This month’s past pupil profile comes from Eanna McNulty. Thanks to Eanna for completing this interview and we wish him continued success with his future career!
1. What subjects did you study in Magh Ene College and how do these relate to the university course you undertook?
Along with English, Irish and Mathematics, I studied French, Geography, Physics & Chemistry and Design Communication Graphics. The latter two, along with Maths were a great help with my university course. As it was a science related course, Maths and Physics & Chemistry played a big part in my understanding of the course material. Design Communication Graphics helped me think both creatively and analytically as well as developing a good eye for detail which is a great help when learning to code.
2. What extra-curricular activities did you get involved in while in Magh Ene College and how have these helped you so far?
During my time in Magh Ene College I found myself getting involved in all sorts of activities. I joined a few of the sports teams over the years, both the GAA and golf teams in my junior cycle and I was also lucky enough to captain the school’s rugby team during my senior years in Magh Ene College. These teams were great for keeping fit and meeting people from different years and schools (the days off for matches were an added bonus). Aside from sport, I was fond of the stage, the memory that sticks out to me most was the time I played the character of Kenickie in the school’s production of the musical, Grease. I still look back and laugh about my questionable acting and dance moves. I was glad I took part as it has greatly helped with my public speaking which is a valuable skill to have as you start college and your career progresses. In transition year we took part in a circus workshop where I learned to stilt walk. We were lucky enough to get the opportunity to keep this up though our senior years and walk at some great local events such as the Ballyshannon Carnival and Sea Sessions Surf & Music Festival. All these activities helped build my communication and teamwork skills which are beneficial in most work places and especially in the field of computing.
3. Tell us about the university course you undertook – subjects studied, work experience etc.?
I studied Computer Science & Software Engineering in Maynooth University (MU) where I graduated with an honours B.Sc. degree. It was a four year course. The first year was a bit more general, we got the opportunity to try out some of the other science subjects Maynooth University had to offer. I started off with Mathematics, Experimental Physics and Electronic Engineering all alongside Computer Science. As I progressed through the years the focus was on Maths and Computer Science. In third year we had to take part in a six month work placement. I completed my placement at home in Cosgrove IT. The guys there were great and helped me learn so much in both hardware and web development. I found the whole process from beginning to end very rewarding as it gave me valuable interview practice and first-hand experience in the world of work. In my final year I got to dip my toes in some really interesting areas of computing, some of these included Robotics, Computer Graphics, Cryptography and Music Programming. For my Final Year Project, I built a virtual synthesizer. As I have a great interest in playing music, this project was very enjoyable from start to finish. It involved a lot of research and reading, long hours banging my computer wondering why the code wouldn’t work and about three hundred cups of coffee, but to see a working synthesizer in the end made it all worthwhile! Overall I really enjoyed the course and I felt it gave me the skills and confidence needed to go into the working world.
4. What is your education/career plan for the future?
I am currently working in Belfast as a Software Developer in a software company named Etain Ltd. At the moment I am out working on a client site, an international law firm where I am providing technical support for some of their in house applications. Every day is a school day in computing as I am constantly facing new problems and figuring out how to solve them. I plan to develop my career here at Etain. They are great at providing the training needed to become an accomplished developer and are always happy to help us out if we need anything. During my time here so far I have been exposed to so many different technologies and that is only the tip of the iceberg as the field of computing is so large. There is always something to be learning about as the industry moves so fast.
5. What other advice would you give to current students in Magh Ene College?
Don’t be afraid to try something new. I went into Computers just knowing the basics and not a notion in my head about programming (I just thought it looked cool in the film, The Social Network). I gave it a go, stuck with it and now it’s what I do professionally and really enjoy doing it too. The same goes for activities at school, join every club/group you can, try some new sports, you never know what you might like and there is a great chance you will make some great friends along the way too.