Gavin Steed, Senior Services Engineer/Security Consultant, Ericsson
Degree subject Bachelor of Computer Engineering, University of Limerick (2007)
Job title Senior Services Engineer/Security Consultant
Choosing a career
I was interested in computers and technology from a young age; aside from ‘professional GAA player’, I don’t think there was any other career I was interested in! I studied Computer Engineering in UL which was a very interesting and quite broad degree course. During this time I had the chance to spend 9 months working as an intern in a semiconductor company in Limerick, this time was invaluable to me in finding out what “the real world” was like and what skills I would need to make it in a technology company after graduation. I graduated in 2007 and after some time out I joined Ericsson in January 2008.
I think the first time I was sent away by myself on a project was a milestone. Having that autonomy and trust of your manager that you’re capable of working on your own successfully is a big step! Since then there have been a few, we have an internal certification system for engineers, so reaching the senior level this year has been another milestone!
In 2011 I was selected to be part of Ericsson’s Rapid High Potential group of young employees. This is a select group of employees who have shown the potential to become a top executive in the future. This has given me the opportunity to take on different internal initiatives and get a broader view of the opportunities available within Ericsson.
Key skills and job satisfaction
I think when you come into the working world straight after university you can bring a lot of enthusiasm and fresh thinking with you. I think this eventually rubbed off on some of my colleagues! Working in a multinational organisation and having to travel the world delivering projects for Ericsson, very early on you have to develop the ability to communicate effectively to your colleagues and your customers where you don’t necessarily have the same first language. This is one area I have worked hard on during my time with Ericsson, clear communication and effective presentation skills.
I was very lucky when I finished university; I graduated at the tail end of the tech boom in Ireland and secured a job on my first attempt with Ericsson. For the past number of years there has been a lack of opportunities for graduates in Ireland but I think that is starting to change again. What I would say to any prospective graduates is: find an internship, unpaid if necessary, to get some experience. If you can get your foot in the door with a good company and you work hard there’s a good chance they will keep you. If not, at least you have that experience to take somewhere else.
Try to get some technical certifications under your belt; companies love to see that you have some IT/Networking certs. It shows that you are really interested in the sector and have taken it upon yourself to get more technical knowledge. You also learn a lot of real world, applicable information.
I can see myself taking on a managerial role locally first. Then I’d like to spend a year or two working in another Ericsson unit abroad to gain more experience working in an international market. Eventually I’d like to come home, what position or capacity that will be in I don’t know yet! Ericsson as a global company is great for that, if you think there’s an opportunity to develop better in another role or country then we have the support structures in place to make that happen.