Sam Derby, who graduated in 2014, has been telling us what he’s doing these days while working for McAfee.
Q. What is your Name?
Q. What was your University course?
BEng(Hons) Computer Systems and Electronics
Q. What is your job title and role?
Software Quality Engineer at Intel Security (McAfee). My role splits between two main distinctions: Projects and Operations. Operations are helping build and test our daily antivirus releases (DAT). Projects are varied, but usually have the end goal of making our product releases more efficient and our testing more effective.
Q. Could you briefly describe the organisation you work for?
Intel Security (McAfee) is one of the World-leading antivirus software developers. We create solutions for software and technical security against malware, ransomware and other emerging digital threats. Originally housed within Intel, McAfee, is a 7500 strong team across the World.
Q. Which skills learned at University are helpful to you in your job?
I do a lot a bug fixes and troubleshooting, although the code languages I learnt in University were different, the methodical and systematic approach to code debugging I was taught, are applicable to any language and I still use those methods today.
Also, and surprisingly to me, giving presentations at University helped a lot. At work, we regularly host demos of code changes, new products and testing methods. Proposing these changes to a very skilled team can be daunting, but I’m far more confident doing it now having been grilled by lecturers in Q&A sessions.
Q. Do you have a typical day and how would you describe it?
Project Days are standard 9-5 and usually start with a 10-15mins project sync stand up. Everyone in the team says what they did yesterday, what they are doing today and if they are on target for deadlines. The day will be mixed then between meetings and code/software development. Any changes that are proposed have a rigorous testing cycle and approval process. This means creating test plans and release criteria and completion dates. Along with submitting Requests for Change to our Chance Advisory Board.
Operations shifts are 1 day a week and 1 weekend a month. This requires starting at 6am and finishing at 2pm, to better align with our team in India and meaning the antivirus update can go out to customers earlier.
Q. What aspects of your job do you enjoy most?
I enjoy the challenge and the variety. To say every day is different would be inaccurate, but the projects you work on are never the same. This means learning myriad processes and numerous coding languages. Also, this job offers a level of respect I’ve not experienced in any other company. Constantly you are asked for your opinion and it is considered on any change that affects the team, regardless of your position or seniority.
Q. Do you have any advice for students who would like to start a career?
Don’t add things to the CV that make you out to be the perfect candidate, because no one is. If you’re under qualified for the role, accept it and look for another job. Go for roles that offer challenge, but are still inside your remit and skills and you’ll make a much stronger first impression.
Q. A Quote that sums up your time at the University?
“You’re lucky you’re good at presentations, ‘cos you’re not too good at Electronics!”
Brilliant! Still makes me laugh to this day, and he was right, I was awful at Electronics. I’ve still got the burns marks from soldering irons to prove it(!)