William Collins- Episode 148

William  Collins

By William Collins

On this episode of The Route to Networking Podcast, our host Josh Snook chats with William Collins, Principal Cloud Architect at Akira and host of The Cloud Gambit podcast. Join them as they explore William's journey from childhood experimentation with technology to his current role at the forefront of cloud architecture.

William’s interest in technology goes back to his childhood, when a friend gave him a stack of floppy disks on how to install Slackware Linux. After a serious back surgery left him immobile, he used his free time to experiment on a spare computer playing around with different functions and honing his skills. 

From there, the opportunities lined up. Because his high school had an adjoining vocational school, William was able to take the Cisco Certified Networking Academy program, acquiring his CCNA certification just after graduating high school. He also utilised his school’s work experience initiative securing himself an internship at a local ISP where he got to build his skillset and expertise at a young age. 


Fast forward to the present day and William is the Principal Cloud Architect at Alkira, a start-up founded in 2018 that provides a network cloud platform. As a key part of a small start-up, his day-to-day can be varied and ever-changing. A welcome change from the bureaucratic confines of larger organisations he had experienced previously. He wears many hats at Alkira, focusing on automation but also providing technical backup to the sales team, and speaking at industry events. 

Memorable moments

“I’m just as excited today, as I was when I started…and I’m going on three years here”.

Reflecting on his memorable moments so far, William shares how throughout his career he has made several pivots that have revitalised his motivation for his work. Initially, he switched from enterprises to healthcare and noted how different the two environments are. When there are real people attached to the end of the network, it creates a very different type of urgency. 

The second pivot William made in his career was from working in a large, established organisation to working in a smaller, newer, start-up company. He uses the analogy of steering a yacht down a river to describe the difference between the two organizations.

He says that turning a larger and older organisation around is like trying to turn a yacht around - it requires a lot of planning and coordination from many different teams. In contrast, working in a start-up is more like steering a kayak - it is nimbler and can be turned around much more quickly.

Looking back

In hindsight, William recognises that he could have taken things a bit slower. Driven to keep up with the latest skills and technologies, he kept himself busy reading and learning. At times he felt as though he couldn’t keep up and worried about being left behind for not having the most relevant experience. Upon reflection, William has recognised how consistent efforts over time have yielded the results he was looking for and if he could go back, he would encourage himself to slow down. 

What’s coming next?

William is now actively seeking to expand his knowledge on the business side, particularly in areas like finance and business strategy. Now that he has amassed an impressive technical skillset, he is keen to gather a deeper understanding of the non-technical side of the business, which he has already began at Alkira by helping out the marketing department and product teams. 

Listen to the full episode, out now.