From catering to computers

by Frederick Wood - SAP consultant
| minute read

As proved many times before already, you don’t necessarily need a degree in computer science to work in IT. And what’s more, you don’t necessarily need prior work experience in IT either, as the example of Frederick Wood shows.

You’re currently working as a system administrator in the SAP security team that has been putting together. What did you do before this?

“Actually, before I joined Sopra Steria in September of last year, I was managing a food catering business. (laughs) You should know, though, that I’ve also studied computer science for a couple of years. And to be honest, I’ve always been somewhat of a computer geek. In the best sense of the word, mind you. Back when I was in catering, for instance, I used to install, configure and manage my own mail servers. And trust me, this may sound simple, yet it's anything but!”

What made you decide to turn that particular hobby of yours into a full-time job?

“Basically, I was asked to join the SAP security team by Gilles Doyen. I knew Gilles from the time we’d spent together at university, where we became really good friends. We naturally kept in touch all those years, you might say. And from talking to him as well as some other friends and even a relative who’ve been working here, I knew what a great place to work Sopra Steria is. Add to that, as you’ve already suggested, the opportunity to earn a living, build a career even, out of what I love doing anyhow and the decision to apply was quickly made.”

How did the application process go?

“Gilles needed someone for his team who’s not necessarily a security expert, but who’s really good at working with operating systems and not afraid to deal with the computer network and go into the system parameters. Giles knew I fit that system administrator profile perfectly, even though I do not have the paper diploma to prove it, as I didn’t finish my degree at the time but started working instead. Recruiting me obviously made sense to him, so he vouched for me and I was mainly hired at his recommendation. I still had to do a full month of training on PC-specific issues first, though. So in a sense, I was tested in advance.”

Now that you mention training: do you feel you have enough support here when it comes to that? After all, professionally speaking, this is a new world for you. And it’s been a while since your studies.

“I do feel I get enough support here. Apart from the formal training opportunities that the Sopra Steria Academy provides, I know that I can always consult a colleague who is an expert or has more experience than me. But I also like to find out for myself how something is working.”

Now that you’re actually working in IT, what do you like about it?

“I’ve always liked to manage computer systems. I also enjoy finding out and understanding why and how a system works. But most of all, I like to find solutions to the problems our customers are facing. And then applying them, of course.”

A lot of administrator tasks can be done remotely these days, I suppose?

“For the most part, yes, because by now we are often working on a virtual version in the cloud, where someone else is managing the physical system. But in some cases, we still have to go on-site. Personally, I prefer to work directly at the customer site, because that usually makes it easier to find the right person you need to talk to.”

Looking to the future: what are your plans or ambitions?

“There is still a lot of knowledge and experience I need to acquire. So my ambition in the short term is to learn as much as I can. In the longer run, I look forward to helping Giles develop and grow our local SAP security team.”

To find out more about that SAP security team, read our interview with Gilles Doyen.

Interested in a career at Sopra Steria? Have a look at the Careers section on our website. Or better yet: check our current vacancies and apply immediately for the job that suits you!