Mark McNally

As an apprentice, I don’t really have a typical day, I have no set tasks to do, as I am normally working on a number of project I have managed to involve myself in. Currently I am working on rolling out new desktop builds for the company. This involves interviewing people so I can build a specific profile for each user and ensure that it caters for their needs. An ongoing project I have been working on is the deployment of new applications around the company. This involves giving workshops to entire teams about that specific application. I also maintain the FAQ lists for the application. In between these various projects, I will study towards certifications.

What do you think are the three most important skills to succeed in your career area?
A good Attitude – you can accomplish a lot of things with the right attitude.
Problem Solving – I am presented with unique problems all the time.
Communication skills – I talk to a lot of new people on a daily basis.

Was this something you planned to do or did you change direction at any point in the past? If so, what was that and was it easy to do?
When I first started studying IT at Highlands College, I did not know what I wanted to do. I had completed work experience before in the field, which I enjoyed, so I knew that I wanted to do something technology related, but I did not know what. My original plan was to do the degree course at Highlands and get some more work experience that way. However, when JT came into Highlands to give a talk about the apprenticeship, and explained all the opportunity’s that it offered I knew that it was something I wanted to do.

What do you love most about working in your career area?
I love being on the cutting edge of technology. I get to work with interesting and exciting things all the time. Being an apprentice, I
get to experience a lot of different parts of the business. I can pick and choose what I want to do around the company and if I see something that interests me then I can go and experience it first-hand.

Are there any negative aspects of working in your career area that people considering it should be aware of?
The only real “negative” aspect I can think of is that you have to do a lot of studying in your own time. However this is not really a problem for me, as I really enjoy the topics that I study. Other than that, I can’t think of anything negative!

What training / qualifications did you undertake for your current role or are you currently undertaking?
In Highlands, I passed my Network+ and Security+ exams which helped me get the job. Currently I am studying towards my CCNA qualification. The training that I get is top level. I have access to a wide range of online resources and I work with very smart people who are willing to help me in my studies. In the future, I would like to get some form of Linux quali cation, namely
the RHCSA.

Is there any other information that would be of interest to someone thinking of this career?
If you are interested in this career, I definitely recommend being proactive and start studying towards certifications. This will show that you have the correct attitude and are willing to work hard to achieve your goals. You can’t beat real work experience. Go out, meet people in the eld, tell them you are interested and they might even give you some work experience!

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