Jason McCoubrey

Software Engineer

What is your background and how did you come about joining AquaQ?

I graduated from Queen’s University in Computer Science before joining AquaQ as a graduate and have been here for just over 7 months. I completed my placement in BT as an intern product manager before going into final year. I figured after my placement that that’s what I would like to do after university, however, final year brought back that spark for programming in me, so I knew I wanted a more developing role for the future. Towards the end of final year, I looked around for some graduate developer roles and came across AquaQ Analytics and thought the company looked interesting, so I applied. The day before my interview I was at a careers fair in Queen’s, where I met the recruitment team at a stand, and I thought they gave me a very good impression of the company, so I knew I made the right choice in applying. Within a week I had completed the interview process and was offered the job to start the following Monday, and the rest is history!

Tell me about the interview process

The software engineering interview process was conducted over two stages. The first stage was a face to face interview with an experienced engineer, and a member of the recruitment team. This interview involved a chat around your CV and anything interesting that stands out such as university projects, followed by some technical questions regarding Java, SQL or any front-end work (depending on what you are applying for). I was applying for a Java Graduate role, so my questions were based on Java such as: “What are the main concepts of OOPs in Java” or “What is the difference
between constructors and methods in Java?”

The interview is very pleasant and anyone who is interviewing is always very nice, so I would say to anyone going for an interview that there is nothing to worry about. If you are successful in the first stage of the interview, the next stage is having a one-to-one with the head of engineering/kdb (depending on the role). This again is just a general chat to give them a chance to meet you, and get a sense of the type of person you are by talking through your interests and qualities on your CV.

If you were to recommend AquaQ to a friend – what would you say?

I already have! I’ve recommended a software engineer and a kdb developer to apply. Both being soon-to-be graduates, I told them that everyone is very nice within the company and there are loads of opportunities to work with some big clients, with the possibility to move away to other countries to work. I also told my friends when recommending, that there is a great social life here at AquaQ, that being during the day or after work – there’s always some kind of social coming up, and if not, then you can always rely on a good number of people to go for pints after work on a Friday.

What skills are you hoping to develop as part of your team?

Currently the client I am working for is a tier one investment bank, which has sent some exciting projects my way. I came in as a Java Developer, but I have been lucky to be involved in other projects within my client as well as Java development, particularly in mobile development work in the Ionic and Flutter frameworks. I wish to continue to expand my knowledge in mobile development as well as continue to study for the Oracle Certified Associate, Java SE 8 Programmer exam which myself and fellow graduates have been studying to sit, then this exam will be followed with the Oracle
Certified Professional, Java SE 8 Programmer exam. We currently take inhouse classes leading to the exams, taught by a more senior Software Engineer.

What are some benefits of working in AquaQ?

I have come to learn during my time here at AquaQ, that they are very dedicated to providing training to their employees from the moment someone joins, to when they are placed on client, to any time after that. During the first few months of joining AquaQ, all graduates are invited to finance training, which include classes on topics such as Bonds, Interest Rates, and Trading Fundamentals (with some of these training sessions taken by the CEO himself!).

Aside from the vast amount of training opportunities, AquaQ does offer many employee benefits. These include free tea and coffee, the ability to work from home when needed, free fruit, large amounts of free food on the first Friday of each month, a quarterly budget for teams to use on a team bonding night or lunch, discounted gym membership in Sloan’s Gym which is 30 seconds from the office, and private health care through Benenden Health (which can be expanded to as many family members as you want for a small monthly fee).

What is the social culture like whilst working with AquaQ?

There is a big social culture around AquaQ during and after work. I speak mostly from my experiences of being a mid-20 graduate, but the socials are for all ages, and everyone enjoys them. As I mentioned previously, there is always a good number of people who go for pints on a Friday, and the office being in the city centre. This was a great way to meet new people around the office that I may not have spoken to yet during the first few months of joining. On top of this, there have been social nights hosted within the office after closing such as video game nights and poker nights. There are also friendly competitions that happen such as chess tournaments, pool tournaments, and a weekly foosball tournament.

Within the Engineering team, we have had team bonding activities such as dinners and bowling nights accompanied with a few drinks, and as a company, we have had a very exciting yearly away day, with the last one being in Castlewellan Forest Park which was definitely a great experience.

Sharon GilmoreJason McCoubrey