Introducing a member of staff: Owen MacKenzie, Junior Developer at Sitekit

At Sitekit we are providing opportunities for growth and development at every stage of someone’s career. Owen chose Sitekit to be one of his first ventures in the world of IT while studying for his BSc in Computer Software Development. We sat down with Owen to ask him about his experience as a Junior Developer, life at Sitekit and a few other things.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, 3 facts everyone needs to know 😊 

Whilst working at Sitekit as a Junior Developer, I also study the four-year degree BSc (Hons) Computer Software Development at the University of Strathclyde via blended learning – I travel down to Glasgow, from the Isle of Skye, nine times a year and the rest of the course is taught virtually. Another fact about me is that I enjoy fundraising. Since the age of thirteen, I have supported the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service Family Support Trust by attending and organising events to raise money for the worthwhile charity. Lastly, I’m currently learning the programming language, Java. So far, I have only ever learnt the Python language, to a high level, until I started university and found out that they only cover Python in third year – isn’t that just typical!
Becoming a Developer is something a lot of young people aspire to do, why did you choose this path? Do you have any tips for young developers? 

I was always interested in technology since I was very young and then, I only decided to follow technology as a career path in third year at High School. The significant change happened when I took my first computing class that taught me web development and cryptography. Afterwards, I was intrigued and wanted to learn more. Going forward, I decided to take the rest of my three High School years studying subjects that relate and focus on IT (computing science, software development and cyber security). One tip I have for young developers is to take a computing related foundation apprenticeship whilst they are still in school, not only for the extra learning and impressive qualification for their age, but because of the value of work experience in a real IT company with developers that can teach you their tips and tricks from their experiences.

Why Sitekit and what is the best thing about working here?  

I completed a work placement with Sitekit in 2021/22 as part of my two-year foundation apprenticeship course in software development through the West Highland College UHI. I took this course outwith my school timetable and valued learning whilst gaining work experience with senior developers. Afterwards, once I was approaching the end of sixth year, I asked Sitekit whether they would like to take me on with the agreement I’ll undertake a degree at the same time, for progression. Since then, everyone has been very welcoming and has contributed to my learning to some extent. I feel like the best thing about working at Sitekit is the entire experience of working there – the helpful and friendly colleagues, very exciting and innovative projects, the flexibility of working remotely, opportunities to learn, and so forth.
What was your favourite project of all times and why?

My favourite project that I have worked on so far is definitely the one I am currently working on – Digital Staff Passport. This project, I feel, is going to become very significant and will aid so many in healthcare settings with efficiency. This is the first major project that I have ever worked on and have enjoyed learning as I’ve followed the process along. 

Do you have a 5-year plan? We would love to hear more about it!

I’m a person that enjoys taking time out to make plans and I take great thought into them. I hope to have successfully completed my degree at Strathclyde and to have expanded my knowledge in as many key areas as possible. Even though I have only worked with Sitekit for a few months, I hope to continue to work with Sitekit after my degree! Other than my career goals, I also plan to begin building my first home in North Skye.

 What do you get up to in your free time? 

I enjoy going out for strolls with my black Labrador, Coco, exploring new areas and taking in the scenery. Another hobby that I enjoy is driving, from off-road driving up Skye’s loch tracks to attending motorsport functions down at Knockhill Racing Circuit in Dunfermline. Being from an island means that I also go out on the family boat, usually on a calm summer day or evening. However, during the more miserable days when the weather is not so great, I tend to try out new recipes and cook or bake.

Quick questions for fun:

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I’m very lucky to be from the Isle of Skye and I believe that there is no other place I’d rather live. However, if Skye wasn’t an option as I already live here, I would choose somewhere rural in France or in New Zealand. I haven’t yet visited either but will one day.

If you could change your career in a second, what would you do?

Apart from being in IT, I always wanted to be a teacher, but not any teacher, the head teacher. I also wanted to create and manage my own business of some kind. So I suppose from these ideas, something that involves management.

What’s your daily screen time?

It’s that bad that I don’t know. Once work is done for the day, you’ll find one of my eyes glued to the TV and the other to my iPad.

Number one item for your lunch?

There is nothing like homemade soup with crusty bread on cold wintery days, which are most days on Skye to be honest.

Finishing work early or starting late?

Finish work early, one hundred percent! In my eyes, that’s the only right answer.

Post by Roberta Pavone

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