People Profiles - Interview with a Trainee Software Engineer

Faruq Sulaimon

In the third of our series of profiles of our graduates and placements, meet Faruq, Placement Software Engineer, and find out about his year with our Belfast team. 

What are you studying?

I’m currently studying Mechatronic Engineering at Dublin City University doing an internship at Hamilton Robson, as a Trainee Software Developer. From my experience at college, I had a variety of skills that allowed me to adapt well with the tasks I did like 3D design and programming.

What were your first impressions of the role when you joined?

My first impressions of Hamilton Robson as a company was that it was tight knit group. We had monthly payday outings, music competitions and recently Friday gaming sessions. So, I enjoyed the company of my colleagues. In terms of work, I was expecting to do just do tasks in with coding and scripting but to my delight I had additional tasks like using embedded computer chips (MCUs), electro-mechanical design and 3D printing or solving problems with large customer LED displays,  I was happy to do these tasks as they also relate to my degree and improve my skills and knowledge.

What technologies have you learned about since you joined?

The first thing I learned was how to use the Embed Signage software to create layouts and learned how to access and alter the different LED devices at our customer’s sites.

I helped to build hardware and sensors that are used for Hamilton Robson’s room occupancy solution – BeaconIQ. I also worked on a range R&D projects developing prototypes for our visitor attraction offering using next generation position sensors, and cutting-edge automation and carbon monitoring prototypes for the enterprise office market. 

I used Computer Aided Design (CAD) to 3D print various prototypes, through to final designs. I also learned how to use C, C++, JavaScript, Bash and CLR and became comfortable working in and developing for Windows and Linux as well as learning source control and what it takes to make good software. 

What is your daily routine?

My daily routine would vary from most important task in my stack mainly short-term tasks like 3D designing, developing software or research on different technologies. Then would continue down the list based on priority. We start every day with a team stand up so we can all chat about our current workloads and sometimes share advice.

The most important thing you’ll take away with you?

The most important that I will take away from my experience is my main project which was the Version 2 of the physical controller for the Bow & Arrow interactive game. I got to experience using C++ in a workplace project where performance really mattered, got to work on improving the design of 3D components, learned how to build a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) and how embedded software I2C and I2S protocols work. 

Favourite moment of the year? 

For me my favourite thing this year was going to the Digital DNA awards event when I had just joined the team, and playing Uno on Fridays.

What advice would you give to someone just starting their placement year? 

I’d advise anyone to utilise your colleagues as much as you need as they have much more experience than you and can provide you with knowledge which would be of great benefit in the present or in the future.

I also had two great mentors on my team, Philip Clarke, and Luke McNeice. Philip would provide advice for any questions I had and would go through training of various programming languages. Luke would go through my designs to see if they satisfied the brief and would let me know of any improvements needed to maximise use and efficiency. They are very easy to talk to and very supportive, and would answer any queries with tasks that I was unsure of.


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