Tech Trailblazers

Tech Trailblazers: Karl Lewis

  • Name: Karl Lewis 

    Job title: Staff Software Engineer in Test at PEAK6 Investments (Belfast)

    What does your typical day look like?

    I usually wake around 6.30 am to the sound of five dogs, three horses, and two donkeys (yes, they are all here). It's a bit like Belfast Zoo, one may say. We're building a new home, so we're living at the in-laws' house. I knock back two cups of tea while organizing the never-ending tasks that come with project managing a self-build home. 

    After that, I'm online by 8am to tackle all things cryptocurrency. 

    What are you currently working on?

    PEAK6 built Apex Fintech Solutions, which is behind leading fintech apps like SoFi and Stash. Apex Crypto is part of that brand, and we make it possible for customers to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. I'm currently working on the testing and release management for the Apex Crypto platform. 

    What inspired you to join this company in particular? 

    The people. I had worked closely with our site lead Lisa Stevenson, as well as other key people at PEAK6. I had great relationships with them, so the chance to continue to build on those relationships was a huge factor. On top of that, the tech stack and the huge amount of opportunities to work at leading companies across industries made my decision easy. 

    Did you always want to work in the tech industry?

    I dreamed of being a professional footballer at Liverpool. When that ended, I wanted to become an architect. I went to get a few weeks of work experience, but after five days I knew it wasn’t for me. 

    I then went on to study a BSc Hons degree in Computing Science, followed by a Masters in Business at Ulster University. 

    What’s your favourite part about your work? 

    Apart from learning all things crypto, I excel in a fast-paced working environment. That definitely defines PEAK6. I feel empowered to implement change, challenge the status quo, and improve the quality of our product. The culture is great here. Every day I get to interact with super-talented folk in Belfast as well as Chicago, Dallas, and California. 

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

    Simply: Do it! I’ve been involved in a number of STEM events over the years with the hope of getting more women and men into this sector. The sector is booming, there are more roles and opportunities to learn, and you can travel and attain a fantastic career. There is definitely something about the fast pace of product development and innovation in tech that just emits optimism. Knowing that you have the ability to change how people live their lives is an incredible thing. People are so passionate about their work that you become better at yours. 

    How do you see this technology impacting our lives?  

    My answer to this has probably changed since lockdown. We have become so dependent on technology now and I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing—particularly for teens and younger children. They have lost the art of conversation and I just hope that when things settle down again we can all get back to that. 

    Who inspired you to work in this field? 

    My mum always instilled the value of hard work: have a good job with good holidays and a pension. I guess I have all that now! Thanks, Mum! 

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

    Electric car technology. It's a fascinating space, and I really should have bought those shares in Tesla a few years back! 

    What tech gadget could you not live without? 

    Nothing new here: my phone. 

    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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