Kainos is a leading digital transformation company known for its innovative solutions and cutting-edge technology services. With a strong global presence, including Belfast, Birmingham, London, Gdansk and Toronto, Kainos specialises in helping organisations harness the power of digital to enhance efficiency and drive business growth.
Wondering how you could join the team and what it would be like? We sat down with Catherine, Technical Specialist at Kainos to discuss how she got into tech and how Kainos supported her career growth.
How did you get initially into the tech industry?
I had always enjoyed technology throughout school but I never really thought that I would have a career in tech. While at university, I did a placement year for the Northern Ireland Civil Service. This was my first real taste of working in the tech industry and allowed me to work in various different teams which helped me to get an idea of what areas I would like to work in.
My placement year made me realise that I could pursue a career in technology because I enjoyed my time working for the Northern Ireland Civil Service. Going into my final year of university there was a big emphasis on prepping for applying to jobs, so having a finished CV was a top priority for me. It all worked out in the end as I was lucky to get a position at a company called ICS Computing. ICS was very similar to the Civil Service in the way that I was exposed to a variety of different teams and projects.
How did you end up at Kainos?
After 6 and a half years at ICS, it was time for a change. I was successful in obtaining a role in a local dairy company. After a short period of time, I was approached by a member of the Kainos recruitment team on LinkedIn. After they had reviewed my profile and CV, I was invited to come along for an interview.
There was no specific job description at that stage but I was extremely intrigued about this opportunity so I decided to take the leap. I had some initial doubts because I had recently moved companies but I thought what's to lose? After a few weeks I recevied the good news that I had been successful in my application and was looking forward to starting my new role.
What makes Kainos a great place to work?
When I joined Kainos I soon realised that they were different from any company I’ve worked for before. From a cultural perspective, it felt different. I could tell that everyone I worked with had a great work-life balance and I really admired that.
On my second day, I joined a project, which allowed me to dive straight in. Personally, I love getting thrown in at the deep end and confronting a challenge head-on. One of the things that I love about Kainos is that as well as your main project, you can pick up and learn different skills in other areas which really supports your career progression. You’re totally in charge of your professional growth, there are no blockers. Additionally, because the world of technology is ever-evolving, you’ll never get bored or stagnant. I enjoy that your days vary week on week across different projects and tasks.
What challenges have you faced at Kainos?
My first project springs to mind. I jumped into the world of public Cloud and at the time we were building an environment for the client. Throughout the project, the customer continuously changed their mind on the features so we constantly had to adapt to meet these requirements. I’ve been in plenty of situations like that before and I’ve realised it's just part of the challenge.
In a sense, you’re helping to educate the customers going through that process and they’re learning along the way with you. Having these conversations and relationships with the customer is a big part of my job and it is something that I absolutely love doing.
How has Kainos supported you?
Kainos are very good at progressing their staff up the career ladder and are supportive in every aspect. We have a yearly process of annual reviews which involves setting career goals for the coming year. What I loved was that I was in control of setting my own goals and they can come in any form: short-term, long term or carrying them over to the next year. Additionally, we are also assigned a People Manager who isnt part of our direct technical team. We have monthly sit down sessions to map out and refine what we would like to upskill on, for example, Azure.
One thing that before coming to Kainos I didn’t really have much experience with was the full end-to-end project with customers. From building the environment to supporting and maintaining it. One of my main goals a few years ago was working on the architectural design of projects, being able to discuss different ways of designing with a customer was a real learning curve for me. After showing my interest in architecture, my People Manager would try and find me projects where I could work on the design phase. This was fantastic because I knew my People Manager was putting in the effort to try and find me a project where I could learn and grow and eventually achieve the personal goal I set for myself.
My Career Progression: Platform Engineer to Technical Specialist
A new project was coming through and there wasn't an available technical specialist. I volunteered to give it a go. Whilst I needed support from other members of the team to make sure the project was staying on track, I felt confident in my ability to take on this responsibility. The ability to grow and take responsibility was great for my career and opened up many doors for me.
I look forward to joining a project as a tech specialist to help develop and improve where I can. This is exciting as it uses a whole other set of requirements to gather and to see what we can improve on for the customer. In a weird way, I think I enjoy the initial fears of gathering all the information and working with the customer.
Since my promotion, I have had more access to different projects and teams within the company. I’m currently part of a tech steering group that’s been assigned to work on Azure projects. It's great because in these groups we get to learn and explore different areas and build new skills to help support the capability as a whole. I’ve loved every
minute of it as it’s given me the opportunity to talk to teams across the company that I haven't had involvement with before, especially since COVID-19.