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Career change to IT: Jonathan's story

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Former chef Jonathan shares his story on how to change careers and enter the technology sector successfully – from the courses that he took to upskill and his career change challenges to why he choose IT.

What’s your job title, and what company do you work for?

I am a Technical Operations Centre Engineer for a large multinational information technology company.

Can you tell me about your background? When did you first become interested in the industry you work in?

My background was working in the hospitality industry as a chef. After starting my family, I found that the hours were too much which lead to me absolutely hating my job.

A good chef needs to love what they do, and when this love turns to hate it is time to walk away and try something new.  I could have always gone back to the kitchen if I was unsuccessful in my attempt to retrain.

I have always had a passing interest in IT and it seemed with the way the world is going so I enrolled in a FETAC level 5 in Computer Maintenance and Networking, which is where I found a new passion.  Something that I was looking for.  Something that I could throw myself 100% into.

After completing this course, I decided that IT was the way forward for me, so I set a plan in motion. Get a degree then get a job.

If you went to university – what did you study? Would you recommend this course for someone who wants to get involved your type of career, and why?

I studied a B.Sc. in Computer Network Management. The course was an all-around course. It went over many aspects of the industry from computer networking done through CISCO online learning resources, system administration using Linux and Windows, cybersecurity, scripting and programming and much more.

I would definitely recommend a course like this because it tools you up for the industry giving you a little taste of many everyday tasks that I now use at work.

Tell me about some of your most influential jobs, prior to your current role.

As I said previously I was a chef.  I started my training under my father at 12 years of age.  I worked in many different establishments in Offaly, Galway, Tipperary and Cork, working my way to head chef in a very busy hotel by the age of 23.

This job really threw me into the deep end in a hard way. All my staff were older than me and in the beginning, I had to fight to earn the respect of my staff with solid hard work and sometimes a raised voice as chef’s do.

In this job, I learned valuable lessons about management and dealing with people that I still carry with me today working in IT

How did you land your current job?

After completing my degree I was put in touch with Stephen Tighe from Cpl. After a few chats, he saw the drive in me and put me forward for a contract role as a Network Operations Center.

I worked hard through three 6 month contracts and became a valued member of the team.  I was offered my permanent position in the Technical Operations Center just before Christmas 2017.

What skills are needed to excel in your career?

I will start with the most important in my opinion, communication. I deal with people across the globe through live chat, email and phone calls. You must be able to articulate complex problems quickly and in a way the person you are speaking with understands.

Other essential skills in my current role are; Linus system administration, scripting and being able to learn to use new tools very quickly and effectively

What’s next for you? Promotion, new project?

My plan is to certify in as many relevant courses as possible such as RHEL.

Along with this, I will work as hard as I have done before and hopefully in the future move up the ladder or into more development type roles.

In the meantime, I am enjoying my role here in IBM and in no massive rush to move on just yet.

Whose work (individual or company) from within your industry do you admire and why?

A typical answer but it has to be Elon Musk.  He is still very young and has accomplished so much and because of him the likely hood of me going to space is a very strong possibility

Looking back on your career so far, what tips would you give to someone thinking of doing something similar?

I would say, do it!  It is a very difficult choice in the beginning and while studying money is very tight but the rewards outweigh the risks.

Look at it in the way I did, if you are unsuccessful you can go back to doing what you did or move to a new adventure that suits you. Or land your dream job with an excellent salary, benefits and a happy life.

Are you interested in a career in IT?

Cpl have been working with technology companies and candidates since 1989 and have a number of expert IT recruiters who can work with you to help you find the right job.

Whether you are a software developer ready to create the next big thing, a network engineer with the skills to keep information flowing, or a business analyst with the nous to spot real opportunities; we have the perfect technology job for you. Get in touch.