I first started a BSc in Electronic Systems in 2003 having had no previous electronics experience. Having spent my teenage years working on engines, cars, and machinery as a hobby and for summer work, electronics was new to me but I loved every minute that I spent learning how complex technologies worked. I thrived in first year and, on the back of good results, I sought a transfer to the BEng in Electronic Engineering so I could study the areas that I found so intriguing in even more detail. I graduated with a BEng in Electronic Engineering in 2007.
I am now the Managing Director of Electricity Exchange, a Virtual Power Plant that I co-founded with my business partner and fellow UL alumnus, Duncan O’Toole, in 2013. Electricity Exchange uses large industrial electricity consumers to provide power to Ireland’s electricity grid.
My favourite thing about my job is how diverse it is. A typical day can range from working with regulators to modify the rules of the power system to enable the use of more renewable energy. Working in a lab with one of our team of 30, testing the performance of our latest technologies before they are deployed in the real world, to convincing our board of directors to commit to a multi-million euro reinvestment of profits into further technical development and expansion of activities.
The time I spent working in Intel as part of my co-operative work experience was key to developing my professional skills; however, my favourite memory is the time that I got to spend working on my final year project (FYP) in 4th year. Throughout the year, considerable time is dedicated to your FYP and it becomes your baby. It is an opportunity to develop a range of essential skills such as research, design, project management, and most importantly, problem solving. The euphoric feeling when something that you’ve taken from an idea to reality finally works is something that all engineers will relate to.
I look back at my time studying Electronic Engineering as having been challenging but stimulating and enjoyable. Now, as an employer, I look to the graduates of Electronic and Computer Engineering in UL as being some of the most employable in the market. Not only do candidates emerge with a keen understanding of the material covered throughout the mature course syllabus, they have also learned to be highly competent and enthusiastic problems solvers. This skill is often missing in graduates from other courses and is what makes graduates of Electronic and Computer Engineering in UL sought after in a broad range of industries.