…I’ve been interested in computer hardware and software since i was 8 years old – well, electronics in general really. I got hooked on computers after my IT teacher let me have their collection of Intertec Superbrain QD microcomputers
that ran the CP/M operating system. These where on display, just gathering dust in the ICT suite that had a state of the art BBC micro network. The BBC’s where dull as dishwater as all we did was spreadsheets and word processing – the Superbrains where far more interesting – machine language, floppy disks and a built in 12″ mono display. you could take them to bits and ‘see’ them work! I took 5 of them home much to my mums dismay – and made 2 working ones out of them. From then on, I would be given or ‘find’ (local tip, boot sales etc) any old computer hardware and spend ages loading DOS 3.1 or windows for workgroups, trying to squeeze the best from limited hardware. Oh yes, was I a geek!
Later came real IBM compatible PC’s with hard drives and decent amounts of memory and then the Internet! In every job I’ve ever had in whatever capacity, i would always end up fixing computers in the office. Finally in 2002, i decided to leave my Environmental Biology lab job with Severn Trent Water in Runcorn and take the plunge into a 7 week crash course in computer repair, network administration and server administration with a company called JBC Computers in Coventry. The course cost a ridiculous £7000 but came with a job guarantee – I quickly got a job at Walshaw High School for girls and that is how in 2002, I ended up moving from my parents house in Cheshire – to sunny Burnley!
I started my new job as Network Manager/Technician at Walshaw High in a dual role that was really the work of two or three people. I provided IT lesson support for staff and students – changing account passwords, helping with logon and numerous software issues, troubleshooting and repairing desktop PC’s, Laptops and Server equipment of a wide range of makes, models and ages. The Network Manager duties where more challenging and therefore more interesting. I designed and built the schools first Server 2000 domain, with Active Directory, DHCP, DNS, Remote Installation Services and everything else required to manage the security and integrity of a 300 computer, 1200 user Windows XP network.
A bit Later, we upgraded the Server hardware to a couple of Dell Poweredge 1800 servers and rebuilt the domain on Microsoft Windows Server 2003. By this time I had rebuilt all 5 of the schools IT suites with new desktop computers which meant me physically unboxing 31 PC’s, 31 Flatscreen Monitors (per room) keyboards etc, connecting them all together and to power, network etc and using Remote Installation Services to deploy windows XP and most of the site software (I used Group Policies in Active Directory too) to all and any machine I may need to. Many of the new machines by now where coming with Windows Vista installed – a major change from XP, more experience and more interesting to work on.
Later still, Walshaw High School went through the BSF (Building Schools for the Future) process, lots of boys appeared from nearby Bardon High School for Boys – and Chaos reigned for the next 2 years in what used to be a girls school. Suddenly the school was busier, more cramped and the physical network was under much more strain with increased use so I upgraded all the network switches to Gigabit Managed Switches, upgraded the memory on most of the desktop PC’s and finally, the school saw sense and hired a second technician to work with me.
By September 2009, the new school building was complete, I had discovered that there would be NO Network Manager position in the new school as all the IT systems where to be managed by the Large Corporation that built all of the BSF schools in the area – my days where numbered! My job was theoretically protected by TUPE – but downgraded from network manger to technician. The school had no involvement and by now, zero control over their IT systems. The new company didn’t however want to keep paying me the £25000 a year i was earning as network manger previously but as the TUPE process protected my pay for two years, life was made difficult…
Suffice to say, I left before i was forced out. Time for another plunge in to the unknown, I left with 4 months pay and registered myself with HMRC as a self employed computer repair/ IT support company and I’ve been doing that to this day.
In Short, I have 8 years experience as an IT technician and Network Manager in a highly stressful environment, I have experience repairing a multitude of different laptop and desktop computers. I have experience working on small Business sized Server Tower hardware as well as Rack mount Data Centre sized server equipment. I am highly competent with Server 2000, 2003 2008 and Server 2012 and have built domain environments for other schools and a well known international charity based in Bolton.