer Science and Pure Mathematics. After graduation I joined Kainos Software where I spent a decade before joining the HBOS ECommerce Development Centre. Since then I have worked in both start-up companies like SpeechStorm and arc-net, and more established companies like CyberSource and Rakuten.

    At Rakuten Blockchain Lab, whilst we are part of a large organisation, the inner workings of the lab are more akin to a startup company in terms of product development and engineering direction. Whilst my job title has changed numerous times during my career so far - software engineer, solution architect, technical architect, lead engineer – the thread running through these has been working in a team endeavouring to build great software and solve interesting problems along the way. 

    What does your typical day look like?

    A typical day is atypical, because what I might be working on varies considerably. I might be designing some new functionality, or refactoring a service. to make it more testable, or involved in some ongoing code review discussions with other team members. The constants in my work day are scribbling down at the start of the day what I would like to get done that day, team standup at 10 o’clock and plenty of cups of tea.

    What are you currently working on? 

    I am currently part of the team that has developed Rakuten’s Cryptocurrency Exchange platform. The Rakuten Wallet cryptocurrency exchange went live in July and we are currently working on enhancements to the exchange platform and a number of other blockchain projects.

    What inspired you to join this company in particular?

    It was the team that attracted me to join Rakuten Blockchain Lab. I had worked with a few members of the team in previous roles and respected their abilities and ethos in the software development space. I also welcomed the opportunity to work with some new people as I enjoy the dynamic of learning from each other, which often happens as working relationships are formed.

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

    I always loved Mathematics but I did not have a fixed idea of where it might lead me. A teacher at school introduced me to programming which I loved but I hedged my bets at university by doing a joint degree. Once I started working as a software engineer at Kainos, I realised what it meant to really enjoy software engineering and computer programming.

    That’s not to say that I was exclusively interested in the tech industry. About 10 years ago I went back to Queen’s to get a PGCE in Mathematics and taught Mathematics for a year before returning to software engineering.

    What’s your favourite part about your work?

    My favourite part of working in the Rakuten Blockchain Lab is finding a solution to a difficult problem that I wasn’t sure had a solution when I started looking at it.

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

    Working in the tech industry is fantastic if you have a genuine passion for it, but a miserable job if you don’t. 

    Who inspired you to work in this field?

    My cousin Joan was a computer programmer and her path paved the way for me to consider it as a career choice.

    What do you consider to be the most important tech innovation or development in recent years? What tech gadget could you not live without?

    The game-changer has been the ubiquitous connectivity that now exists through the Internet. Programming individual systems and devices is so limited until these systems and devices are connected together. Despite working in the tech industry, I am not keen on gadgetry and end up living pretty well without most of the gadgets. Does a dish-washer count as a gadget?

    About the author

    An article that is attributed to Sync NI Team has either involved multiple authors, written by a contributor or the main body of content is from a press release.

    Got a news-related tip you’d like to see covered on Sync NI? Email the editorial team for our consideration.

    Sign up now for a FREE weekly newsletter showcasing the latest news, jobs and events in NI’s tech sector.

Share this story