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Knowledge Is Key To Success if You're Curious

Emerging Technologies – Sam Cogan

Sam did Bachelor’s in business information systems from National college of Ireland. Initially he hated programming so the first year was kind of difficult for him but as he came to learn more and started gaining interest in programming or computers in general he started liking it, and today he develops webpages for clients, he optimizes webpages as a freelancer and he teaches web-design as a professor in the National College of Ireland. According to him “A degree is a passport not a path to your future” which indefinitely means that you can get whichever degree you want but that won’t decide what path you want to opt in the future, you still may decide a path which is very different from the subject whose degree you have.

But do what you are interested in not what you are forced to do.

Then Sam talks about disruptive technology. According to Heather “it is the technology that disrupts industries, to change consumer behavior and alter economics thus changing lives”.

So basically it is a type of technology which is new to people and works in different ways then what people are used to, thus changing industries, world economies and people’s lives for the better (in most situations). Artificial intelligence is a type of disruptive technology that gives the machines the power to think or work on their own without external interferences. AI is of two types:

  • Narrow AI: It is the type of AI which is controlled or instructed by humans and it may work automatically without human assistance, but it does not have the capability of learning further.

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    It can only perform what the algorithm designed by humans teaches it.

  • Deep Learning AI: This is the type of AI which has the capability of learning beyond the algorithm or learning beyond what humans taught it to do itself.

People like Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla) support the use of AI but in a limited way i.e. using narrow AI and not deep learning AI because they do have the fear of “What if robots start thinking they are smarter than humans!!”(Reference: Terminator-Skynet) as he says “AI will be the best or worst thing ever for humanity, so let’s get it right”. On the other hand Mark Zuckerberg thinks AI is the right future we should have, whereas the actual answer of the question regarding AI lies between their conflicting thoughts. AI has its advantages as well as disadvantages such as; it removes human error and reduces the need of repeatable tasks, but it also has disadvantages such as; it is taking away human jobs and it is taking away the human judgement which is required for some tasks.

Finally, he ends the workshop by talking about Crypto Currency or Digital Cash and Block Chain which will eventually take over banks and paper money in the near future and how Crypto Currency grew among the last few years. In a Block Chain, any person or minor can act as a bank, so he can confirm or deny transactions thus eliminating the need of banks. Block Chain can also be used for traffic validation on webpages, Digital ID’s and data security (in general).

I found the concept of Artificial Intelligence and how it is taking over various industries very interesting and how it can be used to make human life easier. I learned that eventually the future is leading to a world where AI will become the way of life and people will find solutions for many problems they face now.

Workday and Revenue – Tim and Gavin(workday)

This event involved two speakers from workday, they were Tim and Gavin. They told us about workday and it being famous for its customer satisfaction rate which is 98%. The company has 6 basic core values which are: Employees, Innovation, fun, Integrity, Customer service and Profitability. They also told us that this company is the best to apply for internships, they have a wide variety of internship roles for students to choose and learn from; such as; App Development, Software Development, Machine Learning, User Experience Product Design, User Interface Engineering and Accounting. Both Tim and Gavin are software developers at workday. Gavin also did internship at workday; his role was to enhance user experience in the company for which he had to work with a big team. He and his team made fun projects for kids, after finishing his internship he joined workday as a full-time software developer.

Workday specifically uses more of Espresso or Espresson which is an experimental dynamic, prototype based, object-oriented programming language that compiles down to java script. So, many of the employees initially have to learn espresso which the company has a policy of teaching. This was done by Timmy, he learned espresso in the beginning when he joined the company and started working as part of their feature team and later on moved on to the customer service side for solving customer problems. This company involves a lot of moving around so Timmy also worked in the American office of workday. Further, they told us about the process of internships which is – first the student has to apply through placement office at the college; then there is a manager – one on one interview followed by the result of selection.

The 2nd talk of the day was by the company Revenue which is an Irish tax and Customs Company. The internships from this company pay up to about 27,000 euros per annum. The IT department of this company has been rated as one of the best in the country, they work with all the latest technology. They have 2 offices in Dublin and 1 office in Limerick. Revenue mainly uses Java as their primary programming language for most of their tasks, some other modern technologies that they use are: Jasper reports, Spring Framework, Angular JS, Ingres RDBMS and ID Management. Some potential roles for internships as well as full time jobs in the IT department includes Business Intelligence Dashboards, Geometric Information Systems, Analytics and Fraud Detection, Taxation Collection Application, Mobile Application.

What I found interesting in this workshop was the way Workday as a company decides to function. They give a lot of importance to their employees. They handle customers very well and keep them as their main priority and the company work involves a lot of moving around from Ireland to America and maybe in the future to other countries as well. I learnt how and why I should apply for internships in these two companies, how their internships work and how it would benefit me.

Alumni event

This event involved 3 speakers who were ex-students that graduated from National College of Ireland. The three speakers were Josaphine, Paul and Dan. This event was about how these students did in college, what they are doing presently and how we should learn from any mistakes they made in college that we shouldn’t i.e. tips for the best college life. Josaphine is currently working in a consultancy company as an analyst or a QA tester. Her job is to test websites. Paul is currently working as a web developer at Zendesk. His job is to fix customer issues and respond to their complaints. Dan currently works in a team which involves coding in android apps. Both Dan and Paul did their internships at Zendesk in their third year of college whereas Josaphine did her internship from electric garden, after which Paul joined Zendesk full time and Dan joined another company as an android engineer.

Josaphine’s tip for college was – it is very necessary to attend classes and choose only those projects that interest us so it is very important that we carefully read about the project before choosing it. Paul’s tip was to set up a good front and maintain good relations with the lecturers for a better college life throughout the course and to maintain a good GPA throughout is very necessary. Dan’s tip was practice as much code as possible because it is very important, keep trying new designs to learn better.

All three of them emphasized the importance of learning more programming languages other than what the course teaches us and to practice whatever we know very well just to be proficient in it. Then they gave tips on what all to include and what to leave-out in the CV and LinkedIn profile and that we should use them to contact people at companies where we want to work. From this I could gather hot to go about compiling my CV and LinkedIn profile, more so what I need to focus in College.


Grad-Ireland was an open career event. It is like a one-stop shop for job hunting. It was an event where companies could come and showcase what they had to offer to their employees and for what they were looking for in their future employees. There were companies from all the different working sectors involving accountancy and financial management, agriculture, banking, charities, engineering, human resources, IT, Law, logistics and transport, marketing, media and publishing, manufacturing and processing, medical, retail, sales and customer service, science research and development, teaching and education and many more. It also involved events which provided career advices for example: it had events on CV’s and LinkedIn profiles, cracking job interviews, entrance tests, managing working life, finding a job that suits you and starting out with careers etc.

My rationale for attending this event was to gain information about different companies how they work, how to apply for them, what internships they offer, requirements for different sectors, to attend the career advice events and interact face to face with some of the world’s leading employers. What I found interesting was what the companies had to offer to their employees. Some big companies that came to this career fair were; Aldi, Jameson, Air Lingus, PWC, Intel, BOI, Cardinal health, Jaguar, Land Rover, KPMG, LIDL and many more.

From this I know I can make a good CV and I know what internships I would like to apply to. This event really helped me in knowing what kind of job I would like to do in future and what type of companies would be of that type and how I can work my way to them.

Speaker Journal (Guest Speakers)

GOOGLE – Robert Shanley

Robert Shanley is currently working as a People Consultant (HR business partner) at google (for 6 years now). He pursued his degree of bachelor’s in business studies from the University of Limerick. The first job he got was of a quality analyst working with an integrated software test team at FBD insurance. His second job was a Promotion rep at Oxygen care Ltd, after that he worked in the application support team at Allied Irish Bank (AIB). Then he joined Google initially as an engineering staff recruitment coordinator and worked his way through to become a program manager as an SRE (Site Reliability Engineer), then he joined the HR team as People Consultant. SRE engineers are required by Google as a failsafe, if at any point of time any of Google’s functionalities fail the SRE engineers come in play. Their job is to keep Google running.

Initially in his talk he told us about one good thing Google does i.e. it holding a TGIF (Thank god it’s Friday) meeting every week so they can keep the employees engaged and give them opportunity to present their ideas, they value the importance of each employee by accounting whatever ideas they present in these meetings. They discuss on whatever work they have done over the week and the senior members give out information on new things they want to do in Google ahead.

As being a recent recruiter, he knew how the process of recruitment worked; so he explained to us what Google looked for in their employees i.e. they look for people who can challenge their ideas and who have the necessary skill of presenting their own ideas. They monitor your way of thinking through problems; they look for leadership skills and they see if you can work well with others.

At present, Robert works at the Dublin Headquarters of Google so he told us about the different roles and opportunities that are available here for example: Data center, cloud engineering, Trust and safety, technical solutions. He made us understand the importance of coding and that if we really hope to work at Google one day we should keep practicing and become really good at it, some ways of practicing code would be to start you own projects that could be found on ‘code for all Ireland’ which is an open source for finding miscellaneous projects or to enter competitions like Google Code Jam which is globally recognized and finally, follow the motto – “you need to code->code->code->code more->code forever”. – Tasos Piotopoulos

Tasos currently blogs at, organizes meetups and workshops, speaks at events and academic lectures, and works as a senior software engineer at He has done his MSc in software engineering from University College Dublin, he has also worked at Walmart and keyed in. For the last few years he has been mostly working with distributed systems within a DevOps culture, including Micro Services, Event Sourcing, Domain Driven Design (DDD), Test Driven Development (TDD), and Architectural Patterns for the Cloud, mostly around resiliency, scalability and testing. He prefers the practical life and living in the real world wearing comfortable shoes. He believes in “Greater complexity = greater consequences”.

He made us understand that in order to be professional software developers, we should first have the engineering discipline. Engineering projects are not only about technical skills; there is a lot more involved in completing engineering projects, than just the technical skills.

He gave us really important career tips, one of the most important tips was “treat every career as a business and have a business mindset while taking decisions regarding it”. Another tip that he gave us was, whatever career we choose or whoever we work for, even if we have our own business it is necessary to show the work that we do because our services have a tangible value. So, it’s important that we communicate our job or the role that we play and how it makes a difference. Big companies understand this which is why they spend so much money on marketing.

Some things that are very necessary for us to get a job and gain experiences are a LinkedIn profile, GitHub and a blog. For a good LinkedIn profile, it is important that we treat it differently than what we treat our social media like, we should have our profile pictures clicked by professionals, and we should look at more LinkedIn profiles that other successful people have created so we can get an idea of how to formulate ours. For really good software developers, it is really important to have GitHub. It is a resume for software developers. So we should upload whatever coding projects we do in college or any open source projects that we contribute to. One of the most important things for a successful career is a BLOG. A Blog is like having an extended resume that anyone can read. It opens up a world of opportunities as prospective employers and customers come directly to you. There are some steps to creating a blog that he explained to us, like:-

  1. Choosing a theme – What is the blog about?
  2. Setting up your blog (WordPress, BlogSpot, Jekyll)
  3. Getting traffic

It is really important that you are specific about something in your blog and not general. Your blog could be on anything. It could include tutorials, book reviews, commenting about other blogs, interesting stories about your life or other people (related to blog theme), interviews of different people (from the same field). Getting traffic for the blog is tricky so we need to work hard and be consistent if we want the blog to be successful.

Finally he told us some golden rules to success that are: “First you LEARN then you remove the ‘L'”. Always have a goal for everything you do in life and always leave a breadcrumb behind (digital footprint) of whatever amazing things your do throughout your life.

Workday – Glen Holmes

Glen Holmes is currently a senior product manager at Workday and also a part time lecturer at National College of Ireland. He pursued his BA (Hons) in business from National College of Ireland, He did his MSc in Technology Management from University College Cork. He also has a FETAC certificate in computer programming awarded to him through ITT. Initially, he was self-employed as an IT consultant and worked for selected clients, mainly worked on projects with the Bank of Ireland. Then he worked as a product manager at the company Sage Technologies, at Munich Re and at FINEOS and finally worked as a senior product manager at ALTIFY after which he is now working at Workday. Workday is a company that sells Cloud based applications for finance and HR. Workday has 6 core values i.e. their employees, customer service, innovation, integrity, fun and profitability.

Product management is a very popular and difficult job. According to him the first and foremost rule to product management is about setting the product vision, some examples of software products are WhatsApp, Snapchat, Microsoft office even Moodle. The role of the product manager is to describe the vision of the product and come up with its basic design after which engineers build them, then their job leads on to get that product into the market and make it popular among people so it can succeed. He says “if you can understand what people need and want and you can make a product accordingly, then it is not very difficult to become successful”. For your product to be successful it is very important that you pay detailed attention on how you market it, how you maintain it and how you price it. Product management is about desirability, viability and feasibility and the product manager lies in the intersection of all three. The way to success for a product manager is “Starting with customer experience and working back towards the technology not the other way around” – Steve Jobs. Some important product manager traits are: empathy, customer priority, curious, driven, strong communicator, problem solver, comfortable with change. Summing it all up; Product management is not a role, it is a way of thinking about a problem and finding its solution in innovative ways.

Some important tips he gave us were; we should always keep an eye out for emerging tech, start blogs, have a few posts about latest tech and ideas relating to it on LinkedIn, being proficient in Java, going to seminars, group meet ups and free events and always being curious.


It was an interesting opportunity to get a chance to attend Career events and listen to three guest speakers. The entire exercise created lot of enthusiasm in my way of thinking and envisioning how I would like my professional future to mesmerize me. I got to know a lot from the experiences shared by guest speakers and what today’s corporate world is looking for in their next-generation employees. Attending the events helped me focus on how to create a comprehensive CV and draft my LinkedIn profile which will help me pan my professional career.

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Knowledge Is Key To Success if You're Curious. (2019, Dec 01). Retrieved from

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