An interview with Vincent Kearney, iOS Lead at SaltDNA.
Time with the company: 4 Years
I became part of this glorious team back in March of 2015. Welcomed with open arms and a warm heart I quickly became integrated into the atmosphere and culture that was SaltDNA. From being thrown in at the deep end and constantly being challenged, I rapidly discovered this was the placement for me. I was initially put on testing the app to both learn the features and discover any 'Wobblers', as the Head Honcho of iOS would say, that crept up. Shortly after I started to work on the iOS app itself. Xcode and iTerm became my daily tools with Objective-C becoming the protagonist of fun puzzles and the antagonist of my nightmares! After four years of being on the SaltDNA force I have become a more skilled developer than I ever thought possible in this time frame. I can honestly say Salt has become part of my... DNA.
That would have to be the nature of the work. At a time when WhatsApp reigned supreme and other messaging platforms were trying to take a piece of that action, I was drawn to understand how such a system operates behind the scenes and I think it's safe to say, I am still learning how. As a mainly Apple product focused user I was surrounded by MacBooks, iPhones and iPads, resulting in me having very little to complain about. When I first attended an interview the team were extremely friendly, approachable and cheerful, matching my personality very well. With my second interview providing a free biscuit and a hot chocolate, at the age of 21, I was sold. Not yet realising I should have a higher price than a biscuit and a beverage!
With the team practically begging to keep me on, I did so with ease and a smile. The begging part may not be true, but at least they were eager to have me on board. After spending years working with the team and learning the system inside and out best I could, still with a lot more to go, it was an easy choice to settle here after graduation.
When I first started with SaltDNA in an age far far away I was a placement student testing and learning more acronyms than I was aware existed. In today's world, I finally became the Head Honcho of iOS myself. As the lead of iOS I am responsible in making sure the app is as healthy as can be. After being mentored for years by an incredibly talented and intelligent individual, I am responsible for mentoring new placement students on the iOS front, which I try to do the best I can to match the guidance I am still given to this day.
Every aspect of it. Learning new languages; from Objective-C to Swift, Java to Python and even efficient SQL syntax, I have been challenged at every turn. Learning how to use new tools provided yet another challenge, one that I am always happy to tackle as finding more tools can help to save time and make the development process more fluid. As my first 'real' job it was an interesting curve to learn this environment and working with others that are much more experienced in life, never mind this Industry, than I am. Understanding the Agile nature of the process in here and sticking to working in sprints quickly became a structure that I realised worked very well for me. Setting targets and goals that needed achieved in a set time helped to develop my skills much quicker than they would have otherwise. The very fast paced nature of the work at SaltDNA sculpted the drive I have to constantly develop the best product possible.
The team, atmosphere and work ethic of everyone around me. People are driven to succeed and to become better individuals at every turn. As an inquisitive individual I have more questions than a toddler learning their first words. In SaltDNA there is always someone happy to answer these questions and break it down in a way I can easily understand. I don't come across many individuals, including myself, that have a great skill of breaking anything complex down into a simple and easy to understand way for a particular individual. No two people learn in the same way, which everyone in this team understands well. After I ask a question I am luckily never left confused, which I think in itself is the biggest attraction of any workplace.
Cyber has exploded! Nowadays, some organisations have Risk teams, you have policy and you have people trying to figure out what is happening to defend their organisations. It's worth keeping in mind every conversation you have internally in departments as everyone will look at something in a different way. It's also worth keeping in mind this with online conversations, too.
Lots of people are arriving in the Cybersecurity space, which is great because fresh people and ideas are absolutely needed. I think the number one quality people can bring to the arena is also experience. That doesn't mean 10 years experience- that means existing in a job and company and doing the hard work. If you're really in there, delivering, doing, you're going to be valuable and won't have any problems. Commit. Do. Deliver.