E40 - Patrick Sumby at Sohonet

James Dean
Patrick Sumby

By James Dean & Patrick Sumby

On our 40th episode of The Route to Networking, our Director and Host, James Dean sat down with Patrick Sumby, the VP of Global Engineering at Sohonet. During the episode, they discuss his time at university and how that prepped him for his career, they touch a little more on what he does at Sohonet, and he gives his best golden nugget of advice for any young Engineers looking to get into the industry.

When Patrick was young, he was always the kid that was massively into computers. He was part of the geeky group, and they would go around each other’s houses, bring their computers, hook them up to a LAN (Local Area Network) and play games. He wasn’t too great at the gaming part, but he enjoyed the Networking side of it, which is ultimately where his passion started.

During school he followed more of a scientific route and chose to go into science technology and maths, in college he chose Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology and his passion followed him to university where he did a Computer Science degree.

During his Computer Science degree, he learned a lot about programming, how computers work and what was going on under the hood but for him personally, he focused a lot on the Networking side of it. University taught him a lot about the facts and ways of thinking. There was a lot of theory but the bits that he didn’t get from that were working skills like organising a meeting, interacting with colleagues and all the things you need to go into the working world.

His first techy job out of university was actually at Sohonet where he is today and has been there for over 15 years now. The team was made up of 12 heads back then and now they’re close to 150 so has grown exponentially.

Now at Sohonet, they provide asset services for the entertainment and media industry. On top of that, they layer various other platform services such as collaboration and cloud storage connectivity into cloud providers, file transfer services, VOIP, everything networking relaters and the layers above. They’ve been involved with pretty much every film that’s been out recently and have worked with all the major film studios.

A man in his position and a loyal member of staff at Sohonet, there will have been a lot of accomplishments during his career. The sky is the limit though, right? He hopes there are bigger accomplishments to come but with Networking, you the people in the wings make sure everything works behind the scenes. Some of the biggest accomplishments are the ones where people haven’t noticed they don’t anything and that’s the highest accolade. The main accomplishments are the ones where he carries out the work and nobody complains.

With accomplishments, there come challenges…

There are always a lot of things to juggle in any technical role. But since moving into management, there’s always been that balance of technology, time and money and he’s constantly trying to remove a bottleneck that usually comes under one of those 3 things. Whether that’s trying to upgrade something, getting the money to upgrade something, or finding the people to do the upgrades. The key to tackling those is learning how to multi-task.

Something he wasn’t taught at university but is a great problem-solving skill is how to abstract problems. Looking at something from a high level and not understanding all the intricate detail but understanding the big blocks, stepping back, and looking at the problem as a whole helps focus on where the issue is and where the spend your time.

Patrick gives out multiple pieces of advice for any young Engineer looking to get kickstarted in the industry. Make sure you tune in now to hear some great tips!