What was your first job, and how did you get into IT?
My first job was at Shell UK, managing a petrol station and store. I didn't get into IT until after music college in 1998. I went into the IT security side of things almost by accident, through the software antivirus I was using for the music I was doing as a sideline. But it was only when I started at Eset that I actually felt I was really working in IT.
If you had to choose one leisure activity, would you choose an art or a sport?
Art, definitely. I'm a musician and music is my life. I'm a classically trained percussionist, and I have my own recording studio at home. I've always worked full-time as well, as it's so important to have something to fall back on.
Where would you like to go or what would you like to do on your next holiday?
Ireland. It's really beautiful and we've got family over there. I also miss proper Guinness; it tastes much better there.
Will there always be value in printed books and magazines?
Yes. People still like to have a book or a magazine in their hands. Men like the Saturday newspaper for the sport; it's not the same reading from a tablet where you get a stiff neck from holding it for too long.
Is there a future in the long-term for IT distribution?
I think there is, but only for the bigger distributors.
What are your three greatest accomplishments (so far)?
One: Marrying my wife. No one else would have me and she's gorgeous.
Two: My daughter. I don't need to explain that one, do I?
Three: My career. I'm proud of how much I've achieved in such a short time. I've only been in IT for two years and I'm already running a sales arm.
What is the best way to get UK plc growing again?
In the UK we really need to spend money and grow. For this to happen, people need to have money. I think the problem is that people and businesses are in debt, and no one can get credit. Now everyone's life is decided by computer, and many are still being punished for old mistakes.
If you were king or queen, what would you do first?
I would go down to the palace vault and get out a really expensive bottle of wine -- something vintage and worth about £20m they thought would never be opened. Then I'd drink that with some cheese while sitting on my throne.
What is more important: loyalty or morality?
Loyalty: if you haven't got loyalty you've got nothing.
What are the traits of a perfect boss?
Someone who trusts you and brings new ideas to the table. I think it's important for a boss to let you get on with your job and not micromanage.
Are IT skills shortages best filled by on-the-job training or formal education (such as at a university)?
I think there are pros and cons to both and it really does depend on the job in question. A lot of good techies don't have any qualifications as such; they teach themselves and learn on the job. But I do think that higher education should still put more emphasis on all IT-related subjects, such as IT engineering or IT marketing, to make it more attractive.
If you could have your time again, what would be your next choice of career?
I would join the Army. That way, I could still focus on my many interests. There's just so much choice: from music to engineering, communications, and of course I could still indulge my techie side.
Kevin Percy is UK business development manager at DESlock
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