E70 - Sam Defriez at YouFibre10 July, 2023
Our Managing Network Consultant, Billy Holloway was joined by Sam Defriez, the Director of Networks at Youfibre on our 70th episode. Over the years, Sam has completed many certifications, from CCNA to CCIE and a lot more, which he goes into more detail about during the episode. He talks us through his experience and helps us understand at what stage in your career you should consider completing what certification.
His passion for the Networking space did not actually start until he was 21. During school, like many, Sam did not have a clue what he wanted to do when he left. Finding his strengths in History at school, decided to do a degree in History. The degree didn’t give him a clear direction of where he wanted to go. So, while he was figuring it all out, he got a job at BT as a Customer Support Engineer solely just to pay the bills. He surprised himself and found he was actually really good at solving broadband issues and troubleshooting. This was the point that really got him thinking about a career in Networking and his curiosity about how things work kept him down that path. For most of his career up until now, it has been a case of big slices of luck and has taken the opportunities when they were presented to him.
With many certifications under his belt, they have helped him immensely. It gave him a path to learn Networking with intense studying and exams, it was a route that worked for him. They gave him a syllabus to study, what books to read and deadlines to meet which ultimately kept him focused throughout the entire studying process. If you’re the sort of person who enjoys studying and likes to follow a syllabus, read books, and do the labbing as a form of learning, then do it! It was a great achievement and the feeling of receiving that email in the middle of the night was an unmatched feeling. On the other side, he has seen many people who haven’t done certifications but had loads of relevant work experience which is just as good, and they’ve turned out to be very successful Network Engineers.
Youfibre aims to become one of the leading residential broadband services in the UK. They have loads of flexibility around where they offer their services as they are not tied to their own access network.
Some of the biggest challenges he is facing at Youfibre currently is resourcing. So, getting people that can build out a nationwide network. The way they are tackling that is they keep the team very lean. They use a lot of Automation to keep the recruitment challenge in hand. Another challenge they are facing is scaling the network, so actually getting the equipment, and getting the connectivity between sites that’s a high enough bandwidth to cope with the very fast speeds of their network providers. The ways they are tackling this is to find the right box to put in the right place that is cost-effective on day 1 and can deal with a small network but can also grow and uptake the network.
His favourite piece of technology that he has got his eye on at the moment is FTTH (Fibre-to-the-Home). Youfibre were actually heavily involved in rolling it out and it was a great experience for Sam and seeing it boom. The difference it makes to your experience in the home will enable some great products for thousands of homes across the UK.
The best piece of advice he’s ever been given… “You know you’re getting the right price when the salesman stops smiling and joking with you”.
Sam gives his best piece of career advice to anyone who’s considering starting out in the Networking space. Give the full episode a listen now to hear what he had to say!