Tech Trailblazers

Tech Trailblazers: Jo Lillie

  • Name: Jo Lillie

    Role: Associate Software Engineer at Puppet

    What does your typical day look like?

    A typical day for me is starting work between 8am-9am, checking my emails and calendar to see what meetings I have, planning for the day, and getting a coffee. Stand-up is at 10:15am where we each give an update on what we have been working on the day before and also what we plan to work on that day. In between attending meetings that can include sprint planning, grooming tickets to determine how long they will take and team syncs, I will work on any development or test tickets that I have picked up for the current sprint. Throughout the day I will chat with team members if I or anyone on the team runs into any problems or has any questions. When I have time between working on tickets, I will review pull requests or do some self-learning.

    What are you currently working on?

    Currently I am working on the latest release of Puppet Comply. This has included lots of testing and fixing any bugs found. Puppet Comply is a tool that assesses the infrastructure that is managed with Puppet Enterprise against CIS benchmarks - the best practices for securely configuring systems from the Centre for Internet Security (CIS). It can run scans to check the compliance of the infrastructure against these benchmarks, identify the cause and source of compliance failures, and determine what settings and configurations need to be made to each system to resolve these failures. Keeping infrastructure compliant is a really growing field with the rise of cybersecurity attacks as well as a lot of mandates from the government around compliance.

    What inspired you to join Puppet?

    Puppet had been mentioned to me by a few friends when I asked for recommendations for placement opportunities. What stood out to me most about Puppet was how welcoming everyone was and how at ease I felt during their open night. Puppet’s culture and the real sense of community and teamwork were what inspired me to join. I loved my placement year here and was more than happy to accept an offer to return to Puppet after university. They have some really cool products and have some really big customers in the US, Europe, Singapore and Australia. Splunk and KPN are a few that come to mind.

    What is your favourite thing about your work?

    The people, the atmosphere, the culture, and the flexibility. It’s a great place to learn, there’s no such thing as a silly question and you are encouraged to ask. If you want to learn frontend or backend development, you are given time to develop your skills and full stack development is encouraged if that is something you are interested in. Puppet has a great DE&I mission and vision. Here at Belfast there is an IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access) working group which I am looking forward to joining again.

    Did you always want to work in the tech industry?

    Not always. After leaving school at 16 I completed different qualifications which included art & design and also theatrical, special effects, hair and media make-up. It wasn’t until I was 22 when I began an access course in maths and computing that I became interested in the tech industry and decided to go on and study computer science at university the following year.

    What would you say to others who are considering a role in this industry?

    I would definitely encourage anyone who is considering or interested in the tech industry to give it a go. There are so many different roles ranging from developers, QA, product and UX. There is flexibility to move into different areas if you feel like you want to explore something new. You are constantly learning and improving your skill set. I had never coded before university so don’t let coding put you off; there are so many skills that are valued not only in developer roles but all tech roles.

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

    3D printing, especially in the medical field where custom-fit prostheses can be made with more freedom and are more affordable for people. Also virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) has grown in recent years, from being used initially for gaming and entertainment to now being implemented in healthcare such as therapy by programming scenarios to customise patients’ treatments, helping surgeons in the theatre by alerting them to risks and hazards while they work, and for training surgeons/medical students.

    What tech gadget could you not live without?

    I’m sure it’s a common answer but my mobile phone; it does everything I need and it fits in my pocket!

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