We Are Randox | Software Developer Scott McPeake on life in the Randox IT department
Have you heard about our IT Open Evening on Tuesday 20th November? We’re offering those interested in Software Development, Information Security, Web Design and IT Support the opportunity to have a look around our state-of-the-art IT facilities at the Randox Science Park.
But as a company known throughout the world for its high-quality health diagnostic products, you may have been surprised to hear that we have such wide-ranging roles available in Information Technology.
“Randox? Isn’t that just for scientists?” we hear you say.
We turned to Randox IT Software Developer Scott McPeake for the answer. This is what he said.
“I imagine if you were to ask my friends from my Computer Science course at university, if they previously knew that Randox offers jobs in IT, they would say no.
But really, it’s not surprising when you think about it. Technology underpins everything we do in life. Everything is moving digital, and everything digital involves software in some shape or form.
Even jobs which you assume are predominantly tech-free – let’s say for example, a bus driver – use technology every day. A bus driver relies on technology to administer tickets and to plan their travel routes. It truly is everywhere and it’s only going to expand more.
Without an innovative IT department, Randox wouldn’t be the successful and reputable company it is today. If there was no IT team, there would be no lab equipment, no websites, no apps. Even organisations who don’t specialise in IT still have it as a core function of the company.
In the Software Development team, in particular, we design and develop the software used in laboratories to compare results from instruments and samples against other laboratories, to see how these results compare.
It’s important work, as all our scientists rely on us to be able to do their work in providing blood test results to patients across the world. Our software needs to be operating perfectly to ensure people are getting the correct results and therefore the correct diagnosis. And that’s what makes Randox so reputable.
Access to technologies
Being part of a company that is so well established and successful also means that we get exposed to the latest innovations. With IT influencing so much of what we do here, we’re at the forefront of all projects and developments, and are given access to the most up-to-date technologies to make sure we’re providing the best possible products and user experience for our customers, and can stay head of our competitors.
We’re able therefore to bring to management our ideas about what new software we would like to try, to suggest how it would improve our work. So new software is coming in all the time. I’m currently working with MVC architecture which is a key software framework used widely across the world. It’s definitely something good to get experience in, as is typescript, which although not used as much, is really interesting, and I’ve certainly enjoyed the opportunity to try something new.
And of course, working in Randox, we also get the opportunity to learn about the science of diagnostics, and in particular the machines on which we’re implementing our software designs, which carry out blood testing in hospitals and laboratories. It’s good to challenge yourself to learn something new.
Teamwork and collaboration
The chance to expand your knowledge and improve your skills repertoire is probably one of my favourite things about working here at Randox. Everyone works really collaboratively and we help each other out when we need it. So if you don’t know something, no one is going to chastise you. Asking for help and advice is actively encouraged because we each have our own strengths and weaknesses and we can help each other to be a better team. Everyone in the Randox IT team is really willing to help and makes time for you if you need it.
I remember on my first day here I was really nervous and I arrived at the door unable to get in because it was locked. Someone in the team immediately came to the door, asked me if I was new and welcomed me in to the building. That instantly set the tone. Everyone was really welcoming, friendly and professional.
And this ability to work together is so crucial. Most days we will be working on the same site but perhaps on different pages so we have to talk to each other to make sure my page doesn’t break theirs and vice versa. Quite often we’ll design the layout of the software collaboratively, and most days we’ll have a morning meeting to discuss our progress.
If we’re creating something new, we’ll draw up the design based on user requirements and create the software to those designs. Or if an existing site doesn’t work properly, we’ll write up the problem, how to solve it, and then push it up to the production server to fix the bugs.
So communication is fundamental, as is problem solving. Being able to keep calm under pressure is also an inherent skill for programming. Deadlines happen; they’re a real thing. You can’t take all day to do something. But it keeps things challenging for us, which is vital, as you don’t want to put your brain to sleep. The work is challenging but solvable, and as I said, you have the team there to help you out and support you.
We all get on really well and the more experienced software developers in the team have been such great mentors to me. If you’re interested in working in IT I would certainly recommend coming along to our IT Open Evening on Tuesday 20th November so that you can meet all of us and have the opportunity to take a tour of our brand-new facilities in the Randox Science Park.
Working in Antrim
The site is really spacious, modern, and easy to get to. For me, coming from Coleraine, I’m just able to get the train to the Antrim station, which is right beside the bus station aswell.
And Antrim has everything you could need. Shops, supermarkets, nice affordable places to live, and plenty of cafés and restaurants. Sometimes we’ll head out as a team in to Antrim for lunch or dinner together, or if we fancy Belfast, it’s just a short journey on the train.
So if you’re interested in a dynamic career in software development, take the trip to Antrim to find out a bit more about what Randox has to offer during our Open Evening on 20th November.
You might not have thought of Randox as a software house but we’re here and we’re working hard to improve healthcare globally!”
To attend the Randox IT Open Evening on Tuesday 20th November, register for tickets on EventBrite by clicking here.
For further information please contact the Randox PR team by emailing email@example.com or phoning 028 9442 2413
Healthcare diagnostics company Randox has today announced 25 new specialist IT roles ranging from Software Development and Information Security to Web Design and IT Support.
The roles, which will span a variety of career pathways, including placements, graduates, apprenticeships and permanent positions, will be based at the firm’s new headquarters, the Randox Science Park in Antrim, which will host an IT Open Evening on Tuesday 20th November.
Those in attendance at the Open Evening will be invited to enjoy a tour of the Randox Science Park, which, following purchase by Randox in 2015, is being developed into a manufacturing and research facility in an investment totalling £161m. The ongoing renovation plans, when complete, will have created a total of 540 high value job opportunities at the site, with an average salary of £30k per year that will generate £16.2 million in annual salaries.
Stephen Fawl, Randox IT Manager, commented;
“Working at the cutting edge of technology and innovation, the Randox IT department design and develop a range of web-based applications and software, support the tech infrastructure of more than 1400 employees worldwide, and implement the very latest in security protocols. It’s no surprise therefore that we’re seeking the very best talent to join our team – offering competitive salaries, career progression, personal development and the opportunity to work in an incredibly forward-thinking company. We invite anybody who is interested in a dynamic career in IT to visit us from 6-8pm on the 20th November for our Open Evening at the Randox Science Park.”
Dr Peter FitzGerald, Managing Director of Randox Laboratories, added;
“As a global leader in healthcare diagnostics, we must continue innovating, through our people, through our world-class R&D, and through our infrastructure. With technology heavily influencing so much of what we do, the Randox IT department remain at the forefront of our capability and have a critical role to play in the delivery of cutting-edge innovation. The newly-refurbished IT facilities at the Randox Science Park in Antrim give the team there the platform to engage across a broad range of projects, to make a real and important impact upon global healthcare.”
Randox, renowned for the placement and employment opportunities it provides students and graduates at both Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University, has recently launched an ‘Earn As Your Learn’ Higher Level Apprenticeship in Computing, with Northern Regional College.
Through the ‘Career Encode’ programme, Randox is offering three-year apprenticeship vacancies in the IT department, in addition to a range of senior roles for the more experienced IT professional. The apprenticeship scheme is equivalent to a foundation degree and provides a clear progression route for apprentices to train to the highest level whilst gaining a professional qualification.
Councillor Paul Michael, Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, commented;
“The creation of these specialist IT jobs for the Antrim community, as a direct result of Randox’s ongoing investment and expansion is further proof, if needed, of their commitment to the regional economy. To be able to offer both experienced and aspiring IT professionals, whether students, graduates or full-time IT specialists, the opportunity to work in such high-calibre roles so close to home is an incredibly unique opportunity and I look forward to welcoming new IT staff to the fantastic Randox Science Park facilities.”
Randox Laboratories currently employ 1400 employees globally, 800 of which are based in its Northern Ireland sites in Crumlin and Antrim.
Register your interest for the Randox IT Open Evening by collecting your free tickets here.
For further information about the Randox IT Open Evening, please contact Randox PR by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning 028 9442 2413.
Randox IT Manager Stephen Fawl and Senior Recruitment Consultant Lyndsay Rodgerson are pictured with Councillor Paul Michael, Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, at the launch of Randox’s 25 new specialist IT roles
Every year Randox offers university students exciting placements with an innovative and rapidly growing company.
These placements are specifically designed to unlock the potential of high quality candidates and provide them with the opportunity to truly make a difference to our business and our customers, and with the opportunity to gain the needed experience to pursue a career in their chosen fields.
Ross Meikle took the time to tell us all about his placement year working within the I.T. department here at Randox.
If you’re interested in a placement year with us, read on!
Hi Ross, what are you currently studying at University?
I am currently studying Computer Games Development at University of Ulster Magee.
Why did you choose to go down this career path/what attracted you to engineering?
During the first and second year of my degree I decided that Game Development wasn’t for me, and I had a much more keen interest in the Software Development modules that I had been taking. I have always been interested in computing and technology. To be in a position where I am using new technologies to design and develop software solutions appealed to me most.
How did you first hear about Randox?
I found the Randox placement through the University’s Placement searching tool, which then led to my application. After applying I contacted Randox to enquire further about the position and obtained an interview.
Why did you choose to carry out your placement year with Randox?
The description of the role given to me at my initial interview really appealed to me and the fact that I already had a little experience using some of the tools that the development use was encouraging. I was familiar with Visual Studio, and had completed one module using the programming language C# – which is the main language that the team here use. During the interview the Project Manager asked me a few technical questions and asked me to do a little coding which I felt very comfortable doing. He also talked to me about the language they use here at Randox and gave me a broad overview of what my responsibilities would entail. After leaving my interview for the placement position, I felt very positive about the whole experience and felt like I wanted to be a part of the team.
How have you found the experience so far?
My placement experience at Randox has been excellent. I completed my initial year of placement and then I was extended for an additional three months afterwards so that I could work right up until I went back to University. I am very happy that the company were prepared to continue my employment and allow me to develop my skills further. Since then I have also been brought back to do my final year project alongside Randox. I have made many friends during my time here, and I have learned significantly more during my placement than I have in any University year.
Have you been working in a supportive environment?
I have been working with the IT Software Development team during my placement. When I started the department was named Acusera 247. There isn’t a single person in this department that hasn’t helped me in some way or another, including the operations team. My team leader has always been able to provide the answer to any issue or question I have had along the way and provided those answers in an informative way that helped me to learn. My Project Manager has also supported me by providing me with all the opportunities I have had throughout my time here, including the final year project I am currently undertaking.
What do your main duties include? Have you been given much responsibility?
After the initial training phase and once I had become more settled within the team, I was made to feel like an equal and capable full time member of staff. I was working alongside other full time developers of varied experience, developing projects that were important and under tight time constraints. I was also tasked with completing a Security Project for the company’s IT department. For this I had to create an Outlook Security Add in which the IT security officer Craig requested. The add in requires all company communication mediums to be given a security level which would ensure that only users with the required access level could read emails or access the files. I have been given a lot of responsibility throughout my placement and it has definitely made me a much more capable and confident person.
What do you enjoy doing the most?
I think the highlight for me during my placement was the Web Development that I did alongside the team in the last quarter of my placement. I was working on Acusera Verify alongside the other developers to a strict deadline. I was given a list of bugs which had been identified in the website and I had to identify the issue in the code and fix it. This process was very rewarding and it made me more confident knowing that my manager/team leader trusted me to be able to provide what was asked.
Have you been met with any challenges? How have you overcame them?
When I started my placement I felt that my coding ability was not what it should be, and I felt that I would struggle whenever the work became more complicated. What I found however was that being tasked with complicated work was the best way for me to learn. It encouraged me to learn fast and it encouraged me greatly to communicate with my team and improve my understanding. I was also challenged initially with the individual assignment I was given, the Security Application for IT. It was challenging, but through hard work and a supportive and extremely knowledgeable team behind me, it became more than achievable.
How has your placement experience with Randox compare to that of your friends who have also had a placement year in engineering?
The two friends that I lived with in my first and second years in University had very different paths than myself during their placement year. One of them was unable to achieve a placement and he ended up walking away from his degree. The other enrolled on the Erasmus program and did his placement in another University in Finland. Other people that I know have been placed with companies and have had both good and bad experiences. I feel very privileged to have had my placement with Randox and comparatively I seem to have gained a lot more from it than quite a number of others.
How has Randox worked with you to ensure that you are still able to work part time at Randox since finishing your placement?
My Project Manager has assisted me in contacting the right people within the company in order to propose the project and get it started. I wrote up a Project Initialization Document which detailed the design, drawbacks, benefits and costs of the project and it was reviewed by my superiors. I was recently sent a full offer pack and given all the information I required, along with a Staff identity/Clock Card to access the building. I have also been provided with a company computer and submitted a purchase order for the components I need for the project.
What you have learnt/skills you have developed from your placement?
What have you been working on recently?
Since I returned as a part time employee, I have been working on the project I am using as my final year project, but I can’t give away too much detail on that yet.
Have you seen the Science Park? What was your first impression?
When I returned as a part time employee I was in the Randox Science Park and that is where I am located now. It is a significant change from where I was previously and I am both impressed by it and very comfortable here. The working environment that we have now feels much more professional. We have ready access to facilities we didn’t have before including dedicated storage areas, a build room for the connects and access to meeting rooms with interactive technologies – it really is a first class facility. I am sure it has and will continue to improve the quality of the work produced here.
What was the highlight of your placement year with Randox? Do you have a favourite memory?
There have been a lot of great experiences throughout my placement year, but the memory that stands out most was my last day. The team set up a lunch for me and all said their goodbyes. My Project Manager then gave me a conditional Job offer which is what I had wanted most all along. It summarised the year for me and ended things on a very positive note.
We are delighted that Ross enjoyed his placement with Randox and we wish him the best of luck for his upcoming dissertation project!
For more information on our student placement or graduate programme please contact Randox HR team or check out our website Randox Careers.