I was born/grew up in: Green's Harbour, NL, Canada
I now live in: St. John's, NL, Canada
I completed my training/education at: College of the North Atlantic, St. John's, NL, Canada
Describe what you do at work.
My work takes me into multiple varied environments. I primarily work from home, which has it's advantages, however I often need to go onsite to a client's business to install a new server, or troubleshoot a network problem.
The role I play for small to medium companies is very important. I support their current computing environment, analyze and recommend technology solutions for their business needs, and design and implement those changes, while considering the overall costs to the business.
As such, I employ a lot of STEM skills when working with my clients. Being able to follow a logical and scientific method is critical for being able to solve problems quickly and efficiently. I also have to have a vast knowledge of older technology, current technology, and cutting edge technology so that I can properly support my clients.
Engineering concepts play a huge role in my business, as I have to design, plan, and implement new technology that will integrate into an existing business network and function correctly with existing systems. 99% of the time you can't just drop a new piece of technology into a business environment and expect it to “just work.” Being able to see the big picture and visualize the business impact of making any changes is hugely important.
Math is another area that I utilize all the time. The solutions I come up with have to meet the needs of my clients, while also not being well out of the price range of what they can afford. A lot of calculations have to happen before you can make a business case for a particular solution.
In addition to using math for my clients, I also need to use math for myself as I have a business to run! I need to budget, spend wisely, and be able to properly markup time and materials in order to make a profit.
When I was a student I enjoyed:
How does your job affect people’s lives?
Indirectly, my job has a huge impact on people's lives. Small businesses have many of the same needs as large enterprises, but they don't have the same budgets to spend. Being able to help small businesses spend their money wisely on technology solutions, makes them better positioned to expand and grow, which in turn creates more jobs and boosts the economy. The role I play helps to create a thriving business.
What motivates you in your career?
I've always enjoyed helping people and coming up with solutions to solve problems. Working in Information Technology (IT) makes for a workplace that is constantly changing, dynamic, and never boring. Every company has different needs and problems, and even if you've seen the same problem before, a lot of the time the previous fix doesn't work.
You have to constantly keep learning, researching new products and technologies, and adjusting the approach that you take to different situations. Being able to adapt on the fly and admit when you're wrong goes a long way in keeping things working the way that they should.
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
Describe your career path to this career.
I grew up using computers from a young age, so I always had an interest in technology. My main education was at the College of the North Atlantic, where I completed the two year Computer Support Specialist program with honours and a 4.0/4.0 GPA. In order to graduate I also had to complete a 15 week work term, which I did at Newfoundland Power.
Following my graduation, I worked at a medium sized (200+ employees) company for six years as the Senior Network Administrator and Head of IT. I've always wanted to own my own business, so eventually I took the plunge and left my full time position to start Your Computer Connection Inc.
The thing is we are always growing and changing as individuals. Just because you have a vision of what your future will be when your 15 doesn't mean that it will be that way. And that's not a bad thing! Growing up is about learning, and making mistakes, and learning from those mistakes. Find out what makes you happy, not someone else, and roll with it!
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
My interests outside work at pretty varied. I still enjoy playing with technology in my personal life, but I also like the outdoors. I enjoy fishing and hiking, horseback riding, and other physical activities such as martial arts.
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
I tell this to everyone who's interested in seeking a career in Information Technology (IT). If you don't like learning, don't go into IT. Technology moves so fast that your entire career in IT will revolve around learning. If you don't stay up to date, you'll get left behind really quickly in this industry.
Let’s Talk Science is grateful to Skills Canada Newfoundland and Labrador for connecting us with this individual.