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UCC Physics Graduate Profiles

Robin Giller, Director of SW Product Management and Planning, Data Center and Network R&D, Intel

19 May 2022

"the main benefit UCC has conferred has been an ability to think independently, solve problems and learn (I’ve applied this to many new areas over the years)"

Current job title:  

  • Director of SW Product Management and Planning, Data centre and network R&D, Intel

What appeals to you most about your current role? 

  • Working on cutting edge products and technologies that impact billions of people every day
  • Collaborating with super talented colleagues from around the world – lots of merging of disciplines, which is a great environment for innovation
  • Leading a strong team, driving high impact products and programs 

Course/subjects studied in UCC and year of graduation: 

  • BSc physics 2003
  • PhD photonics with Tyndall 2007 

What influenced or helped you decide to study this degree? 

  • I was always interested in science and maths in school and knew I would continue down this track in university, although not sure exactly which discipline. Coming into UCC, I took a general course in 1st year that covered chemistry, maths and physics and chose to continue on with a physics major for the rest of the BSc (2nd through 4th year). It was great to have the option to try a broader set of subjects and then focus in on one. 

Most relevant main or subsidiary topic studied: 

  • Optics and mathematics topics were most relevant to my engineering roles but really the general approach to learning and imparting a problem solving and analytical mind set have been most valuable throughout my career

Best memory of UCC: 

  • Have many – spending time with friends, tournament trips abroad with the UCC ultimate frisbee club, some great subjects taught by interesting and engaging teachers, graduation, conference travel around the world during PhD

What role do you feel UCC played in getting you to where you are today? 

  • The physics BSc programme and PhD gave a great grounding in problem solving, analytical skills and mathematics that have been useful in every role I’ve had since graduating from UCC. Apart from specific technical knowledge gained through courses taken, the main benefit UCC has conferred has been an ability to think independently, solve problems and learn (I’ve applied this to many new areas over the years). The ability to learn and adapt is so important in today’s workplace.

Brief overview of work history (to highlight the path to where you are now): 

  • BSc physics at UCC
  • PhD photonics at Tyndall National Institute
  • Principal optical design engineer at Intune Networks, Dublin (7years)
  • Technical program manager, networking division at Intel (3 years)
  • Platform and SW product manager, networking division at Intel (3 years)
  • Director of SW product management and planning, data centre and networking, Intel

What advice would you give to current students that are about to graduate/enter the job market? 

  • The opportunities for graduates with Physics and maths skills are incredibly broad – I don’t think I knew that when I graduated and I was thinking about jobs that carried on directly from the subjects I had studied. In reality, your skills are much sought after in so many areas that may not be directly obvious: hardware design, software development, technology, finance, data analysis, education, AI, systems engineering and many more
  • My first real job was in a medium sized startup (~150 people) and this was great for getting exposure to many disciplines – hardware, software, systems, customer interaction, integration, product design, etc. This type of environment lets you get stuck into a broad range of technical activities and enables you to quickly develop skills in new areas. It’s fast paced and can offer a great degree of freedom
  • Today I work at a multi-national and this offers different kinds of freedom: opportunities to work on products and technologies that have a huge impact at a global level, career growth opportunities, opportunities to travel and collaborate with colleagues around the world. It’s also fast paced but in a different, more directed way – a great option for a new graduate to start his or her working life, learn critical skills and develop a career path

Any links to work profiles / LinkedIn etc you would like to share: 

Any other comments you wish to share: 

  • Graduates with a physics degree are much sought after and the skills you learn are in real demand. There are a huge variety of opportunities you can pursue across many industries

School of Physics

Scoil na Fisice

Room 213 (Physics Office), 2nd floor, Kane Science Building, University College Cork, Ireland.,