An interview with our Network Analyst who started out Sprout as an apprentice.
How did you first learn about Sprout IT?
I first found out about Sprout IT through an apprenticeship company called Just IT, who also have a good working relationship with Sprout IT, where they have sent apprentices before. Also, when I joined I found out that even my manager was doing an apprenticeship with them, called Taimur – he was my manager at the time.
How long have you now been with Sprout and have you changed you roles during that time or had any promotions during that time?
I’ve been with Sprout for 2 years in total and I started off as First Line Support and then from there I moved into Networking 1 year and 3 months in. It was quite a leap from when I started
What was the reason for changing from First Line Support to the Networking position you are in now?
I always had a passion for network security and the role that I was doing in First Line didn’t really match the criteria needed. Also, because I had been doing First Line for quite a while I felt like I needed a change in role because you need to keep progressing onwards. Networking for me was the next step up because it’s something I enjoy doing – I feel like if you do one role for too long then you don’t find it challenging it starts to get a bit boring. So it’s nice that Sprout has given me that opportunity to progress.
Why IT? What interests you about the industry?
I have always been interested in electronics and mechanics from a very young age, I started messing around with toy cars breaking them apart and fixing them and all sorts. It was quite natural that I went into IT at the time because now everything is based around IT – pretty much everything has a process or is connected to the internet so I guess that’s why I picked up the passion
During your career time at Sprout IT how would you say you have been supported in your journey?
One of the main points was having catch ups with my manager – if I had a problem I was able to discuss it and I was also lucky that my manager was willing to help me with my apprentice ship. Also, he would understand what I needed to do so that helped out quite as well. Also, because I had a young manager we had more in common it was easier to talk to him about things.
What do you enjoy most about working at Sprout IT?
What I enjoy the most about working at Sprout IT is the people – we have a great culture here. So when I first joined I noticed right away we have a lot of banter so I like the fact that we get our work done but enjoy doing it. I think if it’s just work, work, work and you’re not enjoying what you’re doing then no one can really progress. It’s nice that we have that relationship and a lot of the time it also helps to build relationships with our peers
Expanding further – how would you explain the culture to those that have never heard about Sprout IT?
The first thing is that we have a big social calendar – I think we really need to point that one out. On top of that every month we have a Friday gathering arranged where we all play pool and it’s the little things like we have the pool table and the breakout room which allows us to disconnect from everything and just chill out. It’s important to get the job done but sometimes you just need to disconnect from everything and relax as well – keep that healthy balance between work and social life.
Who is your favourite person at Sprout?
Difficult question! Not sure I can answer that.
What are your career aspirations – where do you want to get to?
The end goal for me is Network Security and Cyber Security because I like finding out how things work and from that I’ve always been good at spotting flaws. I remember my first week at Sprout I was finding so many problems with our ticketing system and how you can actually give yourself positives from this. I was showing it to my manager and through that we would be able to address and fix those problems as well. I think I just like understanding how things work and then making improvements.
Do you believe you’re at the right business that can get you to that end goal where you’re aspiring to be?
One of the main reasons I picked Sprout is because they work in the legal industry which is a great place when talking about security because it matches a lot to our clients. Also, there is all the rules and regulations such as GDPR so you need to make sure your networks are locked down and that you understand security to be able to defend your networks.
What is your team like?
My team at the moment – to be honest we are still coming together because we are quite a new team so it’s a mix between Network Support and Projects. Juan and Tilak mostly deal with customers whereas I support and fix the existing problems and from time-to-time I also deal with projects such as installing networks, cables, that sort of thing. So in terms of the team, because my team is quite new I think we still have some progress to make.
What does an average day at Sprout IT look like?
I don’t think there is such a thing. Unless you’re talking about pool – we’ve always got a bit of pool going on but other than that different things happen at Sprout. Different problems all based around the technical role. It’s not all just dealing with password resets all day long as some other companies actually do!
If you ever have a challenge at Sprout or any issues in your role can you turn to your right and left for support or is just a fact finding kind of role for you?
It’s a mixture of both, it just depends on your personality I guess because a lot of the knowledge I get is because I tinker with stuff on my own and figure out how it works. But if I need help with anything, I could ask Juan who also works with me and we can figure it out together – two heads are always better than one.
Do you prefer working alone or as a team?
It depends on the ticket and the scenario – some cases it is easier to work on your own because you understand the issue and in some cases it’s better to split up the task when you’re doing a new project when there’s a lot of sub-categories so you have the phone system, you have SproutCloud and you have the users’ VDIs and UATN to how they want to do it. It just depends on the task I think, if it’s just one small problem I think it’s easier for one person to work on it and also is more efficient that way.
Are you sad that there is no average day – do you like the variety?
Yes – one of the reasons I also joined Sprout is that I wanted to learn new things and if you’re doing the same thing over and over again you’re stuck in the same zone and not really progressing. I like being challenged, I like being put in different situations that’s how you actually learn. I think that’s the difference between what you get out of life and what you learn in a classroom. In life you get taught a lesson by being put into a difficult situation and climbing your way out, whereas in a classroom you’re told ‘do this’ or ‘do that’. So I think at Sprout there’s loads of different ways to learn and we have Tech Talks which is more classroom style where someone talks about an area of technology. And we also have situations day-to-day where you’ve been given a problem and then you get to actually solve the problem.
How would you describe the owners – the CEO, the COO?
This was one of the most shocking things because when I joined Sprout I never expected to be greeted by the owners on my first day. Most companies you never actually see them they’re tucked away in their office somewhere and you never hear about them. But I like the fact that if you have any problem or you’re having some issues, you can just approach Danny for example and just speak to him and he’s happy to help and he’s just also so nice and calm and a friendly person in general. I think you see this a lot if you meet him outside of Sprout also, like when we have our Sports Days – I like this sort of environment.
What has been the best social event that Sprout has done so far?
I actually really enjoyed the Sports Day. But there’s been other smaller things we’ve done too with our team mates – like Top Golf, bowling, that sort of thing. So it’s always lots of fun.
Do you like the fact that learning is a big part of your job?
I definitely do like it because it benefits both the employer and the employee so it’s good that we’re all in this journey together and being pushed in the right direction. It’s valuable for Sprout to have more technical employees as well and for the employees it’s better to know more so that we can fix problems quicker and also it raises the bar for us.
What is the most difficult thing about your role?
I think it would be our clients – you have to understand that being in the legal industry means our clients are under a lot of pressure and so a lot of the times they may shout and scream at you but you need to understand the context of the scenario. They’re not rude or angry people in general, they are just under a lot of stress, their minds are all over. A simple thing like a printer issue, they might shout at you but you just have to try and control the situation and keep them calm. I think that’s the first piece of advice for anyone joining Sprout – it is going to be fast-paced, in this industry we are going to expect some challenges and it really does help to have good communication skills.