When I was in school, I had two goals for my further education: to study for a career in IT or to study sports while playing rugby. However, my plans were altered when I suffered a severe ankle injury from falling off a swing! This meant I was unable to play rugby for three years and, as a result, the only viable option for me was to focus on a career in IT.
The next step was to determine what area of IT I wanted to specialise in. At 16, the thought of making a decision that would impact the rest of my life felt overwhelming, as I had not yet had much exposure to the world and was uncertain about what to study. I looked into different options, attended open days, and eventually chose to study Forensic Computing at Gloucestershire College.
I was able to achieve a Merit Merit Pass in the course, which I was very pleased with. This led to me receiving an unconditional offer to study Cyber Security at the University of Gloucestershire. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to attend university, as it had always been a dream of mine. However, after six months of studying, I came to the realisation that university was not for me and decided to leave and start working full-time. This left me in a position where I was uncertain of my future career aspirations once again.
I had been working various jobs since the age of 16, such as working on a burger van, care work, and retail – sometimes all at the same time. My goal was to secure a full-time job and so I applied for any job I could find. I started working at a holiday company selling holiday packages but only stayed there for a few months before being offered a three-month contract at Lloyds Banking Group. When that contract ended, I worked as a case reviewer at Apcoa, where I reviewed parking appeals and dealt with complaints, but realised that my focus remained on IT and I began searching for IT-related careers.
I eventually began work at Ionos, a web hosting and server company, as a Server Support Engineer. My responsibilities included answering customer calls and assisting them with their account and server issues, which required me to delve deep into Linux and Windows to troubleshoot problems. I stayed in this role for three years, taking advantage of every opportunity to learn as much as I could. I also taught myself how to create websites to better assist customers, even though it was outside the scope of the standard support the company offered. I noticed that the company was lacking in guides outside the normal support we offered, such as making a website, so, in my free time, I created a website and guides to accompany it. This meant that when I had a customer call, I could provide them with the website details, which gave them all the help they needed. Customers always appreciated the extra effort I put in and the guides were always well-received.
After three years at Ionos, I wanted a job that would challenge me and keep me engaged. This led me to take a Service Desk role at Claranet. However, after only two months, I heard about a Technical Pre-Sales Engineer role at Infrastar. Initially, I was hesitant because I had just started at Claranet but I decided to take the interview and prepared by researching the companies Infrastar worked with, focusing on Juniper and Cisco. During the interview, I was able to demonstrate my knowledge and enthusiasm for the role and I was offered the job. I immediately felt that I would be a good fit for the company and accepted the position. Later that same week, the CEO, Glen, phoned me up asking if I had a current passport. When I confirmed I had, he asked if I’d like to go to a PNY event in three weeks’ time in Bordeaux, France! Of course, my answer was yes, I would definitely be interested!
At the time of writing this, I have been working at Infrastar for over seven months and am thoroughly enjoying it. Apart from going on the Bordeaux trip, which was a highlight for me, I am extremely engaged in my role and believe that this is the right place for me. For the first time in my career, I feel like my opinions and ideas are valued and taken into account and some of my suggestions have been implemented. My colleagues are all extremely friendly and approachable and have made me feel welcome and respected in my role. Infrastar’s CEO, Glen, is great to work with and always checks in to see if I have any new ideas or if the company can do anything to help. My direct manager, Ben, who is Infrastar’s Technical Director, is helpful and approachable, and our Sales & Client Relationship Director, Katie, is always willing to help with whatever I need.
Working at Infrastar has also helped me with getting back into health and fitness. As the Infrastar offices are located next to the gym, I have made it a goal to go there every morning before work and have now been going for seven months straight. I have wanted to lose weight and get fitter for a while and for years have been going to the gym on and off. Once I started in the gym, and my family saw how much of a difference it was making, my two brothers and my dad joined, using the routine I had developed, which is keeping them motivated. I have really enjoyed my gym journey so far and have seen a massive difference physically and mentally. I am proud of the progress I have made in the gym and in my career and will continue to push myself to be the best version of myself.
Sometimes in life, you may feel lost and unsure of what direction to take. The best thing to do is to take a step back, evaluate all of the paths available to you and what they can offer and carefully consider which one aligns best with your goals and aspirations. It’s never too late to change course and start on a new path but it’s all about finding the right one for you. I’m pleased to say that I’ve found mine – and also that I no longer play on swings!