I work as a software developer for Skytek Ltd
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
Joe Carthy – Dean of Science UCD, Paul Kiernan – CTO of Skytek
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.
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.
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
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
Main ones would be just the general software development challenges you would have in any development job.
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
Admin side of things, although there isn’t too much of that to do.
Technical skills from my computer science degree, programming skills picked up in previous internships, as well as “soft” skills picked up in previous career.
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.
First Class Honours Degree in Computer Science from UCD
Problem solving skills picked up in Computer Science, as well as a strong base in Maths from school.
None planned at the moment although I do some online courses in my spare time.
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
Being proactive by approaching companies I’d like to work for and asking them for a 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
General software development experience, front and backend, with some web applications developed and deployed.