E140 - Brendan Battersby at BCI14 November, 2023
In the latest instalment of The Route to Networking podcast, our host Kieran Waite is joined by a special guest, Brendan Battersby, who serves as a Network Engineer at BCI. In this episode, Brendan takes us on a journey through his experiences in the field of networking, shedding light on the various roles he has undertaken throughout his career. He also talks about his methods for staying updated with the most recent trends in this industry.
Life is filled with uncertainty, especially when stepping out of high school. The wide range of career opportunities and pathways can be overwhelming. Brendan wasn't immune to this feeling. From his home town in Kelowna, he discovered a course at Okanagan College named "Network and Telecom Engineering." Intrigued by the course, he consulted with an academic advisor who steered him toward it. With his interest in computers from a young age, it felt like the most natural progression. The course provided him with a broad foundation of knowledge, giving him the tools necessary to venture into networking as a career.
The power of work experience…
One big step in his early career was the opportunity to participate in a co-op program during his time at school. He initially found himself in a role focused on desktop support. This hands-on experience was helpful as it allowed him to apply what he had learned in a real-world setting. His advice for newcomers in the IT field is when starting out in desktop support, make it a point to engage with the networking experts as much as possible. Hands-on experience is the most effective way to bridge the gap between theory and practice.
Upon completing his co-op programs, he graduated and investigated the world of job hunting. He secured a position as a junior network admin, where he continued to develop his skills. Throughout two and a half years, he found he was looking for something new. He made a career change, transitioning to a role at KalTire as a senior network engineer. He very recently moved to BCI, serving as a network engineer specialising in contracting work.
Navigating a career in networking often comes with its share of challenges. While he might consider himself fortunate to have avoided big hurdles when he first started, he did encounter some unique challenges that tested him. One of the challenges he faced early in his career was the chaotic nature of his first job. While it might not have been a big roadblock, it was definitely an adjustment period. The high-stress environment of being on call and the responsibility of potentially causing a network outage can be a scary prospect for any network engineer, especially someone who is just starting out.
Staying on top of trends
In the world of networking, staying on top of the latest trends and technologies is important. Brendan’s approach to keeping above it all is refreshingly pragmatic. For him, there isn't a specific resource or a single method that he relies on to stay updated. Instead, his strategy is to pay close attention to what companies are looking for in network engineers. By keeping an ear to the ground and noting what’s in demand, he can tailor his learning to align with market needs.
Brendan’s advice to newcomers in the field is to gain practical experience in the IT industry as soon as possible. Whether through internships, co-op programs, or entry-level positions, hands-on experience is a crucial foundation. It allows you to apply your theoretical knowledge in real-world settings.
Tune in on the 14/11/2023 to hear the full episode!