Rick is a Senior Infrastructure Consultant based in Novosco's Daresbury office; he's a coffee addict with a penchant for travelling and wine - sometimes combining them.
Question: So Rick, what do you do at Novosco?
Rick: Hi! My role is within the field services team as an infrastructure consultant. My primary skills have been historically around networking and security, but more recently I have diversified towards infrastructure and virtualisation, which fits in well with the needs of many of Novosco’s customers.
Q: What path did you take to get this role?
Rick: I’ve always been a keen tech enthusiast, straight after university I got a job with an ISP, became interested in networking and started studying Cisco and for other network vendor accreditations. I was with NetDef prior to the acquisition by Novosco back in 2016, and I was working in a similar role for the previous eight years. Following a sabbatical from 2016 to 2017, I returned to the UK and was fortunate enough to be able to resume my infrastructure consultancy position with Novosco, and here we are now!
Q: What does an average day for Rick look like?
Rick: My days are always varied between meeting customers and discussing their technical requirements through the pre-sales process, and scoping and delivering projects. Having lots of different aspects to my job keeps me motivated and really suits me. I love getting out of the office too, meeting people, and representing the company.
Q: What are some of the challenges you face in your job?
Rick: IT is always so rapidly evolving that it’s a constantly moving target to understand specific vendor technologies, as well as general trends in the sector. Finding the time in a busy work/life schedule to keep abreast of this knowledge is consistent challenge.
Q: How have you noticed the IT sector change in the last decade?
Rick: I’ve been working with networking and security for many years. For a long time there has been a huge amount of distinction between IT disciplines such as infrastructure, networking, security, and applications. Ten years ago in order to be effective at delivering security, it was enough to only understand how packets were pushed around a network. You didn’t need to know what was happening above or below you from a networking perspective. There is now a blur between the disciplines and a skilled network/security consultant needs to understand traffic behaviour and control from packet pushing right up to the application delivery. As this has become more complex over time, vendors have been introducing application driven orchestration of networking to simplify this multi-layered delivery. Software defined networking and security was initially slow to be accepted in enterprise networks, but has been rapidly increasing in acceptance over the past few years. In my opinion software defined networking will soon be the norm and replace disparate vendor appliances/devices scattered throughout a network. This will mean there is big need in the industry for network architecture consultancy, but a diminishing requirement for ‘low-skilled’ technicians doing simple day-to-day tasks on a network, such as switch port settings or firewall rules.
Q: What skills and qualities help make your job easier?
Rick: Obviously, you need to be very interested in the technology. Sometimes (actually quite often) reading technical articles, whitepapers, pre-sales documentation and manuals can get a bit dry. For my role you need to enjoy travelling, meeting customers and interacting with lots of different people. It’s important to see a challenge as something to drive motivation rather than something to shy away from. If you don’t know how to do something or don’t understand a concept then it’s great to dive in and find out rather than leave it to other people. This enthusiasm for learning is vitally important. The other main quality you need when producing project designs is a firm attention to detail. It’s very easy to create problems that can dramatically impact project delivery, as well as damage a customer relationship, if you don’t take the time to make the design 100% accurate.
Q: What is your favourite thing about your position?
Rick: I already mentioned the variety in tasks, but I also love the level of autonomy I have in achieving my goals. My line manager is always on-hand to assist, but lets me plan and operate with a respectful freedom. I really enjoy the people, whether it’s colleagues or customers. I think I’m so used to this style of working that I’d feel strange coming to the office each day and sitting at the same desk. I also enjoy working on projects. There’s a sense of creative problem solving that gives great satisfaction.
Q: What would you say to people considering joining you at Novosco?
Rick: I’m an old man and been around the houses a bit; I’ve worked for a few different companies and Novosco is my favourite company I’ve worked for. There’s a great sense of prosperity and achievement here with exciting new contracts and a growing staff. It’s a very employee focussed business as well as being well organised. As I mentioned, when working in IT there is always a strong requirement to keep developing your skills and I feel like there is huge opportunity to develop here, either in an existing role or diversifying elsewhere in the company. I’m very proud to represent Novosco and expect to be for here for a while. Hopefully anyway! Haha!