Monday Morning in Belfast
Need a little Irish in your Monday?
Belfast or Dublin? GoConqr has hubs in both, and today team members from each city are inviting us in for a double feature of our Monday Morning series. Check out the Dublin version, and start imaging your Irish jobbatical!
Peter Smith is a dedicated mobile developer with a keen interest in emerging tech. A native Irishman, he works between Dublin and Belfast as an Android Developer for GoConqr, an e-Learning startup with a vision to transform learning for students and teachers. Welcome to his Monday!
A Relaxed Belfast Morning
On a typical Monday I head to work just after 9am. We work a flexi-time system in our office so there is rarely a need to rush. As rent is relatively inexpensive in Belfast, it’s pretty easy to find an apartment in the city centre. As that’s where the GoConqr office is based, it takes me less than 10 minutes to walk to work.
It’s a really pleasant stroll too. The office is located on Victoria Street, close to the magnificent City Hall, Victoria Square shopping district and the Belfast Waterfront which overlooks the historic River Lagan. You can actually walk along the river on an adjoining towpath that takes you miles away from the city through wetlands, meadows and woods, but I haven’t gotten around to doing it yet!
One of the many perks of being so central — apart from the obvious things like transport links and short commutes — is the variety of cafés and restaurants close by. It’s hard to make it into work without stopping to get my caffeine fix for the day.
I work at GoConqr, an e-Learning start-up that provides study tools for teachers and students around the world. We’ve got 1.6 million users so far, and the number is growing every single day.
I work on the Android apps, so normally the first thing I do is check to see if there were any crashes or issues cropping up over the weekend. Then we have a scrum call with our other office, which is based in Dublin, at around 10am. This gives us all a chance to outline what we’ve been working on, what currently needs attention and to plan ahead.
After scrum I will usually catch up with the rest of the mobile team about what they’re working on and sort through any issues that might have come up during the scrum.
Lunchtime often seems to come round too quickly. I guess that’s because we’re all kept so busy and involved. Luckily there are many options close to the office to take our minds off things and refuel (Cuban Sandwich Factory is a particular office favourite).
If there are new people joining the team or someone is leaving, the whole office will often go out together to wish them well. Otherwise, I just go for a quick stroll in order to clear my mind and get ready for the afternoon. Our team is currently a pretty small, tight-knit group. We have a great mix of people from diverse backgrounds. Portugal, Brazil and Poland are well-represented, and we’ve got some locals in here too. Northern Ireland recently qualified for the European Cup, so we like to bring that up every so often in conversation too!
At the end of a busy week, there’s always lots to do at weekends. Because Ireland is quite small, exploring the country is always an option. For instance, Dublin is about two-hours away by train. Lonely Planet recently placed it third in a list of must-see cities around the world for 2016.
That’s pretty impressive, but Belfast’s got a lot going for it too. Tourism here has really taken off in the last few years, particularly with all the publicity it’s gotten with Game of Thrones being shot in locations near here. With so many options, the only real challenge seems to be finding the time to fit everything in, but I think that’s a good problem to have.
Pretty appealing, huh? Make a new city home for a year with a jobbatical!