Fionn MacCumhaill:
Software Developer


Your name?
Fionn MacCumhaill

Your job title?
Senior Software Engineer

What are the main tasks and responsibilities?
Develop and build and deliver software. Architect solutions. Document solutions. Liaise with customers on designing and delivering solutions. Manage junior developers

Describe a typical day?
Build and test main platform. Email/ phone customer to discuss development and bugs. Write code. Review code

What do you find most interesting ?
Variety of work. Building software. Interesting tools to work with. Interaction with customers

What’s not so cool? What are the main challenges?
Sometimes too many meetings

How do you use mathematics within your job?
My current job is in the Airline Online Booking industry. Problem solving through logic and reasoning is the main part. Algebra is used every single day. An understanding of geometry is very useful for graphics. Working out how long a task will take requires mental arithmetic. From time to time you have to develop an algorithm to solve something. It is crucial to understand Boolean logic. Sometimes you have to work out things in hexadecimal instead of decimal number system. If I were doing videos games then physics and Applied mathematics would be crucial.

What type of mathematics do you use to solve problems?
Algebra. Boolean logic. Geometry.

Who or what has most influenced your career direction?
Work experience and Third level education

Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?
Yes. Although sometimes there is unpaid overtime which cuts into the evenings. You are always expected to get tasks finished

What subjects did you take (and why did you take them?) in school and did they influence your career path?
I took computer studies instead of the choices of art or music for the Junior cert cycle even though there was no formal exam, it was so interesting. For leaving cert I took Maths, Applied Maths and Physics, all geared towards problem solving.

What is your education to date?
B.A. in Mathematics at TCD

What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?
In my Mathematics degree at TCD I could take some computer engineering courses instead of some pure maths courses, they were very useful to me, I would not have gotten my first job in software with them

Did you like maths at school?
I loved it and always found it easy.

What aspects of the mathematics curriculum or mathematics courses have proven most important for your job?
Algebra. Learning theorems is not directly useful’, but anything that trains your brain to solve problems is useful. Maths in general at leaving cert level is about problem solving.

What other skills do you think someone should obtain if they wanted to pursue your career?
Software coding.

What advice would you give to someone considering this job?
You have to have an interest in programming, and it’s useful to try coding out at home. You have to be able to think logically. You do not have to be into video games but if you are the type of person who looks at a video game or a phone app and thinks “I’d like to make that” then its a career for you

What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?
Internship in small software company, or an I.T. department