Cian Tivnan – BSc (Hons) in Software Development

Name: Cian Tivnan

From: Sligo

School: St. Mary’s College, Ballysadare

Current Job: Server-Side Software Developer at Evolutio Ophthalmology 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what led you to choosing your degree.

I grew up with a deep interest in computing and technology. I enjoy problem solving and grew up tinkering with both computer components and software. This interest led me to choose this degree. 

What specifically about the degree did you particularly enjoy? 

I enjoyed the hands on approach to solving problems, and the freedom in applying learning and skills to projects and problems. Projects were open enough to allow us to learn new skills and hone what we had already learned. 

What is the best thing about the degree that you think new applicants should know? 

Not only will you learn valuable technical skills and knowledge regarding computer software, best practices and design principles, you will learn plenty of valuable soft-skills necessary in this line of work. You will always be working as part of a team so these skills are essential! 

Any favourite modules during your time studying? 

I really enjoyed Secure Software Development in Year 4. It was fascinating to learn the core principles of cryptography and building secure and safe software systems. 

What key skills did you learn while studying in ATU Sligo that have influenced your career? 

Starting in Year 1 I was shy, reserved and quiet. Getting back into full-time work now after graduating, I feel confident in not only my technical skills but also my soft-skills. The social skills grown through team-projects, presentations and work-placement have been invaluable in tying together the whole software-development skillset for me. 

What does your current role involve? 

I currently work for Evolutio Ophthalmology, an eyecare provider operating in England. I work as a Server-Side Software Developer, meaning I work to implement, maintain and develop the backend API which powers our flexible and intuitive web-apps, used daily by Optometrists, Ophthalmologists and other health professionals in our clinics. 

This involves working with the CTO and our management team in the UK to help spec out new features and tools, establishing the format of data payloads between our web-app and the API, and then extending these calls into our API in a secure, efficient and reliable manner. This requires memory management, efficient database queries and good Object-Oriented programming principles.

What advice would you share with our current students considering a career in your field? 

Software development is an engaging, rewarding and challenging career. When the pressure is on, it can be a stressful line of work. However, if you learn to love and enjoy the actual coding then you will have a career you can enjoy. Watching a new feature or system go from diagrams and ideas on a whiteboard to a real system being handling real data and real users is a very satisfying experience. Don’t be disheartened when facing a wall of bugs and issues in your code – ask for help, take a walk and attack the problem with a fresh mind. 

What did you like best about studying in ATU Sligo? 

I very much appreciated the ratio of students to lecturers. When initially learning to code, I always had access to 1 on 1 help from lecturers, and extensive feedback on projects and work submitted. The relationship felt very friendly and helpful, and I was always able to get in touch with lecturers for advice about classwork, projects, and career advice. 

What advice would you give a first-year student starting in ATU Sligo? 

Get stuck in! Attend every lecture and every practical class you can – coding is best learned hands on and with the help of lecturers in class you will pick it up in no time. Join clubs and societies too, they’re a great way to feel part of the university community.

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