Q&A: Brendon Petsch, Gritit

We speak to the IT director - and Leader Board member - about the fact the only real constant when it comes to IT is change.

In IT we have a tendency to be completely immersed in tech and end up living in a cave with less time to get involved in other aspects of the business. Whilst I do enjoy what I do I would prefer to have more of a balance with involvement in more parts of the business, not just from an IT point of view.

What was your first IT job?

I started my own business doing design, layout and print from full colour magazines and newspapers to business cards. It was still in the early days of the digital era for the industry when desktop publishing first became available.

A professional curiosity goes a long way. I don't think technology would be close to where it is today without people asking, 'What if?'

I started with an Apple Mac LC2 with a massive 16 MHz processor and software called PageMaker and Photoshop. It was the start of a fast growing industry at the time with leaps in technology but, ironically, now 20 years on, it was further advances in technology that has now made this role almost redundant.

How has the world of IT changed since you first started in the sector?

Technology seems to be gathering pace and advancing faster by the year now. I remember as a child using the first tape driven Commodore 64K, where you had to find the right place on the tape to start, which usually took ages. Email, internet and social media were not even thought of on those days, yet now we cannot seem to function without a smart phone in our hand and a permanent connection to super-fast internet.

What do you think are the most important skills people wanting to enter the IT job market should have nowadays? 

A professional curiosity goes a long way. I don't think technology would be close to where it is today without people asking, 'What if?'

What advice would you give someone thinking of entering the IT jobs market/your younger self?

Don't ever rest on your laurels thinking you know everything there is to know about the industry, as the only constant in IT is change. You need to keep learning and expect/plan for change. If you don't keep up with the pace you risk being left behind.

What is the biggest challenge facing IT professionals at the moment?

Many organisations have an aversion to change seeing it as a cost and risk rather than a benefit. The challenge is for IT professionals to demonstrate the benefits and balance the risks to bring real value to the business through innovation.

What technologies/trends are you currently watching and why?

Whilst I think still in the early stages, 3D printing has the potential to be really disruptive. I can see a whole new industry developing around this with (hopefully) a printer in every home in the years to come.

Although 'cloud' has been around a while, people are only now beginning to see the benefits. I think, with improvements in bandwidth and storage capacity, ever-increasing locally stored data will soon be a thing of the past. We will have instant access to our data and software from anywhere and from any device.

Conversely, what current technology/trend are you not interested in and why?

The recent issues of data surveillance by various security branches has been blown out of proportion. I think a certain level of monitoring is positive, necessary, and for the greater good.

People have visions of their personal emails being read by someone sitting at a computer, when in reality this is clearly not the case. This is technology at its best, big data mining in action. We should embrace it and enjoy the benefits it brings in added security.

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