5 Minutes with…David Skingsley, Chief Architect at iTrinegy
What was your first job in IT?
I started out in British Telecom’s Research and Development department. They needed a system to help manage the transition of systems and processes and my job was to program various modules.
How did you first get involved with Network Emulation & Profiling?
Among the many things BT was doing at the time was a project to look at the quality of VoIP systems, to see if they could be a viable alternative to fixed lines. The problem they had was how to replicate the network conditions in order to perform the tests. This ended up on my desk, and that’s what got me thinking about the potential for helping all kinds of businesses understand the impact of networks on their applications.
What do you find most satisfying about what you do?
When customers recognize the value from testing their products and systems more effectively because of our Network Emulation and Profiling technology. I also get great satisfaction when I assist customers personally on implementing very complex virtual test network environments.
What have you learned about the IT industry after 20 years?
I've learned many things but the three that stand out are:
1. Things never,ever, ever stand still. If you're not prepared to keep up to date with what's new you'll very quickly be left behind.
2. There are few truly new technologies. Most are small evolutions and many are merely amalgamations of several existing technologies put together in a more innovative way.
3. Test now or pay later (unfortunately, most people learn this the hard way, sometimes again and again!).
What advice would you give to a young programmer looking for a job in IT?
Don't be too picky about the kind of programming you want to do. Its better to get the experience as, more often than not, it’s not until you start a job that you really find out what kind of programming you like.
It’s not just a matter of deciding which programming languages you want to focus on. You also need to consider whether you want to find a niche in gaming, GUIs, databases, server software, web, finance, simulations, control systems etc. If you find the job doesn’t suit, you can always move on, once you have given it a go.
Give us a couple of predictions for 2016.
2016 is going to be another evolutionary year. But there’s always a couple of things that will prick the public’s consciousness. This year I think it’ll be:
• Some degree of self-driving cars will finally be allowed on our roads (albeit in a limited capacity) with retail models announced from most of the major manufacturers.
• Physicists will finally figure out why the universe is expanding ever faster, and figure out where all the missing energy has gone. (It’s not down the back of my sofa – I already checked).