Career Profiles: Shane Carty
  1. What is your name?

Shane Carty


  1. Where do you work and what is your role/job title?

I work as a software developer for Skytek Ltd


  1. What were the main ‘career decision’ milestones in your life so far?

Returning to college as a mature student to study computer science, getting an internship with Microsoft in 2nd year, getting an internship with Skytek in 3rd year, becoming a full-time developer for Skytek


  1. Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?

Joe Carthy – Dean of Science UCD, Paul Kiernan – CTO of Skytek


  1. Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?

It does, the work hours are flexible so we can start any time between 8 and 10am, we also get a lot of opportunities to travel for work.


  1. How did you go about getting your current job?

I was studying Computer Science and was interested in working in the Space industry, but wasn’t sure how to go about it, so I started attending public talks/seminars related to Space, such as the Astronomy Ireland talks, or UCD’s Masters in Space Science seminars. Then I saw on Twitter that Skytek were hosting a public talk by an Astronaut, so I went along and got talking to some of their staff, which lead to an internship with them the following summer, and then a full-time job when I graduated.


  1. Describe a typical day.

A typical day could involve catch up meetings with other staff or project partners in the morning, then following up on emails and other admin tasks, then most of the rest of the day would be dedicated to software development


  1. What are the main tasks and responsibilities?

Majority of my time is spent developing and testing software for which ever project I am assigned. Other tasks include writing documentation to go with the project, such as design or user requirement documents, as well as admin and project management tasks such as hosting teleconferences, following up with partners on project deliverables etc. I also get involved in writing proposals for future projects and presenting existing projects at conferences and project meetings


  1. What are the main challenges?

Main ones would be just the general software development challenges you would have in any development job.


  1. What’s cool?

Getting to work with ESA and NASA on projects, working on software which has been sent to Space aboard the ISS, getting to travel to NASA HQ in Houston and ESA HQ in Netherlands, having a lot of freedom with regards the technologies to use for projects, getting the opportunity to start my own projects



  1. What’s not so cool?

Admin side of things, although there isn’t too much of that to do.


  1. What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?

Technical skills from my computer science degree, programming skills picked up in previous internships, as well as “soft” skills picked up in previous career.


  1. What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your

career path?

The subjects which most influenced my career path in school would be Maths and Tech. Graphics. Higher level Maths is very helpful when it comes to getting a computer science degree.


  1. What is your education to date?

First Class Honours Degree in Computer Science from UCD


  1. What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?

Problem solving skills picked up in Computer Science, as well as a strong base in Maths from school.


  1. Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?

None planned at the moment although I do some online courses in my spare time.


  1. What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?

Getting to travel to Johnson Space Centre in Houston to test our application on a mock-up of the International Space Station’s network, before it was sent up to Space for testing by the astronauts. As part of the trip we took part in a conference related to defining experimental procedures for the ISS. We also got a behind the scenes tour of the giant swimming pool used to train astronauts for Space walks, as well as a tour of the Space Vehicle Mock-up Facility


  1. What personal qualities do you have that help you in your career?

Being proactive by approaching companies I’d like to work for and asking them for a job.


  1. What advice would you give to someone considering this job?

Start teaching yourself to write software in your spare time, work on side projects related to space, attend industry events and public talks, volunteer with space organisations if you get the chance


  1. What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?

General software development experience, front and backend, with some web applications developed and deployed.