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Ryan Somerville

Ryan Somerville Assistant Statistician

Be Inspired Series

Diarmid Sloan

K Point Internet Solutions

Graduated from Queen’s University in 1998 and worked in BT’s software engineering centre

What does your job entail?

I use web technology to help companies solve everyday business problems. This can be developing software to automate and streamline existing processes, helping with inefficient practices and providing a better use of resources.

I work with small businesses and although our customers come from a range of sectors such as law, agriculture, haulage and property, I use technology more or less the same, automating common everyday tasks. Companies often have an established way of working so changing the mindset can be a challenge.

Adopting rapidly-changing technology can be a scary prospect, but I like to think my role is to take the fear factor out of the project and leave customers with a system that is instrumental to the smooth running of their business.

Is it 9-5?

Not a chance! Due to the diverse nature of my customers' requirements, I have to work around their needs.

Most of my projects can be completed during the working week but if a problem arises on a Saturday night I can't ignore it until Monday! The upshot of technology means systems can run efficiently even when I'm not in the office, allowing me time to relax and enjoy myself also.

How did you get into this line of work?

During the latter part of my degree in the mid-1990s, the internet was just coming to the fore -- this led to me gaining experience in a whole new field of software engineering with the world of opportunities that opened up. I gained excellent experience with leading local software houses.

Outline your career to date?

After graduating from Queens with a Masters in Engineering in 1998, I worked in BT's software engineering centre and several other companies through the height of the telecoms boom.
My real ambition however was to go out on my own so I teamed up with my now co-director, Brian Murphy to set up K-Point in 2004 and never looked back.

Tell us about your qualifications/ training.

I've mostly trained on the job, availing of top quality technology and management courses with previous employers. I've been lucky to work with industry experts and learnt a lot along the way.

In your role do you feel that you stand out from the crowd?

I can confidently say yes, and that's not coming from me -- I'm regularly told that by customers. There are lots of web developers/ designers in the market, but many of them don't have the skills to deliver robust software to handle critical business data.

Our team has a strong software background and this is evident in the quality of our work. We serve about 300 customers across the British Isles and we're growing a client base at a steady rate.

What qualities are required for your job -- personal and professional?

Being knowledgeable about internet technology is important, but more important is having the ability to explain to customers what you're doing in a non-techie way. Cutting through the jargon means I can effectively communicate the actual benefits we deliver to our clients.

What is the best advice you ever received?

From my parents! Spend less than you earn. Everyone should be taught this at school. If everyone did, a lot of our economic problems may have been avoided.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I am a keen amateur photographer and tie this in with my love of hiking in the Mournes all year round.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.

I also work as a retained fire-fighter for the NI Fire & Rescue Service. Being my own boss means I'm available 24/7 to respond to emergency calls.

Who has inspired you most in your life?

What Neil Armstrong and other space pioneers achieved in the 1960s was remarkable. Stepping off this world onto another was a moment that puts all human life in perspective, and really underlines that no dream is too bold, nothing is beyond achieving.

Part of the Independent News and Media group