A word with Paddy O’Hagan – Digital DNA Business Personality of the Year 2019

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How do you feel about being named Business Personality of the Year at Digital DNA Awards 2019?

Winning this award makes me feel extremely proud – both on a personal and professional level. The local tech sector is brimming over with talented people so this is really humbling.

Most importantly, it’s great news for the company. Gaining industry recognition creates a real buzz throughout the whole Neueda team.

What is the best thing about your role in Neueda?

Honestly, my role really doesn’t feel like a job! It is fun, challenging and I’m part of a great growth journey here at Neueda.

In my position as COO, I make daily decisions that make a difference to our company and our future and that’s a huge motivator – as are the great, talented people I get to work alongside.

What or whom inspires you in business?
Anyone who challenges the norm, dreams big and achieves their goals.

Where do you see the future of the tech sector in NI?
I think we will see continued growth through foreign direct investment, but it is most rewarding to see the growing start-up and innovation culture feeding off the industry right now.

The Northern Ireland tech sector can truly compete on the global stage and we need to keep enriching and encouraging the talent pool to support that.

What would you say to someone considering a career in IT?
Go for it. It’s a great career that is always changing and reinventing.

Every business these days, even the most traditional, is in some way a technology company. There are many varied career opportunities available in tech so do your research and keep an open mind.

What is happening at Neueda at the moment?
We are seeing continued growth and have a number of big developments in the pipeline.

We are currently building a new Belfast HQ for Neueda, with really modern themes, to create an environment where IT professionals can thrive. Our Spanish base in Malaga is growing and we have kicked off ambitious expansion plans in ROI and the US.

All told, this is a really exciting time for Neueda.

Neueda Life: Ryan Eastwood, Senior Software Engineer

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We caught up with Senior Software Engineer Ryan Eastwood, who’s remained a crucial element of the Neueda team since he started with us four years ago, to find out more about his career journey to date as well as his role in developing our internal training and knowledge sharing scheme NeuLearning.

Ryan, take us back to the beginning; how did you get to this point?

In the eight years before I embarked on a career in IT, I managed several betting shops around Belfast and County Antrim. However, I wanted a change and started studying for a degree in Banking and Finance, followed by a post-graduate qualification in Professional Software Development at Coleraine University. All of this was while I was working 40-hour weeks, so I had to study efficiently in order to get the grades AND still make it to Kelly’s Nightclub every Wednesday night! In June 2013, I joined NYSE as a 27-year-old graduate where it was time to knuckle down and start my career in IT. The following year I joined Neueda as a mid-level Software Engineer.

What did Neueda look like in 2014?

Although the company had been in operation for many years, I considered myself to have joined Neueda at ‘the beginning’. The Capital Markets business was in its infancy, with the whole team sitting at a small cluster of around eight desks. Now, Capital Markets alone is bigger than the entire company was back then.

My first project with a major investment bank started right away. It was Neueda’s first POC with this particular client, and the step-up in deliverables was a big shock to the system. It meant putting in some long hours to ensure we never missed a deadline. Fast-forward four years, and I still work with this client as a Lead Software Engineer, and Neueda is a trusted partner to them.

What makes Neueda special?

I’m happy to be involved in several internal programmes, including Great Place 2 Work (GP2W) and graduate training. Along with Emma Neil and Ralph Graham, I helped to found our internal training and knowledge sharing scheme, NeuLearning. The idea behind it is for individuals with in-depth knowledge of technologies, languages or a particular industry to share it with their colleagues. The trainer gets the opportunity to improve their presentation skills in a friendly environment, so everybody involved learns and develops. It holds a particular place in my heart because I had a fear of public speaking and I had to take several sessions in the early days to help kick things off. It was actually during one of these sessions where I met my wife Nichola, proving that you should always push yourself to overcome your fears!

The four years I’ve spent at Neueda have flown by, and I can say with certainty that I would not have gained the valuable experience, skills and knowledge that I have today at another company.

Stay tuned to our Neueda Life blog series to gain an insight into the experiences of our amazing team.