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Employee Profile: Meet Sean Bolger, Software Engineer at Travelport Digital

What is it like to work at Travelport Digital?
It is quite an open environment, a great creative environ for developers. However, what I have experienced here over any other company is a team environment, everyone helps everyone else to grow. I have never worked in an organisation where self driven learning is supported as much as it is here, when I build something it is part of my deliverables but it also directly feeds into the progression of my career.

What does your role entail?
Day to day I look after building out the product and features for various customer facing projects. I am deeply involved as a scrum master so I take part in the planning and clerical side of development which ranges from the planning and vision for a feature to the coaching and supporting of the team in the various agile processes that we have. I help the team get better at planning and estimating their work and also communicating how they are progressing or if there are any challenges they have.

Outside of that I take part in a lot of the white boarding and user experience sessions that we hold. I meet with designers every 1-2 weeks to hash out where the design vision is and where the product is going. The developers are very involved in the design process in the early stages of a project.

I also do a lot of customer facing work where I take part in demos, workshops and I am involved in weekly calls with customers to ensure that their needs are synched with the work the team is doing.

What advice would you have for anyone that is interested in working on your team?
A big requirement would be to be someone who is willing and able to communicate - you don’t have to be extremely bubbly or an extrovert but a big part of the day to day is feeling comfortable with your team and conversing with them on workload.

I would also say that having a creative approach to development would be good - if you can think outside of the box and take ideas and do something with them, that’s what we want in the team!

What is the favourite part of your job?
The fact that I am able to have some fun and a share a joke with coworkers - while on and off the job. It is a very social company which plays a huge part for me!

What types of projects do you work on?
Most of what I currently work on is front end application development; I work on responsive web for travel management companies. However I have spent a lot of time working on flight booking and all that is involved in that from deciding a destination to booking a flight. I have also been lucky enough to have had the chance to work on quite a few ‘new’ products, ground breaking products that Travelport Digital has worked on for customers, sometimes it's a nice distraction from the day to day!

What is the best project you have worked on?
Doing hotel booking for one of our TMC customers. It was, on the whole, a new project as while we were extending an existing product it was a new team working on it. There was real excitement about creating this new feature as we had some brilliant ideas and the customer was great. It also came at a great time for me in MTT where I was pivoting my skillset, I was originally a java android front end developer so this helped me move to front end responsive web.

What skills do you use on a daily basis?
I use communication skills on a daily basis but I am always deepening my understanding of tech, it’s not often that you don’t learn something new every day.

What are you most proud of achieving in Travelport Digital?
Transitioning into a role that is customer facing but more than that, being in a position where customers have asked for me to be on calls and appreciated my contribution by bringing new perspectives that they may have not otherwise considered. That’s a huge achievement for me, I was originally in a start up and never had direct interaction with customers, it was all internal. Now I’m really comfortable calling a customer and having a good, productive conversation with them

How has your role changed as the sector has grown?
When I first came into Travelport Digital I was on the cusp of a mid level developer, I had mainly worked in junior developer roles so when I joined I felt I was throwing myself in the deep end from a technical perspective. By the time I was here three months I felt I was flying along, learning a huge amount. Now I am at the point where I am leading technical conversations, holding customer calls and doing on boarding of new team members.  

Do you have any productivity tips?
Use the team you have, a lot of the time we want to be that one person who figures things out and you don’t want to let people down. In a dynamic team you can’t do that, you need to make use of the team and bring different skillsets together, otherwise you get lost and waste time.

Also never be afraid to ask a stupid question.

Describe your typical day in Travelport Digital
I come in in the morning and we have our daily stand up, which is an informal discussion with the whole team about the day's workload. After that I grab a coffee, line up my ‘to do’ list and then just hash it out! I usually take an early lunch, and take a break from work by getting out and about! Then it is back to my desk where I power through the rest of the tasks for the day. In the latter half of the day I spend time planning communication and grooming the future work we are going to be doing. I have a 40/60 spread of development versus planning, I tend to do more planning and discussion of work rather than coding - so that we ensure we stay on track with what we are going to deliver. 

What do you like to do outside of work?

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I’m a big video gamer so you find me meeting up at a few local meet-ups for competitive video games. I also like going to design meet-ups as viscom and graphic design are a big interest of mine and I am usually working on a few video game personal projects!

You might catch me nipping around a few boutique clothes stores in Dublin. I consider myself something of a fashionista so I love popping into some boutique clothes stores in Dublin.

I’m also a massive foodie and my favourite restaurant in Dublin is Tapas de Lolas; it's the best tapas I have had in the world, outside of Spain! Craft beer haunts are good too, and every time a craft beer festival comes to Dublin I try and go along.

What steps led you to this role?
When I went to college I was looking for a happy medium between tech and illustration so I decided to do a multimedia programming course in Dun Laoghaire Art College in Dublin. Back when I started it was all about building websites using flash applications, but somewhere in the middle of the course flash died and everything became about web 2.0 - twitter, facebook etc were huge so the entire course got shaken up and we all got into apps and building dynamic websites.

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When I graduated my first job was working as a graphic designer for a small company in Dublin. I thought I would be able to grow as a designer but I didn’t have a enough of a design background or a deep enough understanding of design in general. It was stressful but I learnt a lot about working in a team mixed with designers and technologies - it was quite a waterfall approach where designers worked away from developers.

I went on to do some freelance work for a while, working in RTE and then pivoted into working on a product for the oil, gas and energy sector. I learnt a huge amount as I was the only developer in a start up – I architected the entire system to build the website, and their iOS and android app - it was stressful but rewarding!

It was after that I made the decision to move away from the start up world and found the role in Travelport Digital. I started off here as a mid level software engineer and I’m working my way through the ranks!

How different is Travelport Digital to any other company you have worked for?
It’s very different, having come from the start up world which can be shaky this is the most stable company I have worked for - great customer, predictable software and great software delivery.

Tell us something we may not know from working in travel tech
Travel as a sector shares some similar characteristics with digital sector - it’s fast paced and constantly changing! However within the travel industry there are quite a few legacy systems in place within airlines and TMCs - what we do at Travelport Digital is to try and marry the old with the new. I have also learnt a lot more about the values the travel sector has, especially around the importance of the individual traveller - understanding their needs - personalisation is big for them.

What is the favourite place you have been1441178_10153617765100019_69281292_n.jpg
I do a lot of travel in Europe, I go to capitals and venture outside of the cities. However the city that had the most colour to it and the most excitement for me was Barcelona. Every time I go I stay in old gothic districts so everything is gaudi or gothic, locally owned and there is a story about how it got there - I love that kind of thing. I try and be a local not a tourist when I go abroad.

Describe Travelport Digital in 3 words
1. Social
2. Opportunity
3. Modern

 

Aisling White - Content & Communications Manager

Aisling has over 14 years’ experience in marketing, brand and PR. Prior to joining Travelport Digital, Aisling worked at Hostelworld.com and Sage Software. At Travelport Digital Aisling works on communications, content marketing and social media activity to drive lead generation and customer engagement.

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