Richard Orrick, Cloud Engineer, on why he doesn’t like to take the easy road and how Perfect Image has been a big change-up in his career.
When I was sixteen, straight out of secondary school, I joined a joint programme between Microsoft and the Open University. I worked at Monkseaton High School as an IT Technician while I was working towards my A-levels and IT degree. The best thing was it was debt-free. Since then it’s given me the drive to work in IT and – because I started university at a younger age than most people – to always try and be ahead of the curve.
While working and studying at the school I became the Assistant Network Manager, and that was where I stayed until 2011. After there, I worked in two more schools, improving their infrastructure from the ground up. But when it felt like it was becoming too easy, that’s when I looked elsewhere for a new challenge and found Perfect Image.
Establishing a Place in the Team
I always want to push myself, and that comes from my Open University experience, where I was doing things ahead of everyone else. I started at Perfect Image in 2017 as an Infrastructure Engineer, working with on-premise infrastructures and networks. Everyone gets jitters the first couple of weeks, but I settled in and managed to shine.
It’s been an interesting journey because I came from a very different background, with all my previous jobs being in the Education sector. However, I’m motivated by gaining new skills and not getting too comfortable doing the same thing day in, day out. That’s what I like about working here, I’m doing something new every day. I’ve tried to have a positive impact on everyone here and I help out whether it’s for my team or not because I know I’ll depend on them as well.
It was a big challenge for me to come into a more commercial environment on the other side of the fence. I could have stayed at Kings and been paid an alright amount to sit and reset passwords for the next thirty years but it’s not what I wanted to do. I don’t like taking the easy road – it’s a bit boring isn’t it?
Finding a Work/Life Balance
I love computing and learning more about tech, but I’m not one for staying in all of the time on my computer; I like to get out and have a life outside of IT too. I go to gigs, hang out with my friends. I like rock music and music festivals. Another thing I do outside of work is my motorbiking. I do trips away on my bike and every year I go for a long ride away with a motorbike owner’s club.
That said, my technical knowledge has gotten a lot better since I’ve worked here, and I think it’s fair to say it wasn’t poor at the start. I recently pushed myself again, this time to achieve the Advanced Networking Speciality for AWS – no one else in the company has it, and it’s quite a tough certification to get. I was quite proud of myself for that.
Learning About the Power of the Cloud
Cloud isn’t something I thought I’d be able to get into, but with Perfect Image’s support and trust in me, I’ve found I can. Since starting as an Infrastructure Engineer, I gained a lot of AWS and cloud skills, which lead to a move into my newer position as Cloud Engineer. Cloud technologies are something I didn’t get to experience previously because in Education they have tight budgets and historically have preferred on-premise devices. I wasn’t fully aware of it or what it can do but coming to Perfect Image and studying it I’ve learned how powerful it can be.
As I’ve seen first-hand, having on-premise solutions can be restrictive, as you can only build to the constraints or spec of the hardware you have. If you buy a load of hardware and it’s under-spec or over-spec, you can’t claw back those costs. In comparison, the cloud offers unlimited scalability, and it’s flexible and cost-effective because you can granularly fine-tune the requirements of every machine or instance.
I do see AI becoming even more popular with cloud technologies. For example, you could integrate AI with Splunk (a network security tool) and it will monitor your environment by learning patterns and what should and shouldn’t be there. Because AI is the big thing, the cloud providers are all chomping at each other’s heels for dominance in that area. The possibilities for it are endless and I think that would be a really cool area to get into.
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The Future: Striving to Achieve Even More
There aren’t ever two days where I’m doing the same thing. I’m given the opportunity to work with a wide range of exciting technologies. Perfect Image pushes me to better myself, learn new things, achieve the next certification and overcome new challenges. That’s something I felt in my other jobs – they weren’t necessarily restrictive, but the variation is so better here. If I’d stayed in education, I’d have gotten stuck and I wouldn’t have been happy. It’s been a really interesting move and one I’m glad I did take. The development I’ve gained has been the greatest thing about working at Perfect Image.
About Richard Orrick, Cloud Engineer
Richard has worked in various schools since 2004 on their IT and networking, working his way up to become a Network Manager before joining Perfect Image in 2017 as an Infrastructure Engineer. He has since been promoted Cloud Engineer in 2018 to work within a team of experienced engineers that provide services to architect, design and implement a wide range of solutions that range from on-premise to cloud infrastructures and systems.
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