Selenium for Automated Test Development

 

Selenium for Automated Test Development

Test automation is a hugely important part of modern agile software development. In this blog, we are going to focus on just one part of the challenge of testing in software development – building comprehensive software testing for user interfaces (UI).

User interfaces present a challenge for test development because of the complexity of user interaction with the software product. Most application user interfaces have users making choices, for instance, “where to save a file?”, “what to print?”, or “what file(s) to open?”, and these choices grow application pathways that require validation by manual or automated testing. Agile software development typically puts further demands on the software testing because of the requirement to have testing completed within the short agile iteration timeboxes. It is not uncommon for Agile Scrum teams to require their full testing validation to be complete within a two-week Scrum sprint cycle. These time constraints put more pressure on the testing approach and most importantly, the decision for which testing tools to rely on.

This blog illustrates some of our observations during our trial adoption of the automated testing tool Selenium, in our journey to providing automated testing for our Agile software development.

Challenge 1:

Our first challenge in the adoption of automated testing for our software development was to build a system that enabled us to write and run automated tests. Building these tools and test capabilities from scratch is normally way too expensive for software teams, and there is a myriad of automated software testing frameworks available to make the adoption much simpler. We investigated some common choices but settled on building our automation using the Selenium framework. Many of our developers had experience with Selenium automation testing development, and that made the choice of Selenium easy for our team.

 Challenge 2:

Our second challenge for our software testing approach was to ensure that our testing couldaccommodate complex application user interface components, like user prompts and  user dialogs, because all user paths must be validated thoroughly with test cases. Our challenge was to find a test automation tool that made testing of user prompts much easier, and we hoped Selenium would make our automation test development more effective for these UI requirements.

Without a tool like Selenium, we either had to physically monitor our test software, to ensure our test cases didn’t get blocked by a UI prompts, or we had to write extensive test code to deal with the UI prompts automatically, requiring a lot of test case development time. We were relying on Selenium to address these challenges, enabling us to quickly and easily build automated tests, without the need for manual intervention or a large test development cost, for quality product assurance.

About Selenium:

Selenium is an opensource framework for test automation. Selenium is commonly used for test automation for web-based applications. Selenium has built in methods that allow selection of buttons or prompts. Selenium specifically enables web development test coverage because it provides good solutions for supporting UI prompts and buttons. Selenium is equally effective supporting the testing of dropdown menus, checkboxes and various other UI components. Selenium has definitely made our automation testing more effective, and that has led to better quality software, and a better user experience.

In addition, Selenium’s browser support and OS support further enhances the scope and coverage of automation testing build on Selenium, so the investment in test development goes much further than just the initial platform the tests were built on. This reduces the time for creation and maintenance of an automation testing system.

In summary, Selenium is designed to dramatically improve the effectiveness of automation testing for complex web-based apps. In the next blog we’ll look at the benefits of Selenium for code at the infrastructure or data level, because Selenium is not just a user interface automation support tool.

For more information, please contact our Software Development Team at contact@aspira.ie

Author:  James Harrison, Software Developer, Aspira.

Covid 19 is eating Strategy for Breakfast

 

Covid 19 is eating Strategy for Breakfast

 

As 2020 began, we never realised that this global pandemic would be on the menu, invading both our lives and livelihood. As we try to process the implications of living and working under the shadow of Covid 19, we are all trying to rethink and reframe how we do business whilst at the same time safeguarding our lives. We are going through unprecedented change.

What is required is rapid innovation and time is of the essence. In the absence of a crystal ball, we have to consider all the possible scenarios and lead through strategic ambiguity. Success depends on moving the organisation forward precisely at times when the path ahead is hazy. We need to take pragmatic action in order to survive in this period of strategic uncertainty. We need to lead through change.

Communication is critical and leaders need to be visible and maintain frequent dialogue. It must be open and honest to maintain credibility. Even though leaders don’t have all the answers, communication is important to put everyone’s mind at ease and provide hope for the future. We need to communicate through change.

Please join us for our webinar, which explores how to navigate your way through the crisis and ensure your survival. We leverage change management principles and explore:

  • The five Stages of Disruption Denial
  • The Burning Platform
  • Successful Innovation
  • Decisive Action
  • Leading the new Strategic Direction

Please register here for this webinar.

Author:  Norma Lynch, Training Manager, Aspira.

The Importance of collaborative delivery

 

 

The Importance of collaborative delivery

Doing a good job makes humans feel good. Helping others makes us feel good. We take great satisfaction in being able to solve problems for people. A 2011 study on altruism confirmed the theory that we feel good by helping others, not because we are trying to avoid negative circumstances, but because behaviours like fairness, cooperation, and reciprocity are intrinsically rewarding (2011, Jamil Zaki and Jason Mitchell).  This ‘dopamine high’ is what we tap into when we encourage collaboration amongst teams – the belief that they will all feel a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment at a job well done, when the desired results are achieved.

Great collaboration is key to the success of any organisation when delivering projects or change.  Fostering and cultivating positive working relationships between business stakeholders and product delivery teams is vital because the pace of change is faster than ever. In many organisations, these two ‘factions’ often suffer from having a poor working relationship, to the detriment of a project and its objectives. It can be ‘us’ versus ‘them’ and may seem as though they have opposing goals. Resolving this conflict and breaking down those barriers to identify common and shared objectives will ensure both teams align to a common goal and work collaboratively to achieve it. The whole team will then share a great sense of accomplishment when an outcome is achieved, and they will use that experience to propel them forward to the next goal.

Creating and cultivating these team and people dynamics is gold to any organisation. It requires considerable expertise in developing rapport across multiple cross-functional stakeholders.

This ‘Collaborative Delivery’ is valued at Aspira and we are proud that many of our experienced talent can bring this skill to our clients, thereby helping them to deliver successful projects through growing effective relationships and creating collaborative environments and approaches to project teams.

The next time you are considering a project, think about the human side and build the people first. Get the mix right, give them the tools they need and the ongoing reinforcement, resources and learning to continually improve every aspect of themselves and the project. If it’s done well, perhaps they can all then share in the collective ‘high’ when it is successfully delivered.

We at Aspira are here to help, For more information on how Aspira can help you with all your project management needs, contact us on info@aspira.ie or call +353 21 235 2550.

Author:  Maria King, Project Manager, Aspira.

Leveraging and Managing The Potential of Your New Remote Workforce

 

Leveraging and Managing The Potential of Your New Remote Workforce

Event Details

A positive planning session, highlighting the opportunities and benefits of exploring the hidden talents of your current and future remote workforce.

This webinar will discuss how our newly remote workforce and our future hires can have a significant positive influence on your P&L statement:

  • Assessment advice on the maturity of your existing workforce and how they will adapt to remote working in the future
  • Planning a safe and healthy environment for your office’s future prosperity
  • Selection and recruitment strategies for growth
  • Leveraging new geographies, “project resources, sans frontiers”

 

Paints on a board

 

If paradise now arises in hell, it’s because in the suspension of the usual order and the failure of most systems, we are free to live and act another way.” ~ Rebecca Solnit

During my tenure at BASF in Germany, I had the good fortune to work with many different technical people from all over the world and the interplay, exchange  and collaboration has always stayed with me.

When I reflect on the great unifying experiences of culture and sports like the Eurovision, Soccer World Cups, Rugby World Cups, and contrast them with the struggles of all nations in today’s crisis, it occurs to me that we now must approach project resourcing very differently.

In short, ‘resourcing sans frontiers’.

 

The travel bug bites many of us and we experience other cultures and enjoy leisure adventures to the point where we are familiar with communicating freely with many different nationalities socially and at work.

We are all working remotely, where possible and as you will hear in our Webinar, we are also trying to facilitate people who need to be physically in an office, factory or outdoors.

Now as we recruit for new roles, in the new normal, it’s a critical requirement that candidates can be productive, secure and are both willing and able to work from home. Does that limit us?

I think not!

 

I see a world of resourcing sans frontiers.

Now, if we need a highly skilled worker with specialist domain experience, or niche industry skills, they can deliver that service from anywhere.

Our talent pool has opened up considerably, but so has everyone else’s. We need the tools, strategies and networks to compete in the new global markets, and unlock the potential of this new remote workforce.

At Aspira we have developed a toolkit that includes; recruitment assessment, technical tests, online validation, QA controls, and interview techniques that enable us to provide an effective virtual selection process on behalf of our clients and our own internal needs.

We will present case studies in our webinar about some of the remote resourcing assignments that we have worked on recently.

 

It is both a pleasure and a privilege to engage with professionals in IT & Project Management throughout Europe, the Middles East & Africa.  We have the same passion and enthusiasm to re-start, our economies and societies again.

This is true also with our clients, who enjoy working with our offices in Cork, Dublin, Amsterdam, UK, or the UAE, but are aware of the benefits in recruiting skilled resources from the multiple locations in EMEA.

Knowledge of the EMEA countries, culture, food or industry, makes for better conversations, quicker connections and valuable cultural contribution evaluations for our candidates and clients.

We have great tools to make connections, and our own application tracking systems (ATS) enables quick and easy processing of applications, tracking screening and security. We continue working with candidates and clients through project kick starts to delivery deadlines.

 

We tend to seek the positive aspects of life, and some of us loathe the disruption that change brings, but we recognise that we can rise to meet this challenge.…

Part of that change means that our borders and barriers to successful project delivery, have changed also. Resourcing sans Frontiers… is all about adapting to change.

Register for our webinar here.

Author:   Russell Moore, Head of Resourcing Advisory at Aspira.

The PMO: An asset or an overhead in a time of crisis?

Storm hitting a boat - Aspira.ie

Your PMO In a Time of Crisis. Your Lifebuoy In Choppy Seas.

For many of us we are experiencing the greatest levels of uncertainty we have ever known in both our personal and professional lives.

Looking for ways to survive and adapt to this new normal, we are being forced to re-evaluate what matters most. Some are risking physical health by leaving the relative safety of their homes each day to report for duty on the front lines, while others cope with the challenge to our mental health, as we ‘cocoon’ or self-isolate at home.

We are all dealing with the economic and financial fallout.

 

We have seen the majority of our businesses in lockdown, be they local or global, and this has had a huge impact on the way we work and deliver projects.

But now that initial shock has likely worn off, and the emergency Business Continuity Plans have been implemented, it is time to look to more medium and long term planning.

 

In a time of crisis your organisation needs to hold the line, share resources and build efficiencies. We are in this together.

That well-worn trope has never been more relevant. We see that there is a clear need for change but this change needs to be managed in a planned and controlled manner.

A lack of planning and prioritising of initiatives now may lead to wasted effort and missed opportunities.

 

The PMI® define the PMO as;

“A management structure that standardises the project-related governance processes and facilitates the sharing of resources, methodologies, tools and techniques.”

But it is more than that. It is a key resource that can help guide the business through these uncertain times.

The PMO is well placed to help manage this change and it has a key role to play, supporting the business to focus their efforts on responding effectively to this crisis.

How the business responds now, is key.

 

On Wed 20th May, Aspira’s weekly webinar series will investigate the role of the PMO now.

We discuss whether the PMO is an asset or an overhead for your organisation.  Register here.

This webinar will explore how the PMO can:

  • Manage ongoing project activity enabling the business to focus elsewhere
  • Adapt to the changed environment by modifying processes and introducing new technologies
  • Help re-ignite strategic initiatives to keep the business moving forward

 

Article by Emma Daly, Business Operations Manager at Aspira. We at Aspira are here to help, For more information on how Aspira can help you with all your project management needs, contact us on info@aspira.ie or call +353 21 235 2550.

Unfreeze your Resources, Unlock your Projects – Delivery in the ‘New Normal’

Unfreeze your Resources, Unlock your Projects

Delivery in the ‘New Normal’

On the 13th of May, Aspira’s weekly webinar series features an engaging discussion into Project Resourcing. We provide insights and agile approaches that can help ensure projects are successfully delivered in the current climate.

This webinar will explore:

  • What is happening in the marketplace currently and how we see it trending over the coming year.
  • How companies can take back control of their project(s) destiny via optimised Project Resourcing Techniques.
  • How high performing companies are adapting to be successful today!
  • Practical and realistic steps to help companies / projects proactively build Project Resource capacity.

As a preamble to this engaging event, Russell Moore – Co-Presenter of this Webinar – provides his personal story that aligns with the themes to come on the 13th of May. We hope you enjoy the read and will see you at the Webinar.

When I was younger, I lived in a blissfully free existence of mind, largely down to the successful way that my parents protected and nurtured us through the minefield of growing up and completing our secondary education. Undoubtably, traumatic economic, financial and external forces were challenging our family, maybe not as dramatic as where we find ourselves today, but certainly significant enough to cause my parents to have the same sleepless nights that we are all having now.

As I see my own children now have their happiness and well-being challenged, I realise that we all need basic principles and sound decision making to ensure that we have the tools required to cope in our professional and personal lives. At Aspira I am part of the management team; I recognize that colleagues and staff look to me and others to provide security and comfort when all around seems desperate and chaotic. There was something about my own father that provided that level of reassurance throughout most of life.

Life goes on, and we will recover, because as human beings we have an enormous amount of resilience and the ability to change, adapt and rebuild. Earthquakes in Indonesia, China or Haiti, WW2, 9/11 or the Spanish Flu Epidemic to name but a few. In the business world, we have to adapt the same fighting spirit and plan our way out of the chaos, and put a firm and concrete foundation for recovery in place. A major component of this is people, your staff, your resources, whatever we call ourselves, we are the building blocks for the creation of new beginnings.

When I left home to go to University, the initial attraction was the fact that my newfound freedom allowed for a much greater appetite for risk taking. This took on many different forms, ranging from missing important Lectures, standard student pranks, unscheduled road trips, poor relationship choices and a cavalier approach to sport and personal injury. It was around this time that my father told me that I will ultimately have to rely on the Four Cornerstones of Life, as and when he might not be around to guide and stabilise my personal and professional progression in adulthood.

At the time, I worked out that Finance, Family & Friends, Health and Education were forming a foundation for me to thrive and prosper as a person. I was lucky that I had a firm footing; corner stones that created a framework for me to complete my degree, in England, France & Germany. Even when I lost a foothold on one of my cornerstones, the other three would support me and enable me to rebuild the other. But of course, later in life the inevitable happens, and you lose two or three cornerstones at the same time………..

For some, that is what it feels like, right here, right now. The familiarity of your workplace, the financial comfort of your job, your friends and family are all taken away at the same time. There is a huge imbalance in your life, and we find ourselves clinging to one or two cornerstones. Your family and home have become a massively important support, and at the moment, the foundation for your finances and professional performance. At Aspira, as a company, we have quickly had to understand and accept how this has all come about, and become the new normal for us all. Like many companies, we have had to mobilise rapidly and adapt, reestablish our cornerstones and create a framework for a different kind of future.

As the storm settles, and we see a calmer, more positive environment forming around us, we find ourselves re-routing to a new exciting vision. The measures we have taken to re-invent our offerings to online delivery, the support of our staff through technology and remote communications, the engagement with our customers and suppliers, and the cross-training of our staff is starting to create opportunities to stabilize and grow our teams and revenues again. At Aspira, we have Advisory services that can help our customers assess their current resource portfolio including staff capability, capacity and approach.  From this we can provide recommendations in terms of sizing of teams, optimal competencies required, appropriate ways to address future demands of a Remote/Office based workforce, and so forth. We also have the tools and systems to assess, test, evaluate and ultimately, select your new project team members. We hope that you will continue to enjoy our Webinar series.

Please register for our Webinar here

Auther:  Russell Moore, Account Manager, Aspira.

‘Are we there yet? Secrets to sustainable business success’

Aspira teach people the importance of carrying out a Lessons Learned exercise at the end of each project, to make sure you learn from your lessons when starting the next project. Tune into talk radio on any given day and you’ll hear the Irish economy is bouncing back into full on recovery. We’re on the up and up again, but how exactly has that recovery come about… and have we really learned any lessons from the recent past?

The construction sector is visibly improving with planning permission notices for new housing littering the countryside. New road development projects and the rejuvenation of our city docklands area is on the horizon – multiple cranes can once again be seen on our skyline and ‘breakfast roll man’ is making a comeback, albeit with muesli and a skinny Latte instead of the full Irish breakfast.

Can we have any confidence that things will be different this time?

We hope that part of our recovery is based upon more mindful spending on the part of the consumer, more reasonable pay on the part of the employers and more prudent savings on everyone’s part.

But it’s not enough to expect consumers to self-regulate. We also need stronger banking regulations and enforcement of compliance. Recent headlines and court cases have exposed some nefarious practices in the world of high finance. We need a change of mind-set so that ‘wheeling and dealing’ practices are not seen as clever or admirable – instead we need to return to valuing good old fashioned principles such as honesty and integrity.

There are some warning signs that the recovery of the economy may soon start simmering over. We see that the property bubble is expanding again as demand far exceeds supply, with house prices back up to pre-crash levels. It makes alarm bells ring out when we hear mortgage providers advertising their “cash back” options – the kind of options guaranteed to encourage reckless borrowing.

The other major source of uncertainty is Brexit. What exactly will it mean for the economies of Europe? I don’t know. Perhaps I should refer to the architects of the Brexit deal – but it turns out that they have no clue either how it will affect either the UK economy or the wider EU economy. The only thing we know for sure is that it will be harmful, and that uncertainty will continue. And it is uncertainty that makes markets jittery and could precipitate another crash.

But rather than focus on the negative, let’s remind ourselves that current economic indicators say that the economy is right back where we were in 2008, we are back to effectively full employment and we anticipate unprecedented levels of employment growth, with jobs in the technology sector leading the way. Aspira has been named as one of Europe’s Fastest Growing Technology companies by the Financial Times for the second year in a row, so there is every reason to be hopeful for continued success. Remember – a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, but an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

Check us out at www.aspira.ie

Author: Paula Good, Accounts Dept., Aspira

 

Aspira appoints new Director of Software Development

 

Aspira, the specialist Project Management and Enterprise IT Solutions services organisation, has appointed Jim Blair as Director of Software Development. The appointment follows recent growth at the company and a number of significant client wins.

Jim brings over 30 years’ experience in product and software development to the company. From designing core elements of Mac OS at Apple to leading new product development at multiple Irish start-up companies, Jim has led the engineering of many world-class solutions. Jim will contribute to the growth of the software development teams at Aspira, working closely with clients to achieve seamless design, creation and implementation of software products that contribute to these organisations’ digital transformation.

Speaking on his new role at Aspira, Jim Blair said: “I’m delighted to take on this new role as Director of Software Development. We have a vastly experienced software development function at Aspira, and I look forward to working with my software developers and the complementary groups within Aspira to enhance the bespoke customer software service we provide to our clients.”

Aspira CEO, Pat Lucey, commented on the announcement: “We’re delighted to appoint Jim as Director of Software Development. Jim brings a wealth of experience that is critical for the development of world-class devices and software. Jim will be a fantastic asset to the team, contributing his strategic vision for the growth of the software development teams to the benefit of our valued clients.”

Aspira is a specialist consultancy, focusing on Enterprise IT Solutions, with offices in Dublin and Cork. Offering Project Management and Business Analyst Training services internationally, Aspira is approved by the Project Management Institute®, the International Institute of Business Analysis® and Scrum.org.

Please visit us at: www.aspira.ie or contact us on 021-2352550 or 01-5175777.

 

Ireland Chapter of Project Management Institute appoints new President

 

 

01 December 2017: The Ireland Chapter of Project Management Institute (PMI) has appointed Pat Lucey as President at the association’s Annual General Meeting last night (Thursday).

 

The Cork-based businessman succeeds out-going Ireland Chapter of PMI President, Niall Murphy, in the two-year voluntary role.

 

Pat has been on the Board of the Chapter since 2011, with responsibility for membership and sponsorship. CEO of consulting and enterprise IT services company, Aspira, Pat has more than 20 years’ experience in managing large-scale enterprise projects. He has also provided project management consultancy internationally to Fortune 500 companies and public bodies.

 

Speaking about his new role, Pat said: “I am honoured to be elected President of the Ireland Chapter of PMI. Thank you to Niall for his commitment and dedication to the Chapter over recent years. He has built a strong foundation that has seen our membership grow by 26% in the past 12 months. I now hope to build upon his legacy.

 

“We are also lucky to have a group of committed volunteers, without whom the Chapter would simply not exist. I look forward to working with them, and our new Board, to further strengthen project management within Ireland.

 

“There is no doubt that the role of project management will inevitably become more valuable in the coming years, ensuring the effective management and delivery of new projects coming into Ireland as a result of Brexit. The Chapter knows the importance of supporting these professionals in the times ahead. We are always focused on development opportunities and industry insight.”

 

New Principal Officers also appointed at the AGM include Jackie Glynn as Vice President and Clive Carroll as Membership Officer.

 

There are currently over 50,000 employed in project management across Ireland, in sectors such as IT, public sector, construction, pharmaceuticals, professional services, financial services and manufacturing.

 

For more information on the Ireland Chapter of Project Management Institute see www.pmi-ireland.org.

Top 10 traits I most admire in a Manager

 

I have worked for a variety of managers to date and have met many more along the way!  As a result, I have experienced many traits I admire and some traits I dislike.  These are the Top ten traits that I most like in a people manager.

  1. Give credit in public – acknowledge your staff’s contribution and don’t pretend you do all the work!
  2. Promote people with potential – you should look out for the high performers and help them become the leaders of the future.
  3. Be honest about people’s performance – give constructive feedback – both negative and positive and don’t make false promises about salary increases that will never happen.
  4. Create a co-operative and collaborative environment where peers help each other rather – avoid “warring tribes” syndrome.
  5. Don’t ask your people to do something that you’re unwilling to do yourself.
  6. Be respectful towards individuals.  People respond positively when treated with dignity and respect.
  7. Take the time to build team spirit.  Hold team meetings and build in time for team members to meet each other face-to-face.  This will dramatically improve their working relationship.
  8. Be supportive when your people make mistakes.  It’s easy to be nice when everything is going well, but great managers give support to their team members when things are going wrong.
  9. Trust your team to do their job – give clear direction and review progress, but don’t disempower your staff by micromanaging their hourly activities.
  10. Build relationships – work is about more than getting the task done, it’s also about building relationships with colleagues and stakeholders.  Great managers make an effort to connect on a personal level with their team members, helping to understand what makes them tick. And if they like Bruce Springsteen then that is a great start!

How many of these traits do you already exhibit?  At Aspira we do our best to demonstrate these traits, as I believe it is a key factor in any successful company.

I find this quote really good to guide my thinking and behaviours “People do not leave a company, they leave a manager”

Author: Mary Dwyer, Operations Manager, Aspira.

From Eritrea to Aspira with Love!

Sami Habtemariam was 18 when he was forced to leave his home country. He was halfway through his second year studying computer science and had hoped to pursue a career in technology, when in 2008 he decided the time had come to join the hundreds of thousands of Eritreans fleeing their homes seeking safety abroad.

His mother had already arrived in Ireland in 2003, followed by his two sisters. It took Habtemariam two years of travel via Sudan and Uganda before he was able to join his family in their new home in Cork city.

Determined to go back to his studies, Habtemariam enrolled in a computer science course at Cork’s College of Commerce four months after arriving in Ireland.

“The toughest thing was definitely the Cork accent. Even though I had studied English for 12 years before coming here, nothing prepared me for understanding the speed of the Cork accent. When I tried to speak in English I had to think in my own language first and translate. I couldn’t understand what the teachers were saying. Spoken and written English are two very different things.”

He was very grateful when an Irish classmate made the effort to show him around Cork. “When I first started my classes I felt like the new one and didn’t feel comfortable. But there was this guy next to me who was supportive and asked where I was from.

“He gave me hope. He told me about Cork and in his spare time he took me out to see the city. He is the best person ever and we’re still good friends.”

I’d go to Belfast at midnight on a Thursday to be in time for class on Friday morning

He also struggled to adjust to the Irish climate. “Where I grew up we would have four months of rain, but then it would be completely dry for the next eight months. In Ireland, I don’t think the phrase ‘completely dry’ even exists!”

 Job and Postgrad

Once he completed his computer course, he was able to transfer to second year at Cork Institute of Technology, where he completed a degree in software development and networking. After graduation he was offered a spot on a graduate programme connected to the consulting company Aspira IT and began working part time while studying a postgraduate diploma in business and management two days a week at Queen’s University Belfast.

“I’d go to Belfast at midnight on a Thursday to be in time for class on Friday morning. I’d take the Aircoach from Cork to Dublin, wait for about two hours at the train station and then take the 6.45am train to Belfast. Then I’d take the bus to Queen’s 

“The Intertrade Fusion programme gave me the chance to work with experienced people, and the guys on the team were good enough to give me help and point me in the right direction.”

Despite the long hours between work on Little Island in Cork and classes in Belfast, the year-long project really boosted his confidence both professionally and personally. After 12 months on the programme, he was offered a full-time job with Aspira, where he now works as a web developer and software developer. As far as he is aware, he is one of only two Eritreans in Ireland working in software development.

Privilege of citizenship

Around the same time he began his new job, he travelled to Dublin to attend a ceremony where he was sworn in as an Irish citizen.

“Naturalisation is a great honour for me. I feel it gives me benefits but also responsibilities. I have the responsibility to serve this country as a national and transfer knowledge to others.

“I thank God every single day for the privilege of citizenship here. It is an incredible thing to live in a place where the rule of law not only protects our rights but ensures that anything is possible.”

“In Eritrea you couldn’t even move from one county to another without permission. But in Ireland you can go everywhere, day or night. I can now move freely around Europe as a citizen and have equal rights as a citizen.”

I have heard about racism in Ireland but it’s never happened to me

He has never experienced racism during his seven years in Ireland and says his friends, colleagues and neighbours have always been friendly and considerate.

“I have heard about racism in Ireland but it’s never happened to me. Maybe I’m lucky, but I can honestly say that I always find people welcoming. My classmates and my teachers were always very supportive.”

In December 2016, Habtemariam was finally reunited with his wife Winta, whom he has known since childhood. She was accepted to come to Ireland as a refugee after travelling from Eritrea to Ethiopia. “If you want to bring family here you have to have an income and be able to support the person. I couldn’t apply for her at the beginning and had to wait until I had a job. I don’t have that stress anymore. She’s here with me now, so no more worries.”

Cancer system

Around the same time as his wife’s arrival, he learned that he was to receive an award for his involvement in developing a system used to analyse the incidence and prevalence of cancer in Ireland. In January he travelled to Carton House hotel in Kildare to receive his award alongside the chief executive of Aspira.

He is now taking evening classes after work to continue his training in software development.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe how far I have come since moving here

“I like taking classes and I like learning. In technology you have to keep learning. It’s moving fast, so you have to go faster.”

“I have been in Ireland for seven years now, and in that time I have completed my education, entered the workforce in a high-tech role and managed to deliver an award-winning project. Sometimes it’s hard to believe how far I have come since moving here.”

He misses his family back home but reiterates how grateful he is to his friends, teachers and colleagues for their guidance and friendship over the past seven years.

“My message to other people arriving in Ireland with an uncertain path ahead of them is to seek out education opportunities, to work hard and you will be given the chance to achieve success.”

Sami Habtemeriam, Software Developer, Aspira

The Advantages of Professional Certification for Career Starters and For Maintaining Employability through Your Career

In the modern workplace, an interplay of several factors is essential to achieving success. Of course, you need the right qualifications to make your way into the system in the first place, and then you need to develop several skills in order to maintain productivity and be of true value to your organization.

The question of certification can be confusing. One might wonder just how important it is to get professional certification. Probably you’ve heard of people who are skilled and can do very well in a particular field but for some reasons, they are not certified? Therefore, you might ask yourself if you really do need professional certifications. The answer is yes. Professional certification speaks volumes of what an organization expects of you. It makes a clear statement about what your capabilities are to the employer and what potential impact you will have within the business. Professional certification also determines how much you will earn from a job and the value of certification cannot be underestimated. Being an accredited certified project manager as opposed to being a manager of projects will ensure you earn more and give you the opportunity to advance your career.

The concept of employability is critical for any worker. It refers to the ability to remain relevant in the workplace and retain high levels of marketability. Maintaining employability has to be the goal of any employee and it is only achievable if  you focus on keeping your skills current to allow you to adapt to the constantly changing workplace.. However, for someone who paid attention to employability, there will always be a source of hope lingering somewhere. What most people don’t understand is that it doesn’t take so much effort to be employable. It just needs adapting some habits like learning new things over a period of time and honing your skills. Taking a part time course is such a great addition and above all, updating your resume will help you a great deal.