Tech Trailblazers

Tech Trailblazers: Barry O'Kane

  • Name: Barry O'Kane

    Role: Principal Software Engineer at Global Payments Inc

    What does your typical day look like?

    Typically my day starts with examining the results from our automated test environments, to see how our dev branches and their related tests performed overnight. Then as a team we’ll have a quick catchup to call out any issues and get the day started.

    Throughout the day we use google chat extensively to stay in contact, primarily for the craic, but we do some actual work in there as well.

    What are you currently working on?

    My team and I are currently working on a part of the solution to enable merchants to use cloud based POS solutions for payments.

    It’s primarily focused around a RESTful API, and I’m particularly enjoying the integration of the cloud services with the backend of the API.

    What inspired you to join this company in particular?

    I’d worked in a few places prior to Global Payments and found myself frustrated with the lack of proper design of solutions, and lack of involvement in design and architectural decisions. I found all of that here, and since joining I feel a genuine ownership of the work I’m doing, and that my skills and experience are being used to the fullest.

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

    No. When I left school I had no idea what I wanted to do. It took someone asking me to look after an MS Access database to kickstart my love of technology and development.

    What’s your favourite part about your work?

    Solution design. I love the collaboration between the team and the architects to get the best solution to the problem. My wife would say I’m a know-it-all, and if I think I’m right I’ll argue my corner. When I don’t get my way it’s because someone else has a better idea or understanding of the particular problem, and I think arguing the merits of a solution like this has led to some of the best solutions I’ve worked on in my career.

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

    It’s a very interesting area and with the constant changes in technologies, it’s a constant learning process. Also there are so many different technologies that you could never learn it all, and working as a team with all those different strengths makes every day interesting.

    How do you see this technology impacting on our lives?

    With the current pandemic and how it’s already affecting our daily lives, payments technologies are rapidly shifting towards contactless and digital forms. Cash is rapidly becoming an obsolete payment form and in 20 years who knows, we may have some form of biometric based payment systems. It’s exciting seeing the evolution that payments are going through.

    Who inspired you to work in this field?

    My wife. Before I got into technology she was doing her degree in Computer Science. I found some of the stuff that she was doing interesting, and started looking through it with her. If she hadn’t pushed me to look into it further I don’t know what I’d be doing right now.

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

    Quantum computing. It’s not quite there yet, but some of the recent breakthroughs are definitely showing that we’re on the cusp. The concepts of superposition and quantum entanglement are mind blowing, and I think in years to come it will have a massive impact on our lives, in ways I can’t begin to imagine.

    What tech gadget could you not live without?

    I’d typically say my phone, but lately I’ve been working on making my house into a smart home and so I’m going to say Hive (with IFTTT). Automating the heating and being able to turn it on when I enter a specified area with lifting a finger is amazing. That being said, my son learning to say “Alexa, play baby shark” is not how I envisaged my life!

    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