Advice to students on how to secure a tech engineer job

From student, to NOC engineer. How Matthew secured a role that was in high demand.

Meet Matthew Gotheridge, a network operations centre (NOC) engineer at Nowcomm, and a technology graduate from the University of Derby.

Each day, Matt handles incoming technical queries from big brands like: Sony Music, Morphy Richards, and ironically, the University of Derby. They contact him – and the other engineering experts within the Nowcomm NOC – when they need help and advice to overcome problems with their technology. For example, if they can’t make outbound calls on a particular line.

Matt and his colleagues are available for their customers 24/7, 365 days a year. And will often go over and above to rectify issues – knowing that without their help – their clients will struggle to do business. Whilst occasionally the work may involve a site visit, most of the time Matt works virtually.

He said: “It’s a highly pressurised environment. But what we deal with brings the team closer together, you can always get help, and I enjoy the variety of work I get to do.”

The hottest job in town

Matt arrived at Nowcomm as a mature student through a university placement. It was a four-year degree course studying Computer Networks and Security – with the third year spent working for Nowcomm.

When asked why he chose Nowcomm to get his industry experience, Matt said: “It was the job everyone on our course wanted! Primarily, because it was a company renowned for providing practical, hands-on training – allowing you to quickly get first-hand experience with real customer problems. Not many companies out there are willing to allow students to work on real-life networks.”

Matt’s 12-month placement involved accepting and logging technical ‘job tickets’ – but with the support of colleagues, he was rapidly able to solve problems for customers too.

Towards the end of his placement, Matt was handling the same responsibilities as a full time NOC engineer. And what’s more, he impressed Mark Lamont – Nowcomm’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) – so much, that he offered Matt a job upon completing his degree.

The highs and lows of tech life

Matt describes tech life as full of variety, with every day bringing new challenges. And whilst it can be stressful at times he enjoys the way his team come together to solve important issues for organisations that wholly depend on their IT infrastructure to do business. Even if this involves working outside of company hours.

He’s also grateful for the opportunity to secure professional qualifications so early on in his career – paid for by Nowcomm during his placement and when he started his full-time position with the company.

These include:

  • Cisco CCNA Routing and Switching
  • Cisco CCNA Collaboration
  • Cisco CCNA Security
  • Cisco Certified Webex Calling Administration Professional

Matt’s advice to people wanting a career in tech

  • Get amongst it all. A general grounding in technology is absolutely critical and will serve you well throughout your career. For example, whilst I now specialise in Voice over Internet Protocal technology (VOIP), I’ve often needed my knowledge of other areas – for example routing and switching ­– as they’re so interlinked. Also, a broad knowledge base makes you more useful to both employers and customers.
  • Be hands on. Make sure you get physical experience with equipment – not simply laboratory simulations. When you’re seeking out work experience, ask how much practical experience you’re likely to be able to get. It can make a whole lot of difference when you enter the tech world of work.
  • Ask for help. Be aware of your limitations and ask for help. There’s no such thing a stupid question. Technology changes all the time – but if you ask loads of questions, tap into those people with more experience than you, and seek out training and qualifications – you’ll stay one step ahead of the technology curve.

If you’re interested in hands-on practical experience, or a career in tech, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch, we might be able to help.

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