Paul Gartside graduated from college in 1989 after doing a BTEC National Diploma in Computer Studies. His career has taken him all over the world and has now come full circle, back to Milton Keynes College. Paul is now Security & Data Analytics Coach and Curriculum Innovator at the South Central Institute Of Technology.
Tell us about your career after MK College
I went straight into the computer industry from college getting a great job with research machines. Security was a topic that interested me greatly and after a couple of jobs progressing as a Network Engineer I applied for a job with Dr Solomon’s Anti-virus, now McAfee Security.
I spent the next 25 years travelling the world doing security stuff, writing technology patents, and working with loads of super smart people. I rose through the company until I became Global Senior Vice President R&D for Data Protection & Encryption in 2006.
About 3 years ago I left McAfee in need of a work/life change. I really wanted to get back to my technical roots and I’d spent an increasing amount of time doing mentoring at the company, which is something I wanted to explore further.
Subsequently I joined South Central Institute of Technology as Digital Coach for Cyber Security & Data Analytics where I get to do cool stuff and do my level best to inspire and grow the next generation.
How did your Computer Studies course help you get to the place you’re at now?
I really wasn’t a good student, I scraped by. I was more interested in taking things apart and teaching myself how to do ‘cool stuff’. At that time computers were about the only thing I was good at and the college provided an excellent opportunity for me to explore this further.
Moreover, I was shy when I was younger and going to Uni really was too big a leap. I knew I wanted to actually go and work. College gave me what I needed to get through the door of research machines, both with technical knowledge and social improvement.
Do you have any advice for students who are thinking of applying to MK College?
Make it happen! The computer industry is hot and growing and so are companies in Milton Keynes. There really is no better time than now to build excellent knowledge and an amazing career. There are also now far more pathways in tech than there has ever been.
If you wanted to get into computers, you need to demonstrate your skills. I would recommend a Level 3 Introduction to Computer Science and then go on to the South Central IOT just across the road at Bletchley and do an HNC/HND Computer Pathway or an Apprenticeship which is an excellent way to break into the industry without running up a sizable debt. (If you pick Cyber Security or Data Pathways, you’ll also get me 😉)
Want to get into the Tech Industry? Or just looking for some inspiration for your college course? Check out the A-Z Course Guide and find your path today!