Why lifelong learning is vital in software development

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Technical architect Pat Humphreys explains how he got into the tech world and what he found most surprising about his work in the industry.

Pat Humphreys is a Technical Architect for data and analytics firm Dun & Bradstreet, having worked in software development for over 15 years at various companies in the banking, fintech and data industries.

He graduated in Applied Computer Science from the Limerick Institute of Technology, now part of Shannon’s New Tech University: Midlands Midwest, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Information Systems from TU Dublin.

Here he explains how he got into the tech world, the traits that make him excel in his role, and what those who want to follow in his footsteps need to know.

“Technology itself is seldom the limiting factor when creating software products”
– PAT HUMPHREY

What sparked your interest in a career in software?

When we got our first computer in the mid-90s, I was fascinated to understand how it worked and to learn what all the hype around the internet was. After several trips to get it fixed – mainly because I took it apart or installed something – I finally started to learn how it worked and was able to fix it myself, much to my parents’ relief. This was the start of what interested me in the software itself and I never really stopped.

What were the biggest surprises you encountered in your career path?

I have discovered that technology itself is seldom the limiting factor when creating software products or what determines the success of a product. When I started out, it seemed like an overwhelming task to understand the different technologies and concepts and when to use them, due to the constantly changing nature of the industry.

As I gained more experience in different industries, it quickly became apparent that the hardest part of software development is actually understanding the problem the customer is trying to solve, their area. specific activity and to be able to guide them towards the most appropriate technical solution. .

Has there been anyone who has been particularly influential during your career?

I have been fortunate to have worked with a lot of very talented people over the years with varied expertise from different professional backgrounds. It allowed me to continuously learn and think differently about problems.

What do you like about your job?

I have always enjoyed understanding how things work and solving problems. Due to Dun & Bradstreet’s position as a leading global provider of business decision data, my role allows me to do both of these things for some of the largest organizations in the world.

It gives me the opportunity to participate in solving their most complex problems, while giving me exposure to the latest cutting edge technologies.

In your opinion, what aspects of your personality allow you to occupy this position?

I’m analytical, detail-oriented, and always curious about how things work. I think the combination of these features helps in software engineering and prompts me to explore what’s new in the industry.

How has Dun & Bradstreet supported you on your career path?

Dun & Bradstreet has continuously provided me with opportunities to develop my skills and develop new ones, which has allowed me to grow in different products, business units and technologies.

There is regular access to formal training courses, participation in conferences, in-depth dives with various technology providers, and time to learn new technologies.

On top of that, I have various opportunities to introduce to C-level executives and work directly with a wide range of our largest client companies to help them tackle their most complex technical challenges.

It has helped me transition from being a senior software engineer working on a specific task in my current role, where I work in multiple development teams and am responsible for designing large-scale solutions and reviewing new technologies.

What advice would you give to those considering a career in tech?

The tech industry is one of the fastest growing industries and you have to learn all the time, as today’s cutting edge technology will more than likely be out of place five years from now. If you are just starting out, focus on a role and organization that will allow you to learn the most.


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