Meet Heather, Graduate Software Engineer

Joined: 2021 Studied: BSc Computer Science at University of Derby

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Heather Kirwan

Graduate Software Engineer

Experian

What made you consider this career path following your studies?

When deciding what to study at University I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I picked something completely new. I knew I liked technology, I knew I liked maths, and I thought that there were some transferrable skills in there. Above all else, I knew computer science would be useful in this ever-growing technological world.

After graduating I didn’t know if I truly wanted to go into Software Engineering, and after my studies, I didn’t have the confidence to pursue that career. When lockdown hit, I started to think more about my career as I was in a position with no possibility for progression. I then chose to study a front-end development course and it was at this point I built the desire to take the leap into Software Engineering because I enjoyed the problem-solving and the incredible feeling that comes with solving those problems.

What does your day-to-day role involve?

As part of Marketplace, my role revolves around a team that work with part of the website that compares lending options. On a day-to-day basis I can be found working on code, whether it’s adding functionality behind the scenes, changing the visuals customers see, or solving a bug to improve the customers’ journey. I can also be found, pairing up with colleagues to help with challenges, looking at online courses to develop myself and attending meetings to review, demo and prepare future work to be completed.

What stood out about Experian/Why did you apply?

When I applied to Experian, I knew I was looking for a position that would help me to develop, learn and really get my foot in as a Software Engineer. I was nervous because I graduated a few years back, but after reading the job description, and about Experian Early Careers, I felt so much more at ease with my decision to apply.

I found Experian to be open minded, inclusive, and that they consider more than just your experience and ability to code, for example your ability to learn.

How do you feel the EC Development Programme has helped with your learning journey so far?

The programme has been exceptional for my development so far, I can’t believe how far I’ve come, down to the structure of the scheme and the personal development opportunities. In the first year, we’re able to spend up to 50% of our time learning, it’s not needed all the time, but it means I can get my head down and focus on some courses to help me develop within the team I’m in.

Another huge asset to the programme, which has helped immensely, is that we’re allocated a buddy and a mentor, as I have a dedicated point of contact that I can speak to for support.

What has been a key achievement/stand out moment so far? Soft Skill or Technical or Project you have been involved in?

There are several stand-out moments, one points towards soft skills, as I have had opportunities to lead our team stand-up and retro meetings, which has worked wonders for my confidence and public speaking. I have also had the opportunity to demo work several times, which really makes me feel proud of what I have done.

Away from the computer, there are other achievements, as I have taken part in events to raise money for charity, I hiked the Yorkshire Three Peaks, conquering my fear of heights, and I took part in Dragon Boat racing, both an incredible experience to get involved in.

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