VP Certification and Skills, at CompTIA, the global IT trade association
What’s currently having the greatest impact on your business?
In the UK, I’d say it’s Apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are an excellent way to bridge the skills gap and we know that there’s not enough skilled IT professionals to fill growing industry demand, so getting out the message that companies can take someone who is unskilled and develop them into the right candidate for their business is key. The focus has to be on giving the learner the best start in their career and we believe giving them an internationally recognised certification alongside their Apprenticeship is the best way of keeping their skills current.
Otherwise, it’s the bun fight for people with Cyber Security skills; we just can’t train and certify people quick enough.
Where do you see the next big opportunity?
I think IoT and connected devices are going to play a huge part over the next 5 years – we’ve seen figures of anything from 5 to 30 billion devices by 2020. We still need to figure out some of the security implications, but consumer-driven demand is going to push the initial growth; people love convenience.
What would make your day job easier?
I think we have a great story to tell; we just need to get in front of more people to tell it. If I could have another army of business development girls and guys then this would make it easier.
What’s the best bit of business advice you’ve been given?
Success is about building a smart team of people around you, giving yourself time to be strategic, not getting bogged down in the day-to-day, and networking with key players in the industry. It’s work in progress, but I would say we have a smart bunch at CompTIA.
If you had a crystal ball, would you have done anything differently?
I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunities I’ve had so far. I would probably have taken more risks at a younger age and told myself to be more confident with my ideas.
Describe your most embarrassing moment.
It involves an abandoned car, missing flights and a lot of making up to do with a certain group of friends. Best leave it at that…
What was your first job?
My first job was as a volunteer sailing instructor aged 13, though I didn’t see it as a job until I had done it for a few summers. I was grateful to have received all of my training for the price of food and lodgings and I still keep my hand in now. It has given me some fantastic memories and huge satisfaction.
What would be your dream job?
Sailing instructor and running my own lunchtime restaurant, accessible only by boat of course!
Money’s not an issue, what’s your perfect car…and where would you like to drive it?
I really enjoyed owning a Porsche Boxster, but then my daughter came along, hence the 4×4 on the drive. So, the pre turbo version of the latest Boxster and the Lake District, if it stops raining.
Fine dining and good wine, or curry and a pint?
That is one tough question. As I’ve not been to see my friend Abdul at Morpeth Tandoori for a good while, I have to say curry and a pint.
Favourite holiday destination?
Has to be Pollenca on the lovely island of Mallorca. The north has the dramatic mountains and the sea is crystal clear.
How do you like to spend your spare time?
I travel right across my region, so getting back home and spending time with my wife and daughter is key. We like to get outdoors and go paddling in our canoe. Otherwise, sneaking out for an early round of golf or indulging in my passion for cooking.