Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Dave McDonald from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Dave McDonald

Astronomer

Smart Futures

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  Dave McDonald

A caring attitude is essential for Health and Safety – you need to be passionate about getting the message across to people and telling them why it is so important. After all, no-one wants to see anyone suffer harm or be in pain.

For astronomy, a yearning for answering the unanswered questions is a must. You also need to be dedicated and focused and not put off by the weather

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Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Amy Giannetti - Support Engineer

Amy Giannetti talks to Smart Futures about working at Irish tech company Havok.

What’s your role as a developer support engineer?

My job is to provide support to our customers and help them with any problems.

What does Havok do?

Havok makes software for games companies and movie special effects. Its software has been used in over 500 games titles and to drive special effects in movies.

What’s challenging about your role?

I have to work with large amounts of code that I didn’t write and understand what it is trying to do. Just managing your time can be tricky because we are assigned a number of customers to look after.

What do you love about your job?

Through perseverance, I help solve customers’ problems: knowing that goes into the game, making it better to play, gives me a huge sense of achievement. I also see lots of games in development at the same time, rather than one single game.

How did you choose third-level courses?

I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I was always good at maths and science subjects, so I did mathematics in Trinity, which allows you touch on a couple of areas. I really enjoyed computer science. Towards the end of my degree, I decided I wanted to get into the games industry, so I did an MSc in Computer Science (Interactive Entertainment Technology).

What Leaving Cert subjects did you enjoy or prove useful?

I enjoyed maths, physics and chemistry. We were also offered a very short course in programming. I didn’t really realise how helpful it was but, when I went into college, I found it really helped me.

What advice would you give someone who is interested in doing a similar job?

I would recommend having personal programming projects. Employers love to see that you were interested to the point that you went beyond school and college work.

How did you become interested in the games industry?

That was what I enjoyed doing in my free time. A friend of mine introduced me to the Final Fantasy series and I just fell in love with it. I knew I wanted to be a part of an industry that brought me that much joy.

What’s it like to work at Havok?

We are encouraged to enjoy ourselves and we have a discount scheme for consoles, to make sure we are keeping up with what’s happening in our industry. We all get along really well here as a lot of us come from a maths or computer science background. It is great fun and I wouldn’t change a thing.

What do you do to relax and rewind?

Friday evenings we usually end up in the pub two doors down from the office, but most weekday nights I end up playing more games.

Article by: Smart Futures