March has now Marched on into April – spring has sprung and so have we. It’s warming up and the evenings are getting brighter, so we’ve been getting out into the great outdoors this month, as well as finishing up our Q1 mini golf challenge.
March is also the month of International Women’s Day! If you manage to make it to the end of this blog, have a read through some testimonials of a day in the life at AquaQ from some of the women that work here.
It’s out with the old and in with the new with the office refurb well under way. Everyone at the Belfast HQ is excited for the refresh and there were a lot of helping hands for clearing out the office prior to the refurb work beginning.
We’ve tried to minimise waste as much as possible, with a lot of the office furniture/IT equipment given away to staff for an optional charity donation. AquaQ matched the charity contributions, and the £1,200 raised is going to Young Enterprise UK.
We are finishing out this quarter’s team challenge and the competition has ramped up!
Lots of teams met up over the past few weeks for a meal and some golf, although some were more competitive than others…
With no suitable mini golf venues nearby, AquaQ Hong Kong opted to play regular golf (maxi-golf?) at a virtual venue. The skill curve increases as the size of the golf club does, apparently, so I won’t get into their scores too much.
And now the results are in!
Team Unbelievably Bad Swingers takes the crown, proving themselves the world champions of mini golf, if the world was the staff of AquaQ.
Well done to Sean, Joshua, Mathieu, and both Andrews!
Last week, we headed to the Mourne Mountains in County Down to summit Slieve Donard.
Slieve Donard is the highest of the Mountains of Mourne, at 850m (2,789 ft). The views from the summit are extensive and on a clear day you can see the Isle of Man, Wicklow, Donegal, Wales and Scotland!
There were both seasoned hillwalkers and some fresher faces with brand new boots out on the trail, but with the weather on our side and lots of sweets, we made it to the peak.
AquaQ London also met up for a March social. There was a great turnout at the F1 Arcade for a few hours of simulated speeding.
Everyone was split into teams of drivers, with the McLaren team taking the win! They clinched the championship with good consistent driving throughout the “season” as the Mercedes team threw their lead coming into the back end of the circuit.
This year’s International Women’s day was eventful for AquaQ. To kick things off, our very own Aliyah Billeau hosted a talk at the annual conference hosted by the Belfast chapter of the Global Women Techmakers program.
The conference focused on showcasing the work, talent and achievements of local women in technology. Aliya’s talk was titled “Tech Translator – Bridging the gap between Product Owners and Developers”
We also had women of the company meet up for dinner and drinks across many of our locations! With many of us working across different client projects or even different streams of the company, this was a great opportunity to connect and catch up.
And now as promised…
Aoife McCloskey: Life at AquaQ is always busy, whether its working to meet clients needs, hopping on meditation calls at lunch or planning social events there's always something going on. For any given week my workspaces are divided between working from home, AquaQ's North West/Belfast offices and my clients offices. So the location is dependent on what in person catch ups/meetings I have on those days. That being said a typical day in my life consists of: - Client meetings to establish tasks. This typically happens first thing which allows me to... - Plan my day out - sorting tasks into priorities and balancing workloads - line manager duties such as 1-2-1s, check ins and admin - Buckets of coffee (although I'm trying to cut down!)
LJ Rankin: Hi, my name is Lucy-Jane and I’m a HR Manager at AquaQ. I’ve been with the company since October 2020 and initially started out as a Talent Acquisition Specialist before making the move to HR. This was something I had always been interested in having done my MSc in Human Resource Management, so I was grateful that AquaQ gave me the opportunity to switch roles! Everyday is a different in HR which keeps things interesting. I can be found doing anything from researching new benefits, catching up with new employees, collaborating with the wider people team on policies and strategies, organising visas and providing support to anyone who is relocating, and generally just being available to answer any HR or company related questions! It’s a busy job and there’s lots to juggle, but I really enjoy working with people and seeing them do well.
Jemma Borland: I’ve worked with AquaQ Analytics for almost 6 years and honestly no two days are the same! I am the (co-) Head of Time Series Data Learning and Development and a financial software developer specialising in kdb+. On the L&D side, we lead graduates through the Gateway, an intensive 12-week kdb+ course. We are also building a Pathway for continued learning across Time Series databases and associated technologies and encourage CPD for all personnel. As part of my role as a kdb+ developer I lead a team of three AquaQ developers on a client project, creating a Futures market data capture and analytics application.
My typical day starts by logging on with a cup of tea and checking in on emails on client side. My on-site client team are based in the US, so we typically communicate via email during the hours where the others are unavailable. I check in with my team mid-morning and ensure their tasks are progressing smoothly, before continuing with my own tasks. Today I’m running through the design for our second phase of intraday aggregations and estimating tasks for the upcoming sprint. On the AquaQ side, a request comes in for a Python CPD course; I send over the information pack we have for Python certifications and related courses. Murphy, my black Labrador, keeps me well informed of when it’s lunch time and provides a screen break in the form of a walk. After lunch, the US team are online, and we have our daily scrum call to ensure that our sprint is on track and discuss any common blockers. In the late afternoon, I sync up with the AquaQ L&D team before our touchpoint call to keep HR informed of how our graduates are progressing. Finally, I finish my day back on client side reviewing some PRs that my team have raised during the day.
Katie Jamison: It is coming up to two years ago since I joined AquaQ back in June 2021. Following my training, I was given the opportunity to move to London and join an on site client project. My first role as a kdb developer was a steep learning curve but a very rewarding experience. I work alongside experienced developers who always have time for my many questions and who are invested in my learning and development. I began on the Algo Equities team where my day-to-day would consist of communicating with product owners to access requirements, adding functionality, and using and developing APIs to ensure requirements are met.
I moved over to the intraday monitoring team where the responsibilities include the development and maintenance of trading alerts for business and compliance requirements to be met. The IMT team has given me increased exposure to a range of asset classes such as Equities, FX, and ETDs.
Emma Goodwin: Hi, my name is Emma and I joined AquaQ October 2022 as a KDB+ developer in AquaQ. Since joining I have gone through the internal training and self-driven development, and I am currently interviewing for KDB+ client roles as I finish up an internal Python project. The day to day for me at the minute can change rapidly because I'm moving from one project to potentially another while also doing interviews. But also, during my day to day I like to get involved in the social events that the social committee in AquaQ host. I particularly enjoyed the painting evening that was held a couple of weeks ago even though having blue hands for the rest of the evening was a bit awkward to work around but luckily, we had aprons on so it didn't spread too far!
Anna Andrews: Hi, my name is Anna and I am an associate software engineer at AquaQ Analytics. I have been working at AquaQ since October 2021, starting off as a KDB+ developer. Currently, I am working across two projects while training up to move from being a full time KDB+ developer into a hybrid role combining KDB+ and React. This hybrid role will allow me to use both my mathematical side and my creative side within my career. Since I work in a hybrid role, my day to day normally consists of different task types and using different coding languages, along with having some meetings throughout the day. I handle this by splitting my day into task blocks with breaks in between. This ensures I can properly focus on similar tasks together and use my breaks as a chance to refocus into a new type of task or coding language.
Niamh Crossan: Hi, my names Niamh and I joined AquaQ in January as a graduate KDB+ developer. A typical day for me would consist of working through the training Kdb+ bootcamp alongside linux and financial training sessions. I have also recently started doing mock interviews and begun Devops, a client simulation project, in preparation for client interviews and onboarding.