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Spotlight: Shaun Wilkinson - Hyperscale Administrator - Redstor Ltd



Tell us a fun fact about yourself.


I spent a good portion of my childhood travelling around Europe and lived in Bulgaria for several years. Also I develop an online game as a hobby project.


Tell us about your career journey so far.


I’ve always had an interest in technology, even as a kid in Primary School I was the go-to person when there were issues with our old iMacs. My form teacher in High School suggested that I get in touch with a local company called Sitekit about work experience, after two years of working there over the summer holidays I was offered a full-time job as a Technical Assistant. I spent just short of a decade with Sitekit, eventually working my way up to Lead System Administrator.

I was also privileged enough to complete my Graduate Apprenticeship during this time, achieving a Bachelors Degree with First Class Honours in Software Development with Aberdeen University, which was completed from my home on the remote Isle of Skye.

I’ve since moved on to working primarily with Microsoft Azure, spending my days working with a large variety of cloud-based technologies.

What was your favourite subject in school and why?


My favourite class was always Woodwork, I’ve always really enjoyed anything creative, something I can keep working towards a vision and at the end, I can sit down and think “I’ve made this”. I also found that Woodwork taught me to really plan ahead and try to visualise the end product, wood’s quite unforgiving of mistakes. It’s much simpler to plan ahead rather than to start over-again because of an unforeseen issue


What subjects/qualifications/skills are useful for your role?


The most important skill for my role is the ability to tackle new challenges and to be constantly willing to learn and adapt. A career in IT nowadays is not a static role that you can learn for the first year or two and then stop, it’s a constantly evolving area where you are expected to continually develop your skills and abilities and to seek out new certifications. For my role specifically, I would suggest the Microsoft Certifications, specifically the Azure Fundamentals Certification.


What is your favourite thing about your job?


My favourite part of my job is that every day is different, I’m constantly working on something new and exciting and yet I’m able to apply all of my existing knowledge to the problem at hand to reach a solution that works for everybody involved. One of my favourite projects so far was at a previous employer, where I was tasked with setting up all of the day-to-day infrastructure required for an entire new company that had formed, historically this would have taken many people many months but I was able to quickly roll out everything that was needed on my own thanks to cloud technologies.


What is a normal day in your role like?


Each day I check for any new potential issues such as new security vulnerabilities and ensure that we’re actioning anything that may apply to us, I also ensure that we’re following best practices which may be as minor as turning off developer resources when they’re not in use or could be me providing training to our staff. However, every day is different and exciting new issues and possibilities appear each day, which is what I love about my job.

I’m also lucky to have my opinion on multiple areas be valued, so I also often assist with other areas of the business such as improving our IT processes and providing guidance around the many Microsoft technologies we use.


And what does your job title mean?


I’ve often felt that ‘Hyperscale Administrator’ sounds as if I pilot a spaceship, but Hyperscale just refers to the ability for us to scale up and down so that our services can be the right size to service a few hundred users or potentially millions or users as required each day.

My Job title refers to the fact that I work with multiple cloud providers such as Microsoft, Google and Amazon to ensure that regardless of the scale of the issue, we’re able to handle it.


Can you suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work?


Often in IT, people are told to specialize in certain areas but I’m lucky enough to be a generalist, which means that any IT knowledge is beneficial. I always recommend that somebody who wants to get into an IT career should start by creating a very basic website using some HTML and CSS and continuing to make it more advanced as your skills progress. Initially, you might start with a single page and just try to make some nicely formatted text, you may then move up to hosting that site online somewhere, adding code to do things when you click a button etc. The important thing is to start on that journey of discovery and building up relevant skills such as programming, networking and problem-solving.

A brilliant resource for those wanting to make a start is W3Schools - W3Schools - Complete Beginners Getting Started With Web Development. Wherever you decide to start there are likely to be countless resources online to support you from start to finish.




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