People behind the product: From Farm Life to Lab Life

Rebecca Fitton

17th Jun 2022
People behind the product: From Farm Life to Lab Life

Kerri Douglas joined Cirdan back in 2019 as a placement student. Now 3 years later, Kerri is a full time Lab Analyst working as part of the clinical team to support the verification and validation teams. Her daily activities also include helping with internal and external training, assisting the sales team with tender and application demonstrations as well as assisting in client discovery and implementation.

Outside of the office, Kerri has been an active member of Spa Young Farmers club since she was 13 years old. She currently sits on the committee and will be PRO (Public Relations Officer) for the incoming year. Growing up on a beef and arable farm has lead Kerri to become deeply passionate about agriculture and she is keen to encourage the younger generation within Northern Ireland to make connections within the farming community and give them the skills to succeed to make quality produce within Northern Ireland.

We recently caught up with Kerri to find out more about her work within the Clinical team and to get a deeper insight into the life of a Lab Analyst at Cirdan.

What activities does your job involve on a daily basis?

As a Lab Analyst at Cirdan, I work as part of the Clinical Team. My daily activities are ever changing but include supporting the verification and validation teams, helping with internal and external training, assisting the sales team with tender and application demonstrations as well as assisting in client discovery and implementation.

I completed my undergraduate degree in Microbiology in 2021, currently I am undertaking a Masters in Software Development part-time. Software development was never a career path I considered when applying to University’s but during my placement year with Cirdan I realised how much I enjoyed it.

Through my degree in Microbiology I choose modules focusing on clinical microbiology. This knowledge gave me a good foundation to build on when starting work as a lab analyst with Cirdan a job role in which a knowledge of laboratory workflow is essential. Studying software development in the last year has given me a better understanding of the ULTRA development process and what is involved when a story moves past the design phase and into development.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

One of my favourite things about my job is that my daily activities change from week to week, the variation keeps the job enjoyable and allows me to interact with different colleagues. Everyone at Cirdan is very approachable and friendly I get to work with people from around the world with a wealth of knowledge in both software development and clinical laboratory’s.

How do you spend your time outside of work?

I have been an active member of Spa Young Farmers club from 13 years old, I currently sit on the committee and will be PRO (Public Relations Officer) for the incoming year. The club has allowed me to meet some of my closest friends and take part in competitions ranging from Floral Art to Stock Judging and Public Speaking. I wouldn’t call myself a farmer, but I do spend time helping on the family farm, especially in the summer months when things are a lot busier.

Currently a lot of my time is spent on evening classes and programming practice tasks working towards the completion of year 1 of the Software Development Masters. Ultimately the goal is to put what I have learnt into practice at work. This year I have covered Computer Foundations including Testing which has allowed me to understand and follow the testing processes carried out by the testing team and also write better test plans. The content is challenging but I am enjoying the course and look forward to continuing next year where I will learn more about Databases and Web Development.

What are you most passionate about?

I am passionate about agriculture, living on a beef and arable farm I have seen the hard work and dedication that goes into producing quality produce within Northern Ireland. Through young famers we encourage the younger generation (farming background or not) to make connections within the farming community and give them the skills to succeed. During lockdown we created a #spakeepsfarming series where we allowed members to take over the club Instagram account and share a day in the life on their farm, this really raised moral and kept us all connected. This year we had an intake of 40 new junior members, which was very encouraging after a break in face-to-face club activities during the pandemic.

Biology was always my favourite subject in school, I feel privileged to work in a job where I am putting into practice the subject that I studied through university as well as having grown a new passion for software development. Having recently been on site visits it is encouraging to see how the product we are creating will actually be used by laboratory staff to aid in their day-to-day work.

#fromfarmlifetolablife #labanalyst #inspiring #peoplebehindtheproduct #ULTRALIS