Upskilling from Scratch | David Stewart

Name: David Stewart

Job role: Cloud & Infrastructure Solutions Engineer

Biggest passion: To learn more about how to design, deploy and migrate a cloud strategy for public cloud and hybrid cloud. I want to be able to help businesses; large or small, with their cloud strategies. I want to grow my knowledge to become a more renowned cloud architect.

What motivates you to do what you do?

I have been passionate about IT since I was a teenager. I am motivated by learning new subjects related to IT. As I develop myself to become more capable, the safer I feel in the skills I have and the places I could go to further progress my career. Technology is everywhere and it’s a good area to progress your knowledge as there are so many businesses that are looking for more IT-savvy individuals. I am further motivated by the future family I want to have, and I would like to have a more stable and secure foundation to begin this journey.

How do you start your mornings?

I normally begin my mornings by reading the news. Then, afterwards I’ll get ready for my day. I’ll normally feel well-rested (8 hrs of sleep) and I’ll have a balanced breakfast (carb/protein: e.g. scrambled eggs on toast) and drinking 2 glasses of water. I also take a health vitamin every morning.

What does a ‘typical’ day at work look like?

I use the first 15 minutes in the morning to look at my calendar and ensure that I have diarised everything I need for the day. Any spare time I consider to be “focus time” which allows me to focus on a particular task for 1.5 to 2 hours, such as a project task or more complex technical information in an email. Most of my typical workday will consist of customer calls/meetings and using our Service Desk to manage incoming tickets/requests.

Who do you lunch with?

I usually to lunch by myself because it gives me time to relax and de-stress. I should take longer lunch breaks than I do so I wouldn’t recommend my lunchtime routine! However, I almost always have a well-balanced lunch; protein (e.g. chicken or prawns) with salad and rice, pasta or quinoa for example.

When are you most productive?

I am usually most productive at 10am and I tend to use this time as my 1.5 – 2 hour focus time. When you’re trying to be productive, it’s best to take a moment and think about what you want to most achieve during this period, and set the time aside to do it. I used to have lots of things happening at once and this created productivity problems. I now balance my workload by effectively using time management tools such as the Microsoft To Do app, and using Outlook to block out time in my calendar.

What one thing do you try to do every day?

Distractions can be the biggest issue when it comes to being productive. I usually avoid distractions but when doing this, you may end up isolating yourself from your colleagues. So it’s best to create a balance between being social and focusing on your work and its tasks.

What is your talk about?

My talk will be about how I became a skilled cloud engineer from scratch. I started in the company as a customer service representative and have changed roles 6 times since joining the company 7 ½ years ago. I will be sharing some tips for technical progression based on my experiences.

What is the best resource for people who want to dive in deeper?

Microsoft Learn is a fantastic free resource for learning about Microsoft technologies and there are learning paths available for everyone whether you’re new to IT or not. Moreover, Udemy is also a great online learning platform, where you can pay for courses you’re interested in and the content is delivered by an subject matter expert.

What is the one app/website/blog/newsletter that you wish was your idea?

I wish that I had come up with Netflix. It uses technology to learn and adapt by using analytics from its users to build on the platform. It makes investments into the areas that are statistically the most appealing to its user-base. Netflix has upset the status quo and any innovative idea which does this ranks highly in my books!

What is the biggest challenge in the [field/topic/industry] at the moment?

I find that the technology industry is always changing and the biggest challenge is keeping up-to-date. Working for a company who uses the latest technologies and allows me to allocate a certain amount of my working hours to my technical development (training) allows me to continue to progress with my knowledge and achieve certifications.

Thanks for answering our questions so detailed! See you on the night, David!