Kainos boss Brendan Mooney: I don't really switch off from work, I enjoy it too much
Brendan Mooney, managing director of Kainos software company, says its success is built on its 628 staff.
How did your career path come to working as managing director of Kainos?
I joined Kainos as a trainee software engineer in 1989, graduating from the computer science course at the University of Ulster. I've undertaken a variety of roles in Kainos over the years including consultant, project manager and sales (all with varying degrees of success). I was appointed as managing director of Kainos in 2001.
Do you have any regrets about anything you've done so far in business or your career in general?
My big regret is personal rather than professional – my mum, Maureen, passed away in 1979 and my dad, Benny (Bernard), in 2003. I would love to have had more time with them both.
Name the three people to whom you owe your present success
My career has been greatly influenced by three important people: Frank Graham, the founding managing director of Kainos, who in 1989 offered me my first job. John Lillywhite is chairman at Kainos who has guided me since I took over as managing director in 2001 – and my wife Eileen (for lots of reasons) but especially for giving me great advice since 1985. The success of Kainos, that's down to the staff at Kainos – all 628 of them.
Do you ever switch off from work – and if so, how?
I don't really switch off from work, so even on vacation I'll keep an eye on the emails, perhaps make the odd call. I really enjoy my job, so I don't find dealing with things at the weekend or on holiday stressful – but I am conscious to make sure that it doesn't interfere with time spent with family and friends.
Are there enough IT-qualified people coming out of universities in Northern Ireland?
No. Momentum, the organisation that represents our industry, published an excellent manifesto in late 2013. It highlights that there are 27,000 employed in Northern Ireland in the sector today and outlined an ambition to have the sector employ 50,000 by 2018. A recent communication from the Northern Ireland Science Park indicates that there are currently 2,000 unfilled IT jobs. For people thinking about a career in technology, this is very exciting – for employers this is more challenging. There is lots of good work being done by industry, by academic institutions and by the government – we all just need to do more of it and do it faster.
Is government doing enough to ensure the growth of the sector in Northern Ireland?
I'm not comfortable with the view that it's down to the government to make growth happen – it is the responsibility of all the companies here in Northern Ireland – and given the figures above, there is real progress being made. Invest NI has been very successful in attracting substantial global software organisations to Northern Ireland and that has provided a great boost to the local software sector.
What do you think will be the best way for Kainos to fuel its growth in the future?
Our growth will largely be determined by continuing to work closely with our customers, delivering great software to them, and by continuing to attract and retain the very best people. It's not a complicated business.