Product Consultant @ Kainos | Senior Leadership Fellow @ Women Who Code
One-On-One with Sapphire
Could you tell us a bit more about yourself, your job and how long you’ve lived in County Antrim?
I graduated from Queen’s University Belfast 2.5 years ago. I work at Kainos Software in the Digital Services Business unit and have worked on various UK government projects. I started Kainos as a Software Engineer and transitioned to a Product Consultant. I also work at Women Who Code as a Senior Leadership Fellow and lead online communities. Women Who Code is a global non-profit organisation dedicated to inspire women to excel in their technology careers. I am a tech community builder and have been volunteering in the Belfast tech community for over 5 years in organisations such as; Women Techmakers, WWCode, QCS (Queen’s Computing Society), Coder Dojo and more! I have lived in County Antrim my whole life, the only time I didn’t was when I moved to Dublin for 4 months. I missed home, friends and family so much that I decided to move back!
What attracted you to living and working in Antrim ?
I was born in Antrim, and grew up in Ballymena. I moved to Belfast for 4 years and later moved closer back to Ballymena (Both are still County Antrim). I was exploring other counties with my partner but we decided to stay in County Antrim. What I love about County Antrim and where I’m from is how close Belfast city is to me and also the North Coast. Ballymena is located in the middle of Belfast and the North Coast. There is so much to do and see in County Antrim!
Can you walk us through a day in the life of living in Co. Antrim ?
I work remotely at the moment and the Kainos office is about 40 minutes away from me. Recently I have been working from home and I usually wake up around 7 am and I begin my morning exercising, whether that be going to the gym or walking my dog Archie, around the countryside. I decided to move to the country because as much as I love the city life, I love how peaceful and beautiful our country is and I wanted to experience this everyday. After my morning movement I feed my pets and have breakfast (with coffee of course!). I usually start work around 8 or 9 am. I would have lunch between 12-1 pm, and during this time I would go out on another walk. I finish work around 5 pm and after that time I am usually ready to wind down and depending on the day I would go to my local supermarket or get ready to make dinner. We are so lucky to have local organic food from farms close to us! I love supporting the locals.
How would you describe transport within Antrim ? Is it easy to get around ?
Antrim is very easy to get around, I don’t usually experience heavy traffic in my car, it depends what time of the day it is. You can jump on the Translink railway service from Ballymena to Belfast which is every hour! Previously before the pandemic I would either drive to Belfast or get the train up as it is very handy depending on how I am feeling that day.
How fast/reliable is your home internet connection ?
Very fast! My partner and I have decided to invest in a good networking setup. We have up to 130 Mbps. We both work in IT so we prioritised in investing in a good setup for us both. Thankfully the area we live in allows us to have our own direct access to BT.
Can you tell us about some of your favourite locations or attractions within Antrim ?
One of my favourite locations in County Antrim has to be around the North Coast area, specifically the Giants Causeway! It is just a 40 minute drive from where I am from. Nothing I love more than going to the coast and listening to the waves. Of course when I am up there I love to visit my favourite restaurant, Ramore! Another place I love to visit is the Antrim Castle Gardens, I usually take my dog there for a walk and they have a dog play area which he loves.
What advice do you have for individuals or families interested in relocating to Antrim ?
I am bias but I feel this location gives you the best of both worlds because you can easily transport to city life in Belfast but also go to the North Coast if you are a beach lover. Make sure to do your research as there are so many lovely towns to choose from depending on what lifestyle you would want to have daily. There are many lovely locations to visit in County Antrim with breathtaking views. Ireland in general is an amazing place to live in, the people are friendly, it is beautiful and there are a lot of local businesses that are amazing. The Tech scene is blooming! Not only are a lot of big businesses investing in setting up a branch in Ireland but also our country invests in their people too. Overall, I am so proud to say that I am from County Antrim.
Thank you very much Sapphire for taking the time to talk with us and thank you for representing Co. Antrim as a Rural Ireland Tech Advocate.