My Path to a Job in IT

I work in the tech industry and like so many more in our industry, I am not a techy.

We all have different stories as to how we got here and I would like to share my unconventional story with you, how I got from a small village in Co. Donegal, Ireland, called Glenties to Chicago via Scotland and the UK.

We all have significant moments in our lives where we make decisions that may affect our future and our journey through life.

Mine was during August 1980 - I was seventeen years old and working in the family grocery shop during summer holidays while my parents were away on a summer break.

One of my customers that day worked for an organization who placed students into work based apprenticeship programs and he offered me an opportunity to join an electrical apprenticeship program starting a few weeks later.

Apparently, during a Career Guidance class earlier that year I had ticked a box confirming that I was interested in becoming an electrician!

I did remember the form and there were many other careers on the list but I am certain that becoming an electrician was not my first choice. In fact I do believe my first choice was to play football for Manchester United!!

He needed an answer that day and although I felt pressurized, I accepted his offer.

I  was convinced that my aspirations to play professional football were doomed and I also knew that this was the right move for me. When my parents returned from their break, they were none too happy at my career choice. as previously we had discussed university or working in the family business and expanding it, but being a stubborn teenager I stuck to my guns and joined the four year program.

For the first year I was in a training center with a three month block release to a college.

During that time I spent my weeks away from home and lived in a boarding house. I was seventeen and it was the first time I had lived away from my family learning a lot of valuable life skills that were critical to my development as a person.

After the first year, I was placed with a local employer where I was to serve out the remainder of my apprenticeship.

I spent three months each year at college and after a year in the workplace, I realized that I had made a mistake and that being an electrician was not for me. However, I also understood that I needed to continue and get my qualifications, which I did.

Once I finished my apprenticeship I started to consider other options and recognized that I had gained a lot of sales and customer service experience from working in the family grocery shop - check out one of my earlier blog posts, Lessons I learned from my first job.

So, using my electrical knowledge I got a job selling CCTV, intruder alarms, door entry systems and fire alarms.

I really enjoyed the sales aspect of the job a lot, I honed my skills and loved the face to face engagement with building contractors, engineers, architects and building managers.

As computers were becoming more common in the workplace I was offered a job selling computer consumables, specifically re-manufactured toner cartridges. We were one of the first in the UK to have a quality re-manufacturing process and our customers loved our products and our service and as a result we became very successful.

More importantly I had made that leap into the IT Industry.

Like so many industries over the years, the toner cartridge business was disrupted by entrepreneurs back in the early 90’s and the printer vendors did not like it. As the recycled cartridge became more in demand a lot more providers entered the market. Most of these latecomers were using unsophisticated processes and unfortunately the industry as a whole got a bad reputation from these “Drill and Fill” merchants.

The next step in my journey took me into IT training where I spent sixteen years getting a wider understanding of IT skills, assessments and the training industry. The IT industry was in its infancy and growing so fast and the demands for a skilled workforce were as challenging back then as they are today.

I joined my current employer, CompTIA over eight years ago.

During my journey I did not realize that I was on an intended path or if any of it made sense. As I look back now, everything seemed to happen for a reason and it was moving me along in an intended manner, working towards my goals and aspirations.

There were many bumps along the road (like most roads!) but all the skills I learned along the way have helped make the journey so interesting and rewarding.

Being in the IT industry, doesn’t have to mean you are a techy or that you need a degree to have a wonderful successful career.

I am a true product of the apprenticeship model and the skills I learned as an apprentice, the sales skills and the life skills I picked up along the way have all contributed to who I am and what I do.

On that warm summers day in Glenties, back in August 1980, I never once dreamt that my impulsive decision to become an electrician would have been so influential in crafting my journey. When I started working in 1980 I thought there was a destination somewhere but have come to realize that there isn’t a destination....just a wonderful journey!

John McGlinchey - CompTIAJohn McGlinchey

John McGlinchey is the Executive Vice President of Global Certification for CompTIA



Five Minute Interview with Yours Truly!

I stumbled upon this interview that I did a few years ago in Microscope magazine and I thought it would be interesting to share with people so they get a better sense of who this Irishman from Donegal is!

Tell us what you do for a living.

I am senior vice president, responsible for leading the global business development team in the promotion and sales of CompTIA Certifications.

I have since changed roles and am now the Executive Vice President for Global Certification at CompTIA.

Why are you the right person for this job?

Because I was willing to live on an airplane, or in a hotel for 80% of my working life!!

What gets you up in the morning?

Apart from my alarm clock?

Knowing that I have a busy day ahead, doing a job I love in an industry I am passionate about and can add value to, gives me my motivation and drive – you've got to love what you do and give it 100% otherwise, no one benefits.

Who helped you get to where you are today?

Several people through my life have been a great help – my parents for instilling in me my work ethic, my wife for her support through the years and several colleagues and peers who I have taken advice from, been mentored by and admired.

What is the best or worst business advice you have received and from whom?

My father always taught me to choose a career I enjoy, be happy and have fun. He said, when you enjoy your work you are generally successful at it. And always be truthful to your colleagues and in life in general.

What advice would you give to someone starting out today in IT?

Take the CompTIA A+ certification J and specialise in cyber security!

What’s running on your smartphone?

As I travel a lot, I just love my iPhone. It helps me communicate, get me from A to B without getting lost (well most of the time), keeps me up to speed on what happening in the world and I can listen to my music.

What did we do before iPhones were invented? Looking forward to the new iWatch!

Tell us something most people do not know about you.

I come from a small village in the Republic of Ireland called Glenties in County Donegal, with a population of less than 900 people – in my teenage years, I owned a mobile disco unit and used to run discos all round the local area.

What goal do you have to achieve before you die, and why?

Personally, to play a round of golf under par without any handicap shots then play against Phil Mickleson and Tiger Woods!

What is the best book you've ever read?

There has been many wonderful books but the most recent I really like is Start with Why by Simon Sinek.

He talks about how important it is that leaders and organisations inspire people. His bold goal is to help build a world in which the vast majority of people go home every day feeling fulfilled by their work. Something I try to emulate in at least some small way.

Simon is leading a movement to inspire people to do the things that inspire them.

And the worst film you’ve ever seen?

There have been several, but the one I think was the worst to me was Kill Bill.... Just awful.

What would be your Desert Island MP3s?

I’ve always fancied myself as a bit of a rocker, so some Bruce Springsteen, Queen, Coldplay and a bit of Rihanna to spice it up!

What temptation can you not resist?

It’s hard to say no to a good glass of red wine. A dark, fruity deep red would always win for me accompanied by a decent bar of chocolate.

That’s two temptations I know, but I can’t have one without the other.

What was your first car and how does it compare with what you drive now?

A 1977 Ford Escort Van, yellow and I got a “Dukes of Hazard” stripe on it. In my eyes it was the best car I ever had. Fun and multi-purpose. I now have an E-Class Mercedes but the Escort van holds many fond memories.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with? Why, what did they do?

Can’t think of one specific person. But imagine as you are about to close the lift doors, you saw this guy coming and you were kind enough to hold it for him.

Then, you’re stuck for what could be hours and the guy will not stop singing and whistling I Gotta Feeling by The Black Eyed Peas. That song is annoying as is, but could you imagine if you were forced to listen to this guy over and over again?

If you could be any animal for a day, what would you be and why?

A golden eagle. I think being able to fly anywhere I wanted with no traffic to contend with is one reason, but also because I think it’s a magnificent species and king of the skies.

If you could take part in one event in the Olympics, which would you choose and why?

Although it’s not officially in the Olympics yet but will be from 2016, it has to be golf for me.  I see myself and Rory McIlroy teeing it up together and ripping up the course!!!

If I had to pick a current sport in the Olympics, the 100 metres – it’s over so quickly and I guess that 10 seconds effort would be more than enough for me.

If you were facing awesome peril and impossible odds, which real or fictional person would you most want on your side and why?

This has to be two people.

Firstly my wife. If there is a chance that this would be my last day on earth, I’d want to spend it with her; knowing someone loves you right at the end would help me face what was ahead.

Secondly, my hero, Detective John McClane (Bruce Willis in the Die Hard movies) – this guy can get you out of anything single-handedly!

And finally, a grizzly bear and a silverback gorilla are getting ready for a no-holds-barred rumble. Who is your money on and why?

The silverback – I think he would have a strategy of knocking the grizzly out with a well-timed heavy blow while the grizzly would just hope for the best – one swift thump from the silverback and the grizzly would be down and out!

Thanks for reading ...time to train for the 100 meters!

John McGlinchey - CompTIAJohn McGlinchey

John McGlinchey is the Executive Vice President of Global Certification for CompTIA

Good Neighbors

This is my fifth winter in the Chicago area and this one is shaping up to be a corker. Not as bad as the polar vortex of 2013/2014 but lots of snow and freezing temperatures.

Unlike Ireland (I'm originally from a little village in Donegal in Called called Glenties) and the UK, each household makes clearing of snow in their driveways and sidewalks outside their house a priority. Clearing the sidewalks outside your home is mandatory by law.

Right on cue on Super Bowl Sunday we had our first major snow fall of the winter. So, Fiona and I were sitting waiting for the snow to finish, when we heard a scraping noise coming from our driveway, a sound similar to someone clearing snow. As we went to the window to investigate, we saw our neighbor Sarah, in a blizzard, with a snow shovel clearing our driveway.

Feeling somewhat shocked but also elated that we wouldn’t have to shovel any snow, we asked her why she was clearing our driveway, her response blew us away.

She said she was just being neighborly and wanted to do something to help us. She said she wished she could do more. I do not know why we were so shocked as this is typical of the neighbors and friends we have in this community. Sarah’s husband Fred has been clearing our snow all week.

While Fiona was in hospital over Christmas, I received many cooked dinners, food deliveries and offers of assistance from all our friends.

I come from a very rural part of Ireland where neighborly good deeds and kindness are taken as given. I certainly didn’t expect it in the suburbs of one of the largest cities (Chicago) in the world. I have been told it’s a “MidWest thing” but speaking to my colleagues at work, some of whom live on the east coast, I believe it is just human nature.

We genuinely want to help each other out when times are difficult and challenging.

In a world where our politicians seem hell bent on division and exclusion, it is so refreshing and reassuring to know that our societies and neighborhoods are united in helping each other and promoting inclusion.

Thank you to all our friends and neighbors, you have made living in the U.S. such a wonderful experience.

John McGlinchey - CompTIAJohn McGlinchey

John McGlinchey is the Executive Vice President of Global Certification for CompTIA

A super system for the salesman!

When I first started life as a professional sales person, I wasn’t that good!

Some might say I am still not that good!!

I stumbled around trying to find my way and had limited success. Although I had most of the pieces of the sales process in my arsenal, my sales calls lacked structure and focus. I didn’t have a system. I was primarily self-taught, so I suppose that was hardly surprising.

In 1990, I changed jobs and my new employer put me on a training course that changed the way I sold to this day. The fact that twenty-seven years later, I still remember the system, is testimony to the effectiveness of this process.

Most people starting out in sales are unsuccessful for one or two reasons, either they don’t work hard enough or they lack a system or process. The system I learned twenty-seven years ago, was instrumental in giving me that focus and will almost certainly ensure greater success for you.

The APPCOM System

Whether on the phone, face to face or social selling, the APPCOM cycle is as relevant today as it was all those years ago.

A – Acceptance

The first few seconds of any sales call or meeting are vital.

A Forbes article suggests that we make major decisions about each other in the first seven seconds we meet. Therefore, it is vital that we ensure that the person we are meeting gets the right impression.

Are we trustworthy, likeable, someone they can do business with?

Prepare beforehand, ensure that your opening comments should not be canned, and instead engage in a short discussion that will succeed in “breaking the ice”.

P - Purpose

Probably the most important part of the call or meeting, is to know why you are there.

It is vital at this point that you are direct and make them aware of exactly why you wanted to meet.

Something like “I want to discuss your requirements for our consultancy services and if I can satisfy your needs, I will be asking you for your business at the end of the meeting”.

PMO (Primary Meeting Objective)

Before the meeting you must set out your primary objective.

What do you want the customer to agree to? Signing the contract?  Introduce you to someone else?

What is the main action item that you want as a result of the meeting and write it down before entering the meeting.

SMO (Secondary Meeting Objective)

What is the minimum acceptable objective?

Perhaps agree to another meeting. Again, write it down prior to entering the meeting.

P - Probing

In order to define a need or a requirement a sales person needs to probe to find out more about the business or organization.

These are questions about their business, the organisation structure, what is working, what is not, what are the pain points?

It needs to be a mix of “open questions” and “closed questions” which allows you to fully explore all opportunities.

Before advancing onto the next stage in the process, it is vital that you find an approach or connection that will allow you to present your solution.

C- Consulting

This is your moment to present your organization and solution, so the outcome from your probing questions are key to the entire cycle.

You need to be clear about the most important points you will want to cover in the presentation - what are they?

What are the areas that you want to highlight that solve some of the pain points of the organization?

Every customer is different and their requirements are different so your presentation should differ customer to customer.

O - Overcoming Objections

It is inevitable that there will be objections and you should welcome them.

Do not take them personally. It’s an indication that the buyer is engaged and is thinking about your proposition.

Four really good steps for overcoming objections are:

  1. Listen Fully to the Objection
  2. Understand the Objection Completely
  3. Respond Properly
  4. Confirm You've Satisfied the Objection

M - Motivating to Act

Remember the PMO and SMO from the purpose stage - This is where you determine if you have achieved your primary or secondary objectives.

What is it that you want to ask the customer to commit to?

If your primary objective was to obtain the business and you have overcome all their objections, make sure to ask for the business.

Following the APPCOM cycle will provide so much structure and focus to your sales meetings - and the really cool thing is that it doesn’t just apply to sales meetings.

Whether you are meeting with your Operations, HR, Finance department or even on your first date, use the APPCOM cycle!!

Happy Selling!!

John McGlinchey - CompTIAJohn McGlinchey

John McGlinchey is the Executive Vice President of Global Certification for CompTIA


Pen and Paper

Should we all go back to pen and paper?

You will be surprised to hear that I was playing golf at the weekend. As always over the duration of a round, we discussed all manner of things.

On Sunday, one of my playing partners brought up cyber security and how insecure he felt about his personal information and bank details.

He suggested going back to pen and paper and taking all his banking offline, because it's more secure.

We all agreed that this was a silly idea but in truth its not that silly unless we personally get very serious about our online security and staying up to date and ahead of the game.

In relation to our cyber security, we are all feeling insecure at the moment. But I'd like you to think about a time in your lives when you felt most secure. Go ahead and close your eyes for a moment.

Where are you? Are you a child? Are you with a parent or a trusted friend?

Remember how it felt to feel safe and content at that moment in time.

For me it was growing up in Donegal, in the northwest of Ireland. It’s also, by the way, the area National Geographic recently named as "the coolest place on the planet” (I'm so proud of Donegal - You must visit!!)

For me this was a great time, it was a safe time and it was a time when I felt secure.

And now - like when I remember seeing a storm roll in from the Atlantic Ocean back in my childhood home - we live in a time that can feel a lot less secure, don't we?

Consider the U.S. Elections and the alleged meddling by Russia and the hackers reportedly breaking into computer networks of companies operating the United States nuclear power stations, energy facilities and manufacturing plants, according to a new report by The New York Times.

It’s not just companies and organizations that are vulnerable - every person, place and every online device in the world is potentially vulnerable.

I don’t know about you, but back in the 90’s, whenever I used to hear about hackers and viruses, I tuned out.

But now, in the news, it seems we are hearing this happening on a daily basis - we're getting bombarded about the cyber-crime reality that we live in. It can make you feel anything other than secure.

An article in Chief Security Officer Magazine, predicted that damages from cyber-crime will cost the world six trillion dollars a year. The threat of cyber-crime will more than triple the number of unfilled cyber security jobs, which is predicted to reach 3.5 million by 2021.

So that's exactly why we need to become more dedicated to getting not just IT workers, but every worker, involved with protecting and defending apps, data, devices, infrastructure and people.

Cyber-crime is a very real and very scary threat, but I also see this as an opportunity if we embrace it -  to help us all feel more secure, to be committed in helping everyone with their cyber responsibilities - to become good cyber citizens and have superior processes in place before a cyber breach is threatened.

We are all imperfectly human and hackers are very skillful at tracking human beings, not computers, and taking advantage of our vulnerability, our weaknesses.

Human error is still the most likely reason for a hack.

Going back to pen and paper is definitely not an option but becoming more aware of our cyber responsibilities is.

John McGlinchey - CompTIAJohn McGlinchey

John McGlinchey is the Executive Vice President of Global Certification for CompTIA

Lessons I learned from my first job!

I love this time of the year and one of the things that I really like about it is coming across so many young people who are clearly working in their very first summer jobs.

I love their youth, their energy and their enthusiasm (hopefully!) and I wonder about the valuable part that this first job will play in their professional lives.

It makes me reflect on my first job, many moons ago.

Growing up in the north west of Ireland had many advantages, especially during the summer months. We had long days, with lots of tourists milling about and as I remember through my rose tinted glasses, the sun was always shining in Donegal!

Although we always had a lot of fun, we were no strangers to hard work either. That work ethic gave me a real respect for the value of earning a wage.

My parents returned to Ireland from London in the late fifties and opened a small corner shop at the bottom of the main street in a small village called Glenties (this name is derived from the word 'The Glens' as it is situated where two glens meet, west of the Bluestack Mountains).

Initially the store sold basic supplies, the necessities, like bread, milk, butter and newspapers.

If you consider their typical customer at that time, it was quite an ambitious plan. Glenties was a very rural town (a population of under 1,000 ) where most of the community baked their own bread, grew their own vegetables and used their cows for milk and butter. People were very self-sufficient.

However, the family business grew and thrived.


Both my parents were very innovative and committed to providing excellent customer service. They introduced new product lines, like frozen foods, or what was considered rare fruits back then, such as pears and tangerines. They built a reputation for having really great ice cream and the business grew and from the initial small room to other parts of the house.

During those exciting years with the business growing, my brothers and I chipped in and helped in the shop, after school and in the evening, at weekends and during holiday times.

Being part of the family meant sharing the work load.

This is where we really learned the valuable lesson of working to earn pocket money. We weren’t just given money, we had to earn it. If we spent all our money and wanted to go to the cinema or if we wanted to buy the new Thin Lizzy album and didn’t have any money left, my dad found a job for us in the shop. And there were many of those jobs to choose from!

Back then, eggs came in a large box and had to be packed into smaller, dozen and half dozen cartons. Potatoes came in four and eight stone bags and needed to be packed into smaller size bags.

None of us liked filling out the potatoes. The fear of that foul-smelling potato hidden somewhere in the sack and the horrible sensation when your fingers slid inside that rotten potato...yeuch!

And then there were the customers - as we know only too well these can come in all sorts and sizes and like each of us they all have their own quirks and strange habits.

Each of us served behind the counter and we all had the responsibility of looking after the customers - in a small village we were dependant on a small number of people and it was up to us to make sure that they were happy and kept returning.

While it was tough and every one of us was expected to do their part to look after the family business, these were special, simple days that will warmly stay with me forever.

Learning the value of hard work and the importance of customer service are valuable lessons that have stood to me throughout my career - these apply in my parents little grocery store just the same as they do in a global organisation such as CompTIA.

Thank you mum and dad!

What did you learn from your first job?

John McGlinchey - CompTIAJohn McGlinchey

John McGlinchey is the Executive Vice President of Global Certification for CompTIA

Life Changer

7th March - Life before and after

On my way home from work I drive by our local cancer hospital. From the outside, it is just a normal building and there doesn’t seem to be much going on inside.

That is, until March 7th.

This time I was inside that very hospital looking out at all the cars driving by, who like me a few days earlier, were oblivious to the battles, challenges, illness and sadness that engulf those inside.

It is almost full to capacity every day with each treatment cubicle, sadly occupied. The nurses and doctors inside that hospital do an amazing job looking after those patients with their expertise, care and professionalism.

My wife Fiona had been feeling unwell for a few weeks. The first diagnosis we had was that she had an infection, but after several weeks the bleeding wouldn’t stop and she was scheduled for a biopsy. We both knew that it was something serious and could possibly be cancer.

I had a business trip planned to the Middle East and my departure date was the day before the biopsy. Both Fiona and I agreed that the trip should go ahead. I landed in Abu Dhabi and Fiona called me to tell me the news. The biopsy results confirmed our worse fears, it was cervical cancer.

I felt so regretful that she had to take that call alone, the fear she must have felt hearing those words and the horrible uncertainty of what was to come.

I returned to Chicago in time to accompany her to the various scans that had been scheduled.

Three days later we had our meeting with the Oncologist to get a better understanding of the course of treatment for cervical cancer.

That’s when we had an even bigger blow hit us.

Fiona and Josie

It turns out that Fiona has Small Cell Cervical Cancer with five secondary tumors around her body. Her liver, lungs and lymph nodes were all infected. Small Cell is the rarest type of cervical cancer and it accounts for less than 1% of all cervical cancers diagnosed.  We were told that we had a battle ahead.

Thankfully, we had caught the cancer in its early stages but the diagnosis was still devastating to us.

Without treatment, Fiona would have 6 months to live and probably 18 months with treatment. We were shocked and overwhelmed that this could happen to someone so young and fit. Prior to the illness Fiona was running 7-minutemiles and squatting with 60lb dumbbells. She was forty-three years of age when we got the diagnosis. She is also such a positive and optimistic person, living life as it should, with a warm smile on her face.

The doctor commented that nothing we could have done would have prevented this from happening. It’s just like being struck by lightning.

Like most challenges life throws at you, it’s how you react and behave that makes the difference. We have learned a lot about each other and how vital it is to make the most of every day.

Fiona has completed three cycles of chemo and had a further assessment and scans. The results were very promising and positive with the tumors shrinking in size and activity. Her attitude and fitness levels certainly contributed to the positive results. Needless to say we were thrilled.

We may have won a battle; however, the war is not yet won.

She is on her fifth cycle of chemotherapy with further scans after the sixth cycle. Even at the best-case scenario, she will have to complete another three cycles. Never at any point throughout this ordeal has she ever felt any illness from the cancer but it’s the many cycles of chemo that have hit her the hardest, taking its toll both mentally and physically.

One of the many lessons we have learned from this experience is to be more aware of the feelings and emotions of others. It has taught us to be more tolerant as you just never know what's happening in someone’s life.

More importantly, when life gives you lemons, you most definitely should make lemonade.

John McGlinchey - CompTIAJohn McGlinchey

John McGlinchey is the Executive Vice President of Global Certification for CompTIA

McGlinchey Family Crest

Your Personal Brand and your Coat of Arms

There is a lot of talk these days about the importance of your 'personal brand'; how you always need to be aware of it, how you should project it and how you should protect it.

It is talked about in marketing circles as if it is a new thing and that it is borrowed from the world of products and companies, which all have their own branding that we can easily relate to.

The comparison to products, services and companies can be a little disturbing at first - surely we are human beings and not products (many may disagree!)? After all we have feelings, thoughts, opinions, beliefs, passions, we want to be appreciated and valued and we definitely don't want to be treated as commodities.

If we forget about the comparison to products and companies it gets easier and we can start to appreciate what our personal brand really means. Our personal brand is our story, it is what we represent, it is what we believe in, it is what motivates us, it is who we are.

If you deal with me this is what you get.

The challenge is to properly project our story so that others get what we are all about.

In ancient times the personal brand for our family was captured in our family crest or our coat of arms.

A coat of arms is described as a unique heraldic (a visual way of signifying rank) design on a shield or surcoat. A surcoat, and subsequently a coat of arms was used by medieval knights to cover, protect, and identify the wearer. The coat of arms symbolises the heraldic achievement which consists of a shield with a crest and motto.

These coats of arms came into general use by feudal lords and knights in battle in the 12th Century. By the 13th Century their use had spread beyond the battlefield to become a kind of flag or logo for families in the higher social classes of Europe, inherited from one generation to the next.

Your coat of arms or crest was effectively a way of telling a story about your family and what they represent.

McGlinchey Family Crest

Each of the colours and symbols on your Coat of Arms is significant and they explain important characteristics and values about you and your family.

In the case of my family coat of arms:

  • the white or silver background denotes Peace and Sincerity.
  • the green signifies Hope, Joy and sometimes Loyalty in Love.
  • and finally the lion represents Deathless Courage!

So for those that know me well - do I match up to my family crest?

While my Coat of Arms captures and projects a 'story' and a set of values and beliefs for my family in many ways it also sets a standard and creates an expectation about our behaviour - something that we all need to live up to.

Ironically the use of the coat of arms evolved over time and started to be used by commercial companies, which are effectively the origins of the modern logo.

Telling your story today

Today we don't carry around a shield (just a business card..) and we don't wear a suit of armour so communicating our story can be a little bit more challenging.

The face to face personal experience has always been the most important part of our story. How we look, how we dress, how we speak, how we behave and what we do are powerful ways of telling this story. Those who interact with us get to experience our 'personal brand' up close and hopefully they will carry with them a positive version of our story.

For those at a distance our modern day coat of arms is our blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media accounts. This is where we get a chance to show our photo, detail who we are, what we have learnt, what we have done, what we believe in and then bring all of this to life through our regular conversations and interactions.

On LinkedIn the most common activity of users of the platform is looking at other people's profiles. I wonder why..

How is your coat of arms looking? 

John McGlinchey - CompTIAJohn McGlinchey

John McGlinchey is the Executive Vice President of Global Certification for CompTIA



It’ll be life, Jim, but not as we know it!


A big thank you to Jane Dickinson, another one of my valued colleagues at CompTIA for being my guest blogger this week.

John McGlinchey

I just lost my scarf in Harrods, the London department store.

Well, actually it was a snood, which, for those unfamiliar with the term, is a circular piece of fabric that one wears around the neck.

It must have slipped off my arm, either accidentally or otherwise, and, in the absence of a call from the pleasant chap in Lost Property, is gone forever.

First world problem, right?

Right. So, why the lingering mild emotions of annoyance and loss?

The annoyance almost certainly stems from the fact that carelessness like this just doesn’t happen to me. With every year that passes, I become more ordered and organized. I know where my stuff is. If I didn’t, it would slow me down.

I suspect you’re the same?

Most of us identify time as being our most precious resource and have taken up the challenge to see just how much we can do, see and achieve. We lead full lives and productivity and efficiency are key, enhanced by the systems, technology and services we choose to adopt.

The loss?

It was a warm, attractive snood. Is it replaceable? Indirectly, probably. Was it expensive? No, and certainly not in comparison to Harrods’ wares. So why the long face? I put it down to 1970s values. You work and save hard for what you have and hence those – albeit material – items have a certain value to you.

These thoughts, about how we work hard for what we have, led me to recall the most interesting and disruptive lecture I’ve had the privilege of hearing this year.

The talk was by the economist Paul Mason, at the 2016 CompTIA EMEA Member and Partner Conference.

Of the many thought provoking threads, the one that stood out related to how increasing automation will transform the way we live and work.

In itself, this topic is hardly groundbreaking. All of us, irrespective of age, can name new, transformative labor saving technologies or automations that have been impactful during our lifetimes.

However, Mason is not forseeing technological progress in a linear fashion, but on a scale that would see widespread automation of both blue and white collar jobs. He suggests that a third industrial revolution is nigh but may stall due to the fear of creating mass unemployment and the associated ‘psychological aimlessness’.

As I write, news hits that Japanese Insurance Company Fukoku Mutual is making 34 redundancies and replacing those staff members with IBM’s Watson.

An Oxford Martin School Study suggests that 47% of US jobs are at risk to automation by 2035.

The solution?

Mason and others assert that we should de-link work and wages. Everyone would be paid a universal basic income by the State and the average working day would be cut.

It was there that it hit me. As I imagine it must feel to a weathered workhorse on the precipice of retirement, NOT working, or certainly not anywhere near the extent we are used to in the early 21st century, seems really, really scary.

In that moment, I suddenly felt sympathy for the Luddites. It had been easy to malign them from the comfortable hindsight of my history class; King Canute-like as they attempted to stem the tide of industrial progress.

Contemplating change of this magnitude is mind blowing. How will we define ourselves? How will our values change? How messy could this transition be? And many, many other questions.

However, on reflection, perhaps we shouldn’t be afraid to take a leap into this unknown. Particularly if it transpires we have some ability to design it and one of the key outcomes will be more personal time.

As a wise ex-colleague used to say, we all need to take the time to stop and smell the flowers.

Mason outlines one potential future society. There are indisputably others. None of us have an infallible crystal ball, but societal change is as certain as taxes.

It’ll be life Jim, but not as we know it!

Oh, and if you come across a homeless, burgundy fake fur snood, please let me know…

Jane Dickinson, CompTIAJane Dickinson

Jane Dickinson is a Senior Manager in CompTIA’s Western European team. She works with schools, colleges and universities to help them offer internationally recognized IT industry certifications alongside their programs to enhance learner employability.

My Christmas Wish for Jobseekers

Nicholas with his siblings, Julia and Cody
Nicholas with his siblings, Julia and Cody

A big thank you to Teresa Varela-Lauper, another one of my valued colleagues at CompTIA for being my guest blogger this week.

John McGlinchey

My 19 year old son Nicholas dropped out of college last year.

He tried it, didn’t like it and didn’t know what to do next. I know many people who have succeeded in life without college…. however, for the most part the odds are stacked against him.

Unemployment rates triple for high school graduates compared to those with a 4 year college degree. Couple this with an income disparity when you think of the pool of jobs available without a college degree and it’s not a pretty picture. (Bureau of Labor Statistics and Pew Research)

What are we doing to encourage our young people to get into IT?  

And, how do we show our kids there are solid careers out there without requiring a 4 year degree?

How do we encourage change among businesses to hire and invest in these kids?

A career in technology will be a lifesaver for many….there is low unemployment, high demand for skilled workers and a mass of free training to encourage folks to start their careers here.

It’s my Christmas wish that our new U.S. administration will look at apprenticeship programs to help at risk employees learn new skills.

The UK has done an amazing job with this. Instead of talking about saving coal jobs, the better question is how can we re-skill these workers? How can we encourage businesses to take on that challenge and pay employees as they learn? Let’s look over the pond at a model that is working.

As for Nicholas, I’m happy to share he recently started an IT helpdesk program at Hunter Business School here on Long Island. This is a 15 month computer technician program where he will learn PC repair/installation, planning and maintenance and also earn his CompTIA A+ certification.

Let’s change the narrative for our future workers and ring in 2017 with technology apprenticeships.

Teresa Varela-LauperTeresa Varela-Lauper is Director of Business Development. She works with SMB and Fortune 1000 clients in the US who are looking to attract and retain good IT talent as well as promote a culture of innovation and productivity. She lives in the Greater New York City Area.