As a Senior Support Engineer for Ideal, Paul is familiar with overcoming challenges by finding workable solutions.
In this interview, Paul shares his experience at Ideal and his career journey so far. A driven and motivated individual, Paul offers encouragement to those hoping for a career in networks, communication and security.
Tell us a bit about yourself: what is your current role and what does your day-to-day look like?
My current role at Ideal is Service Support Engineer. It’s a really dynamic role, so you never really know what work is going to come in and what your day is going to look like. On a day-to-day basis I deal with a wide variety of things, it can range from assisting with support tickets, to project work, creating internal documentation, team meetings, knowledge transfers and pro-active client facing work.
What is your specialism?
I am specialising in networks, security, and data centre technologies. The team try to stick together, but sometimes you have to pick up things that are not your speciality. This all stems from the nature of work in support where you try to be useful as possible, assist your colleagues and upskill yourself at the same time.
I look at it as a good opportunity to learn, so I will take on most things that come in. If I don’t know how to resolve a problem, there is always a lot of research that can be done, and I can always draw on resources from the company. Having worked at Ideal for several years now, I know that it is always easy to get help if need it.
How has your role changed and developed since you have been with us?
I started off as a Service Centre Engineer and part of the 24/7 team. This role was great as during the night shift when the work died down you could dedicate some time to study and utilise Ideal resources to progress in your role. A little over a year later I was promoted to a 2nd line role which involved more customer facing work and gave me the great opportunity to be mentored by more senior colleagues, which in turn laid great foundation for my current role as a 3rd Line support engineer. This role requires more in-depth knowledge of the fields I specialise in and more responsibility in sharing my knowledge with my colleagues.
I have achieved a lot of certifications through Ideal because I got to study and learn things relevant to my work and then implement it practically during my shifts. Applying the knowledge is what really counts. It’s about developing the muscle memory to do things. If you don’t use that knowledge every day, it’s going to disappear. So, having that practical exposure while I was studying was good and helped me a lot.
How would you say Ideal has helped your learning?
Ideal has helped my learning in many ways. To name a few - Ideal subscribes to excellent training websites that cover all the technologies we specialise in. We also have the resources to create our own labs and test things out without impacting our clients infrastructures.
In addition to this, there is always your line manager. If you see something that you could improve on and if there is a course that is relevant to Ideal’s direction and technologies, they will always encourage you to pursue that knowledge.
Are Ideal good at backing you if there is an opportunity you want to go for?
Yes. At Ideal, we create plans for personal development. Your manager will ask what direction you want to go in and they will help you achieve your goals. This, couple with all the reources at Ideal's disposal gives you all the tools you need.
What has your journey been like since joining Ideal?
Its been an amazing one. The people at Ideal are great, very friendly and always happy to help. This, in my opinion, is what makes Ideal special. You are cared for, mentored, and supported throughout your whole career. The company has a great culture where we all collaborate, work and have fun.
What attracted you to Ideal?
There were quite a few reasons. Ideal looked like a great company to work for as it stood out from the rest - professional but not corporate, where people come first.
It was also the variety of the role and the technologies that drew me to Ideal. The job is very dynamic. Currently, I am the lead engineer for a military company, for a finance company, and for one of the tallest buildings in London.
There was (and still is) so much to learn. You are constantly exposed to new challenges. It can be a steep learning curve, but it is definitely worth it.
Why is Ideal a good place to work and what kind of person would thrive here?
It is a good place to work for many reasons – the people, the culture, the company structure, everything is there to set you up for success. If you are flexible and able to learn things quickly and upskill on the job then you will thrive here. Another great quality would be dedication as it sometimes takes a lot of time and effort to resolve issues that come in to support.
What would you want to tell someone coming into the team about their learning and development at Ideal?
I think it is important to give an example of someone who has gone before them and succeeded. Having a good example to follow lets them know that with hard work you can progress.
It is also important to highlight the resources, training, and support we have at Ideal. Everybody really cares, especially from a management perspective. I have always had great support from my managers. They always look after our team, even checking in outside of work hours to see how we are. It is crazy how much they care.
What would be your advice to someone looking to become a Senior Support Engineer?
Study hard and stay curious. Keep improving, read about the technologies we support and you specialise in. Get involved in projects and any work that comes in that you think you could help improve yourself or others.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
For me Ideal is not just a work place. It has become a big part of my life as the people who used to be my colleagues are now my friends with whom I socialise, spend time and have fun. This integration is what makes we want to stay at Ideal and do my best at work.