Elliott Wood

1st Line Technical Lead

Hi, I'm Elliott Wood, 1st Line Technical Lead. I've been working at Utilize for over 6 years.

Tell us about your career path and what’s led you to the role you’re in today?

Leaving school, I originally wanted to go into Aircraft Engineering being an air cadet with the RAF. I started college and shortly after secured an Engineering Apprenticeship, but after 4-5 months I realised that this wasn’t for me and began researching a career in IT. The first opportunity I got was an Apprenticeship with Utilize, which came via our old Apprenticeship partner QA.

I settled into the business, working in the internal workshop and doing administrative tasks for Clients. As my exposure to more complex technology and more challenging tasks increased, so too did my confidence and drive for working in IT. After a year of my Apprenticeship, I was able to move into a full-time role on the 1st Line Team, where I worked on Client issues and also assisted my colleagues day-to-day, thanks to the exposure to incidents I had enjoyed as an Apprentice.

In due course, my Managers recognised how much of my day was spent assisting colleagues. The Team decided to create a new role devoted to assisting and training the 1st Line Team, and I was awarded the 1st Line Technical Lead Role. In this position, I took on the management of the Apprentice Team and the course, which I knew well having completed the program myself. Since then, I have headed up the Team of Apprentices which has now grown to its largest size (currently standing at 6 concurrent apprentices).

What’s the best thing about working in the IT industry?

For me, the best part of working in the IT Industry is the satisfaction gained in getting things to work. I enjoy helping colleagues with varied PC issues and creating PowerShell scripts to automate work that would take a long time if attempted manually. Getting your teeth into an issue that isn’t immediately obvious or requires scripting is super fun, and the hard work you put in is repaid by the satisfaction of finding a solution.

What does a typical day in the life of a 1st Line Technical Lead involve?

A typical day for me revolves mainly around assisting the Apprentices with the tickets they are allocated. No two tickets are ever really the same, and some requests that appear simple at first often become more in-depth as requirements change or issues arise. In addition to helping the Apprentices, I also provide the rest of the 1st line Team with extra help, either when they want guidance or pointers as to what to do or need confirmation on fixes or scripts. In addition to this, I also run internal training sessions and create guide documentation for the Engineers to use.

What do you love most about your job at Utilize?

The people I work with. Without them, this job wouldn’t be half as much fun as it is.

What has been the highlight of your career at Utilize so far?

My highlight so far is when I was an Apprentice and won Engineer of the Month. The first Apprentice to get it (at the time!) It was a real treat to be voted for.

What have you done to support your career development within Utilize?

Personally, I haven’t really done much to support my own career development. My promotions have come as a result of the encouragement I have received from the Service Desk Manager and my experience and support of the Utilize Apprenticeship Programme, which led to the creation of the role I hold today.

What do you think are the secrets behind getting to where you’ve got to?

Being an Apprentice really helped me build my knowledge of the Apprenticeship Programme and the internal workshop. This experience was invaluable when taking on the management of the Apprentice Team.

What skills/attributes do you feel are essential for someone interested in your role?

I’d say you’ve got to be an ‘out of the box’ thinker to try to identify radical solutions for things when the standard procedures don’t work. You also need to respect your limits, such as the amount of time taken or fixes attempted before you decide to escalate a ticket. Being a good people person also helps, as you’ll need to juggle requests for assistance from the Apprentices and other members of the Team, throughout the day.

What advice would you give young people who want to pursue a career in IT?

Don’t be afraid to get something wrong. IT being what it is, you have a lot of backups and safety nets in place when trying new solutions. So be a little bolder with the work you do.