Software Engineering with Steve Knox
Dr Steve Knox is the Software Development Team Lead here in the Department of MACE working with the Water Resources research group. We caught up with him to hear more about what inspired him to become a software engineer and why he loves his job…
Steve: From an early age, I had an interest in computers, which I inherited from my dad. I went to university in Trinity College, Dublin where I studied Computer Science. My final-year project there sparked an interest in intelligent ‘ubiquitous’ computing systems.
This was before Google and Amazon existed, who do exactly what I was studying — providing services based on a person’s location, interests etc. So from there I did a PhD in UCD Dublin, which focused on trying to identify the ‘context’ of a user using sensors.
“Being an engineer enables me to build something from scratch and watch it be used”
This means trying to identify what a person is doing using sensors in the environment in order to provide services to them. During my PhD, I realised that the engineering side of things interested me more than the research into human behaviour. So after my PhD I became a professional software engineer, developing online sports gaming websites.
“Engineering allows me to be creative in a structured way”
Being an engineer enables me to build something from scratch and watch it be used. There is enormous satisfaction in seeing what I create being used. Engineering allows me to be creative in a structured and controlled way. This mix of developing functional thing with an outlet for creativity is something I really love.
Two of my other great passions are fitness and cars. I am an avid runner and try to get out several times a week. I find that running is a great way to de-stress and is very motivating. As well as fitness, my other interest is in cars. I fully believe that electric cars are the future, so my current passion is in converting cars to electric. I am currently in the process of converting my Mazda RX8 to use an electric motor. Exciting!
To hear more about Steve’s current work and research and how it is making real-world impact, check out the recent podcast.
Interested in Software Engineering? Have a read through Adrian Harwood’s blog about his work in Research IT.
Or want to meet more MACE staff, students and alumni? Check out the ‘Meet MACE’ section of the blog.