Congratulations to Justin Paton on his promotion to Head of IT.
We spoke to Justin about his Venn Group career.
A career in problem-solving
I joined Venn Group in January 2018 to assist with some IT projects. I was initially here for 3 months, but I was offered several extensions and eventually a permanent position. I’ve really valued the people I work with; Paul and Keith have been very helpful over the years and have mentored me through to the Senior Manager position I’m now in.
I’ve always been interested in technology. When I was a little kid in South Africa, I used to take things apart to figure out how they worked. That turned into helping to fix computers both for my family and at school, and it naturally led into finding a career in IT. The motivation for my work is naturally there because it’s something that makes me happy. Figuring out a problem and then solving it is like a euphoric moment. I’ve never had a dull day, and even the bad days have been a good learning curve.
Those pursuing a career in IT need to be eager to learn and have a passion for technology, as well as being good with numbers and data. I did motor mechanics and technical drawing in school. Motor mechanics was really helpful because if you had a broken engine you had to figure out where it went wrong; get the engine out, clean the pistons, and find the problem. Having that frame of mind is how you would think through an issue in IT; reverse engineer it to get back to the source of the problem.
I know a few people who have worked in IT and gone on to build their own tech businesses, and they’re all been fairly successful. I have a lot of respect for that, and it’s something I would like to do later on in life.
Leaps in technology
The advancement of broadband has been the biggest shift in technology I’ve seen. Only twenty years ago we were still on dial-up, so going from 512k to gigabytes of bandwidth to connect to the internet is amazing and it’s how people are able to now stream media and work from internet browsers. While computers get faster every year and the technology gets a bit better, they’re fundamentally the same; however, without the broadband in place you wouldn’t be able to do your job.
Looking to the future, Facebook’s Metaverse and NVIDIA’s Omniverse are likely to be the next biggest leaps. Even now, people are getting more into VR headsets, and this is likely to lead into something similar to the movie Player One where everyone goes online to experience things in a virtual world.
Within Venn Group, we’re completing the infrastructure move to Cloud. That will change the way our operations work, because we’ll no longer need to be reliant on the on-premise infrastructure for things like accessing documents and interacting with the intranet. There’s also a whole load of other projects like getting rid of our disaster recovery site and reducing our on-premise footprint. So there are another six months’ worth of projects still to complete in the back end – never a dull day, which is why I love it!
We also heard from Justin's management team who have supported him throughout his career.
'I am delighted to see Justin promoted to Head of IT. Justin is extremely knowledgeable and has been instrumental in driving the IT strategy for Venn Group. It has been a pleasure to work with Justin and see him build a strong, service-focused IT team. Congratulations Justin, a fantastic achievement.'
Paul Hayward, Associate Director