Tech Trailblazers

Tech Trailblazers: Kate McAleenan

  • Name: Kate McAleenan

    Job title: Software Engineer I at PEAK6 Investments (Belfast)

    What does your typical day look like?

    I've been working remotely since I started. Luckily, until we get back into the offices, my team has a great morning routine for staying in contact. We do a daily standup for our group to discuss the tasks ahead, and then we have a morning coffee call.

    From there, my day varies based on the work I have assigned to me during a sprint. Recently, I've written code in React, written tests in Cypress for Codefresh, and reviewed code.

    Each day ends with a handover call with our American team members based in Dallas and Portland.

    What are you currently working on? 

    Our team is currently working on a product for our Compliance team. This has been a massive learning curve for me because it's the first opportunity I have to be full-stack. For this project, we are using Java and React and there is potential for some Go projects in the future!

    What inspired you to join this company in particular?

    The company has an amazing culture and a great community for women in tech. We're growing rapidly and there is a real emphasis on the abundance of opportunities to learn and grow within PEAK6!

    It also helped to hear from employees within the company before I made my decision. Lynsey Ussher spoke highly of the company and how much she was enjoying working with the team. That sold me!

    Did you always want to work in the tech industry?

    I have a BSc (Honours) degree in Interactive Multimedia Design from Ulster University. I had always enjoyed IT from school, and by picking Computer Science and ICT for my A-levels, it was clear I was set to go down the tech route. I like being creative, and I could do that as a developer.

    What’s your favourite part about your work?

    It has to be the people—getting to collaborate and share ideas. Considering that I started remotely, settling in has been a breeze.

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

    I'd really encourage anyone to do it if it is something that they are interested in. What I have learned is that there isn't a strict path you need to follow, so if you want it you can do whatever you like. There are no limits in the tech industry.

    How do you see technology impacting our lives?  

    What I have noticed recently is the positive impact technology has had during the pandemic. Contactless payments, connecting with family and friends through Zoom, are just a few examples of how tech helped us through hard times.

    Who inspired you to work in this field?

    I have to give some credit to my brother. He had a huge part to play in helping me get where I am today. He studied interactive design and encouraged me to take the course too. And because he's in the industry himself, he has been able to guide me through.

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

    Smartwatches, and wearable technology in general, are things I have been obsessed with! Tracking the steps and letting everyone know I did some exercise, along with the ability to do contactless payments using it.

    What tech gadget could you not live without?

    Without a doubt, it's my phone. Like a lot of us!

    Read more about our Tech Trailbazers on Sync NI here. Find out more about PEAK6's job opportunities on our Jobs page here.

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