St Joseph's Academy, Kilmarnock. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. University of Cambridge
Standard Grade (Maths, English, French, Computing, Physics, Music, Geography, Business Management), Higher Grade (Maths, English, Computing, Physics, Business Management), Advanced Higher Grade (Pure Maths, Applied Maths, Physics), BSc (Hons) Mathematics, MASt Applied Mathematics
Part time Delicatessen Sales Assistant at Wm Morrison Supermarkets (selling meat and cheese), Part time Undergraduate Teaching Assistant at Strathclyde University (teaching maths to university students), Fluid Systems Engineer at East Kilbride Engineering Services (EKES) Ltd (mathematical modelling of air, oil and fuel systems on aircraft engines)
Software Development Engineer in Test
Hi I'm Chris. I'm Scottish. I live in Dublin and work as a software engineer for a cyber security company.
I’m from Kilmarnock in Ayrshire, Scotland. After school I went to university at Strathclyde and then Cambridge, where I met my now wife. We live in Dublin, Ireland, with our newborn daughter.
I love playing and watching sport. I’m a big fan of Kilmarnock Football Club. I like to play football, run, swim and do yoga, when possible. Mostly just for fun, although I took the plunge for my first running event in 2019 at the Glasgow half marathon.
There are a few mathematicians in my family: my younger brother is a secondary school maths teacher, and my younger sister is a statistician.
How I Use Maths In My Job:
I use maths in lots of different areas of my job. This could be measuring the performance of our software to see how it behaves under load (imagine thirty thousand people trying to buy tickets for the same gig online all at once); analysing large data sets of test results and reporting back on how these results map to the general health of the software, or even the mathematics required for writing functions and formulae in code.
Helping to keep company's information safe online
I work for a small company. We help keep sensitive information safe from hackers. We build software that other companies can use to protect their own systems from known – and unknown – vulnerabilities.
My role is a test engineer, which means that it’s my job to make sure that the product is customer ready. Essentially, I try and break the product before the customer does, and I try to trick the software before a hacker does.
I work with other test engineers to develop and maintain a code base, primarily using the Java programming language, that runs a suite of hundreds of thousands of tests on the product. Something that would take days or weeks to run manually is run through test automation in a matter of hours at the click of a button, and then the cycle can be repeated the following day.
My Typical Day
I walk into work. It's a nice stroll through Dublin city centre. Usually arrive around 8:30/9am. I check emails and analyse any test results that have come in from the previous night's test run. Spend some time developing test code and reviewing code from other team members. Daily meeting with Security team. Pick up any incoming work from customers or clients, and then schedule an automated test batch to be run that night before finishing up around 5:30pm.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Really good at counting :-)
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
Some influential and inspiring teachers and lecturers
What's your favourite use for maths in everyday life?
The statistics used in professional sports. When watching football, for example, the amount of data available on teams and individual players over a number of seasons is pretty impressive, and can be used to make all sorts of predictions about the likely outcome of a match.
What did you think about Maths when you were in school?
I always enjoyed the problem solving side of maths at school. In my final years of school I got to learn a little more about some of the real world applications of maths in engineering and physics and that really interested me.
What did you want to be after you left school?
I had no idea. An accountant at one stage early on I think. I knew I wanted to work with numbers.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Not really. I (embarrassingly) won a perfect attendance award in S1.
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Professional baker (I'd definitely need to up my game though!)
Who is your favourite singer or band?
This changes all the time. I'm a big fan of Oasis. I also really like The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan.
What's your favourite food?
Pizza. All types. Take-away or homemade, it's always delicious.
What is the most fun thing you've done?
I took 2 months off for an extended honeymoon in south east Asia.
Tell us a joke.
What do we want? Now! When do we want it? Fewer race conditions.