From Apprentice to Consultant: Darren's story

OS X and iOS technical recruitmentHi all. This is another slightly different blog to my usual. I’ve been asked to write ‘My Amsys Story’ on where it all began. After being threatened to have that story cut very short and with immediate effect (just kidding!) I thought I’d better get to it!

The Disclaimer:
While the author has taken care to provide our readers with accurate information, please understand that this is all from memory and I cannot guarantee its accuracy 100%.

After spending 7 years learning (and procrastinating) at the John Fisher School in Purley, I got to the end of my Sixth Form College courses. Having obtained some reasonably respectful grades in such helpful subjects as DT (Design and Technology), Biology and General Studies I was ready to do what I wanted [/Sarcasm].

I’d taken a look at University and decided that the advantages for myself were outweighed by the disadvantages. That and I’d had enough of the school system! So my next stop was scanning through my local papers.

I’d always had an interest in how things worked, hence my choice in Design Technology and Biology at school. I’d like to think Engineering was a natural path for me. I also had an interest in computers and again, how they worked. Finding the little advert for an Apple Mac Hardware Trainee / apprentice seemed like an ideal role for me.

After getting ‘the call back’ from Amsys I was invited to join their new Apprentice program (keep in mind that this was circa 2005) and I started my first day of my first (proper) job with no small amount of apprehension.

I spent the next 12 months learning, diagnosing Hardware faults, learning, updating customers, learning, fitting parts, learning, and receiving the occasional (small) electric shock. Oh and learning! There was always so much to learn. How different faults were typically caused by certain components; how each component actually worked, together and alone, to provide a fully functional computer. Even how one microscopic imperfection in the manufacturing process can cause an issue to manifest years down the line.

At the end of these first 12 months, I found myself ready to become officially certified. I took my Desktop and Portable exams (later to be combined into the current ACMT – Apple Certified Hardware Technician), so happy that I passed and would now become a senior engineer working at Amsys. With this advance came further responsibility. I was allocated a trainee of my own and found myself the recipient of more nervous junior engineers with strange Hardware issues then ever before.

Over the next 12-24 months I furthered my knowledge in Mac Hardware as well as acquiring an education in Mac software. I took (and passed!) my Support Essentials and Server Essentials to become an Apple Certified Technical Coordinator. I worked my way through the workshop becoming a Workshop Supervisor/Manager after my previous Manager, John Greenash, left for pastures new.

After 4 years in the workshop, with the last 1-2 as a Workshop Manager, I started to get itchy feet. I was after the next step, the next challenge. At the time, the only ‘next step’ was to become a trainer. After some personal evaluation I decided that this was not a role I felt I could fulfill. Luckily, after some expansion and merges, Amsys started up its Support and Helpdesk department, therefore offering a second path.

Over the next 18-24 months I worked as both first and second line desk-side support, and first to third onsite support, traveling over London, the UK and Europe assisting with customer’s sites and roadshow events and gaining a large and varied experience with all things computing. I also gained the top Apple Certification, the Apple Certified Systems Administrator, the ACSA (no longer available, unfortunately).

Finally, circa 2010/2011, Amsys started a large expansion into Consultancy and I was transferred to assist in that expansion. Since then I’ve been all over the UK, especially London, developing and implementing solutions, whilst still looking for more things to learn and customers to assist.

Summary

I started out on the Amsys Apprenticeship scheme almost 8 years ago. To be honest, it feels like I’m still learning and progressing!