The Story: Balancing a PhD and software engineeringPosted over 1 year ago by Client Server

Kieran's introduction to tech started during university when he decided to learn how to code in parallel with the cryptography module he was doing. “It was about keeping secrets, sending secrets, and primality testing. So, I decided to try and learn how to code. Looking back, I was terrible at it, but it was fun. I kept doing it and realised, I can use this for other things.”

Kieran is now completing his PhD at Imperial College London, alongside his role as software engineer at Tallarium, which Client Server placed him into.

His thesis is in supersonic retro-propulsion for Mars entry vehicles, which always gets a smile he says. “It's a very numerical PhD. And that's where I grew into my love of tech. Originally, I was very science-based. I still am, but I got into tech through my PhD and now I've got a job in it,” says Kieran.

At the beginning of his PhD, he felt a lot of imposter syndrome. It was important for him not to carry that into his professional career. “People know that you're new, people know that you're not going to know everything. The best bit of advice I can give any new starter in any job is to just ask questions,” he says.

Each day varies as a software engineer at Tallarium. “One day I can be doing data engineering tasks where I'm looking at a set of data and trying to draw conclusions from it. And another day I can fix a bug with our product. And then I could be doing something completely different,” he says. But when he gets home it’s PhD mode.

According to Kieran, Tallarium is brilliant. “Everyone believes in the mission of the company, so it's a great place to work. I really do want to see this company succeed.”

While Kieran is still early in his career, he has already set goals to develop his knowledge and take on more responsibility. “I'd like to be able to start teaching people and training people and have that responsibility, to grow the team in other ways rather than just helping develop a product.”

Despite working full time and completing his PhD, Kieran still enjoys coding in his spare time. He doesn’t get to work on side projects as much as he’d like but recently made an art piece with code which is now displayed in the office.

The Client Server team, in particular Amber, a recruiter in Team C# and C++, was given a big thanks by Kieran. “You were a big help in finding a great job, especially with my workload throughout the interview process and the feedback. Thank you, a lot,” he says.