Tech Trailblazers

Tech Trailblazer: Chris Gilroy

  • Name: Chris Gilroy

    Role: Senior Software Engineer at PA Consulting

    I graduated with a degree in MPhys Physics from The University of Manchester

    What does your typical day look like?

    Usually when I turn my laptop on in the morning I will check both my emails and Slack to look for any high priority issues that might require my attention. I’ll then look at my to-do list and prioritise what I should focus on first. The day will often be broken up with both team and client calls.

    What are you currently working on?

    I am currently providing early life support for several products which I helped to build and develop. It’s been really rewarding work as I’ve been able to see things from both a developer and support perspective. My responsibilities have changed over time and that has kept things fresh. 

    What inspired you to join this company in particular?

    PA is not a traditional consulting firm - it’s an innovation and transformation consultancy and the breadth of projects that PA is involved in is astounding - we’ve designed cosmetic applicators for people living with Parkinson’s, replaced plastic packaging with dry-moulded fibre and turned an institutional asset manager into an agile organisation to unlock growth. PA operates in many business sectors and uses many different technologies to meet their clients needs. In previous companies there had been a tendency to ‘pigeon hole’ you to a particular role or technology, but in PA I am given freedom to drive my own career and develop my skills as I would like to.

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

    I had always had an interest in technology from a young age but my first exposure to software engineering wasn’t until I was at university (studying Physics). I really got a taste for it and from that point I knew that’s where my career was heading.  

    What’s your favourite part about your work?

    It sounds cliched but it would have to be the people. At PA, there are diverse teams of experts who combine innovative thinking and breakthrough use of technologies to achieve enduring results for clients. I also find the backgrounds and paths that people have led to a career in the IT industry fascinating. Each new project brings a different mix of talent; experienced architects right down to junior developers with new perspectives.

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

    As someone coming from a non-technical background, go for it. You see a lot of people change career to IT but very few who do the opposite. It’s such a thriving industry, particularly in Northern Ireland, and there are so many great opportunities.

    Who inspired you to work in this field?

    I had always had an interest myself but one of my cousins who is a web developer definitely helped to influence my decision.

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

    The vital role that technology played in the quick turnaround to deliver a coronavirus vaccine

    How do you see this technology impacting on our lives?

    The vaccine is of course going to help us come out of the pandemic. Our ways of working have changed so much over the last couple of years and technology has changed with this. Hopefully we all end up with better broadband connections! J

    What tech gadget could you not live without?

    Phone would be the obvious answer but I’m rarely seen without my headphones!

    About the author

    Aoife is a Sync NI writer with a previous background working in print, online and broadcast media. She has a keen interest in all things tech related. To connect with Aoife feel free to send her an email or connect on LinkedIn.

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