Employee Name: Blair Barwell
Role: Network and Communications Specialist
Tell us a little more about yourself
My Name is Blair Barwell, I was born Chelmsford, Essex and have lived in Essex ever since. Growing up I was into really into sports and music, at 17 I was playing football for a semi-professional team, DJ’ing and looking more towards a career in sports science. So, I didn’t predict that at 18, I would be working in a local secondary school as an IT Technician and developing a new love of . I have since worked in a number of Infrastructure and Network & Security Consultant roles before starting at GPS 5 months ago.
What’s your role at GPS?
I work within the infrastructure Team as a Network and Communications Specialist. In a nutshell, this involves maintaining our network connectivity and networking equipment at both the office and Data Centres such as switches and firewalls.
What does your average day look like?
As cliche as it sounds, no two days are the same. Some days could be assisting clients with VPN setups or troubleshooting potential issues, some days are at the Data Centre, others working on a number of the projects we currently have underway. I have recently been implementing new IPS features on our firewalls and re-designing our WAN connectivity. We are constantly looking at ways to improve our infrastructure network performance and resilience and we have some big projects underway in order to do so.
What do you like most about your job?
I really enjoy the people at GPS, the people make it a great place to come to work, everyone is friendly and there is a great GPS team. It would be unusual to come to the office and not hear people chatting all day long.
What did you want to do growing up?
Growing up, like most young boys, I wanted to be a footballer. When I realised it was unlikely, I dreamt of becoming an Astronaut. Then I found my true calling in IT!
What would be your advice to anyone wanting to start a career in the same job role and industry as you?
Perseverance is key, don’t give up when things don’t seem to make sense. Study the topics and relate them to real world scenarios. You should never be afraid to ask questions, even the most qualified and experienced do. Finally, join a study group. I’m a member of one called Routergods and it has really helped me with my progress.
When you’re not at GPS what do you get up to in your free time?
I’m a father of 2 so they take up most of my free time. I have a 1-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter; they are hard work but I love them to bits. Most my time away from work is spent with them and my wife. When I’m not at work or with the family, Things I enjoy going to the gym, playing or watching football or having a drink with friends.
I’m also studying for CCIE certification, so if I try to make time for studying too.
If you could be anyone who would it be and why?
That’s a difficult one. I’ve always focused on what I have got as opposed to what I haven’t, so i don’t think I would want to be anyone else. Maybe, I would just spend a day in the life of astronaut.