E75 - Greg Williams at All Covered11 July, 2023
On today’s episode, our Head of Enterprise USA Harry Green was joined by Greg Williams, the Director of Service Delivery at All Covered. Greg has been in the industry for over 30 years now, with huge career progression along the way. During this episode, he talks to us about his experience from where it all started in his first job in tech as a sales guy to where he is today. He discusses the current skills gap in the industry and what steps aspiring Network Engineers and hiring managers should take to bridge that gap.
Taking it back to his younger days, Greg’s original career choice was in law enforcement and it’s what his undergraduate degree was in. He did a small stint there and then moved into the private industry, working in the collections business. One day, a friend knowing his love for computers, offered him a job selling tech. With a lack of sales experience, Greg declined his initial offer. A determined friend then offered him double the amount of salary he was on for him to leave his job and work for him the following week! So that is how he got his first job in tech as a sales guy. He learnt very critical skills during that time because you have to understand the tech to be able to sell it.
From that point forward, he progressed into a variety of roles and worked his way up into many senior positions. He then got a call from a friend who said they have this job going at All Covered and wanted him to come and take a look at it. It looked like a challenge, and he missed the world of IT, so he came back, and he’s been there ever since. He’s spent the last couple of years building up the technical teams and his current responsibility is the Service Delivery in Chicago.
Taking a look back at how much the industry has changed, Greg discusses the difference between a Junior Engineer back when he started vs. a Junior Engineer today. In the early 90s, it was like the wild west in the IT world, you didn’t need to know too much to be able to get into IT, and you would gain skills on the job. Today, that’s still true to some extent. Some people go the formal, degree/education route. But what he is seeing is that they’ll come out of it with a degree and a bunch of certs but just because they’re book smart, doesn’t necessarily mean they have the experience in the field that has value. When they hit the real world, it’s messier than what it says in the books, so they’re not prepared for some of the hurdles they face in the business they work for.
If you’re in an area where there is a skills gap, Greg suggests starting to think outside the box a little bit. One of Greg’s centralised teams is hiring fully remote people from other parts of the country where there is more talent available. Not every role requires a physical presence, if you’re able to take a job that you are struggling to fill and make it fully remote, your problem is solved.
Skills that are necessary to have in any Network Engineer are intellectual curiosity and a desire to continuously learn. If you have these traits, then this could be for you.
If you’re looking to get into the space, start by getting some basic education or certification training. Take classes in school if you’ve already figured out that’s what you want to do at that point as high schools and colleges have great programs. If you’re past that point and want to make the switch, there are boot camps out there for you to take. Start looking at the companies that are willing to invest in you and understand the first couple of years you’ll pay your dues. “If you want to accelerate your career you have to be willing to invest in yourself.”
Greg discusses what he thinks what the new working world will look like in the next few years and how he sees the pandemic being a catalyst for something that was already going to happen. Make sure you listen to the full episode now!