Michael McParland

Operations Analyst

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

My background is in Chemical Engineering, I graduated with a Masters degree (including a year’s work experience in Oil & Gas) in 2017. During my time on work experience, my department underwent a major ERP software migration and during this experience I realized the power and impact software applications have across all industries and I decided that’s where my interests lay. Upon graduating, I completed several online courses on programming and computer science topics, which cemented my interests and so when I saw AquaQ where hiring, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for.

How has your career progressed within AquaQ?

The training program in AquaQ is excellent and allows graduates to deep dive into a wide variety of programming and financial topics. The training has elements to suit all learning styles- including an online kdb+ bootcamp, classroom-based sessions, fun programming challenges and a simulated developer operations project to prepare graduates for client work. A few months into the training, I was assigned to my first development project. This entailed building out a FX analytics platform to enable clients to seamlessly upload market and trade data and view key metrics and analytics through an online GUI minutes later. During my year working on this project the user base grew significantly, giving me the opportunity to solve new issues everyday related to scalability needs and customer requirements.

After being based in the Belfast HQ, I was offered the opportunity to go slightly further afield to New Zealand, with a keen interest to travel I quickly accepted. This project involved joining a large and experienced Operations Analyst team working at a top tier investment bank. We work on several large data capture and analytics platforms which have clients based around the world and across departments within the bank.

What is your typical day?

There isn’t one! The challenges faced change continuously keeping the job interesting and varied. Issues can range from helping a user understand some financial data to investigating and solving problems critical to trading. Alongside dealing with client issues, we are constantly improving the platform monitoring and maintaining process servers so that everything runs smoothly. As the team is based globally and operating 24 hours a day, a critical aspect of the job is communication. Every workday begins and ends with a handover where we discuss issues which occurred, solutions put in place and any follow ups needed. We send a handover email during each period and then have a call discussing any complex situations in order to ensure the next shift is 100% up to speed.

What advice would you give to a graduate exploring the role as an Operations Analyst?

Working as an Operations Analyst is a great way to experience how kdb+ tick architecture scales to suit the needs of financial institutions capturing massive amounts of data and the issues encountered when doing so. Additionally, it gives you the opportunity to grow soft skills at a rapid pace. For example, the role involves constantly interacting with users about their expectations and opinions regarding the application. In many cases this involves explaining technical issues to non-technical people – a highly useful skill to have in the digital world!

Sharon GilmoreMichael McParland