Starting a job can be a nerve wracking experience, especially when it involves moving to a new city and in a branch of computing that you only recently became aware existed!
I stumbled into networking by chance when one night, many years ago, I dropped my Windows Vista laptop and cracked the screen. The next morning I was distraught at the thought of not having a computer to speak to my friends with via msn messenger and immediately began to pool my finite funds together to buy a new one. After researching for a week I had worked out enough to know that vista was not the internets recommended operating system of choice and eventually bought myself a shiny new windows 7 machine. My 15 year old self was yet to know what a router was or how IP addressing worked, but my casual week of researching had sparked an interest in computing that had previously lay dormant and neglected.
I left High School at 17 still with no idea of which career path I wanted to walk, but I knew I still had an interest in computers so I enrolled in a HND course in Computing. The course exposed me to many new areas of computing such as hardware maintenance and installation, building websites, server configuration and most importantly it introduced me to the concept of computer networks. My time in the classroom configuring Cisco devices was easily my favourite and it was at that moment when I decided that I wanted to pursue a career as a Network Engineer.
The choice then inevitably presents itself to you of either work or university. The knowledge/research is key. For myself, this process involved applying for work experience at Forfusion. I previously had a good understanding of what further education would be like from my time at college – but had no experience of how the real world of networking operated ‘out in the wild’. After an exhilarating week of work experience I had reached a decision and was thrilled to take a position as a trainee network engineer within the company.
The first stage in taking up a trainee position at the company was moving to Newcastle upon Tyne. The excitement I felt at the prospect of moving to a new city turned to terror as I soon realised how much work lay ahead of me. Telling family members that I was turning down university to run off to Newcastle produced mixed reactions. Some insisted that I stay in Scotland to do my degree whilst others, the more tech savvy perhaps, saw the opportunity I had and were delighted for me to take it. Explaining to the first group what a Network engineer was and how networks work proved trickier than expected, but eventually I got the backing of the entire family, albeit even if some of them thought I was moving to Newcastle just to fix ‘the internet’, and prepared the next stage of moving; finding a place to live.
When I was looking for a place to stay I had to make the decision of whether to rent a place on my own or look into getting a flat share with other people.
Looking back I can now say that through my personal experience of moving to a new city I would without a doubt recommend moving into a flat share with other people over moving into a place by your-self. Although at first the idea of sharing a place with strangers seemed unsettling and stressful, with enough time and a little bit of luck, these flatmates will become your first friends in your new surroundings. The social interaction provided by living with other people allows you to go out and stay sociable even after you have potentially moved away from your previously established group of friends and through them you will undoubtedly meet more people and begin to create a new group of friends.
Another added benefit of moving in with other people is communal cooking. If you are a limited cook, like myself, convince the rest of the flat to cook meals together. This little cheat will allow the more experienced chefs in the house to take over and result in far less overcooked/undercooked meals. Of course this approach only works if there is a good cook in the house to mastermind it all, but it’s still something to bear in mind.
Moving to a new city can also be incredibly disorientating. For me, not starting work until a few days after I had moved really helped. Having a few days to explore my new surroundings and find all the such as the local supermarket, doctors, dentists, bank, post office, hairdressers and pub meant that once work kicked in I already knew where all my nearest essential amenities were and could visit them with ease.
Something I did not account for however was the cost of owning a car in the big city as a recently passed driver. I certainly wasn’t prepared for the shock of my insurance doubling and admittedly did not budget for it. Although public transport in Newcastle is fantastic and I could more than adequately use it for all my everyday needs, the freedom of mobility a car provides is something I value highly. Having a car in the city also means if I were to unfortunately get homesick from missing friends or family, I can quite easily drive back to the real north for a weekend and all would be solved.
Since starting work thankfully no such homesickness has occurred and I’m starting to adapt to working fulltime in Newcastle. Being able to work in an environment where every day is a new challenge has certainly kept me on my toes and of course a great deal of thanks has to go to the team at Forfusion for helping me feel right at home. As I approach the start of my 3rd week at the company I am excited to see where this week takes me and begin my career in Networking.