Tech Trailblazers

Tech Trailblazer: Aine McKillion

  • Name: Aine McKillion

    Role: Quality Assurance Engineer at Aflac Northern Ireland

    Background: I attended University of Ulster and graduated in 2013 with a 1st class honors BSc degree in Information communication Technologies. 

    I started as a graduate SQA Test Engineer at HPE in 2013 and moved on to CME Group as QA Analyst in 2017.  I now work as a Quality Assurance Engineer at Aflac Northern Ireland.  Each of these roles have allowed me to really develop my skills in software testing, being proactive in each project I am involved in to initiate testing as early as possible and promoting a mindset that everyone owns quality. 

    What does your typical day look like?

    As we are working from home at the moment a typical day looks like waking up about 7am, letting the dog out, make breakfast and more importantly get some coffee and get ready for the day. 

    I am usually online around 8.30am where I catch up on emails, check how my day looks in terms of meetings and then prioritise work for that day.  At 9.45am I attend daily standup with my team.  The team is made up of nine team members and our scrum master.  The meeting is for 15 minutes, and the purpose is to discuss project work or any blockers that there may be.

    The rest of my day is spent working alongside team members, who are all based in Northern Ireland, on software testing and implementing test strategy.  Our team is very collaborative and there is usually a lot of paired worked which is fantastic as it allows everyone to get involved and tackle tasks.  No two days are the same.  We do bi-weekly demos of our project to our stakeholder who are based in the US. 

    I usually try to get out for walk at some point be it on my lunch or after work.

    What are you currently working on?

    I work on the cloud engineering team here in Belfast.  This is a new team within Aflac Northern Ireland and we just delivered our first project to production before Christmas.  We are involved in moving data to the cloud and performing ETL on the data to utilize it for different business requirements. 

    What inspired you to join this company in particular?

    For me it was mostly the culture and the people at Aflac Northern Ireland that inspired me to join.  At Aflac NI our culture allows you to grow personally and professionally.  It is fast-paced and there is always something new to learn and I loved the idea of this and the opportunities that would be available to allow me to progress in my career. 

    Aflac are something special in the service they provide by ensuring their customers have the best supplemental medical insurance experience possible and giving them the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress.  Being involved in providing solutions to aid this service is really rewarding. 

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

    I always thought I might have been a nurse, but I did some work experience and decided that it wasn’t the career path for me. 
    I always had a keen interest in technology from any early age.  My subject choice from GCSE and A-Level proved that tech and computing were my strong subjects which lead me to applying for computing related degrees in University. 

    What’s your favourite part about your work?

    The role itself and the satisfaction I get from working in a fast-paced environment.  Each day brings a different range of tasks and the opportunity to work with inspiring, like-minded colleagues.  The company are all about their people, creating a positive culture and making Aflac a great place to work.  We often say we do serious work, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously-and that’s important!

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

    Go for it!!! Technology is the now and the future.  It is an innovative industry to work in. There is plenty of diversity and a wide variety of roles.  You are almost guaranteed a job when you graduate. 

    How do you see this technology impacting on our lives?

    Technology already has and will continue to have a massive impact on our lives.  We have seen this over the past few years and how it allows us to communicate, work from home, homeschool etc - the list is endless. 

    Aflac’s technology helps to ensure a customer’s experience is as smooth a service as possible, giving them the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress in their greatest time of need. 

    Who inspired you to work in this field?

    I wouldn’t really say it was one person in particular.  After graduating from university, I was employed as a SQA test engineer.  It was through this role and roles there after that I had the opportunities to work with many colleagues that encouraged and inspired me.  I love working in the testing space and improving the quality of a product.  It’s such a rewarding experience being involved in a project at is early stages and seeing it through to completion and release. 

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

    I would say the advances in AI and machine learning. 

    What tech gadget could you not live without?

    Obvious answer – my phone.  I use it for everything - banking, messaging, emails, music, streaming. 

    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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