Now a Network Delivery Manager at Virgin Media, he’s got his sights set fully on Chartered Engineer status. But how did it all begin?
“At school, my favourite subject was physics,” he says. “I still remember after every lesson trying to brainstorm ideas for possible inventions like some sort of mad scientist! Even though I never ended up actually inventing anything, it’s definitely that admiration and passion for science and innovation that made a career in engineering the perfect match for me.”
Deciding on a discipline
“My physics teacher at school admired my grasp for anything to do with the topic of electricity and suggested I should focus on that strength if I ever considered a career in engineering,” he says.
“So, I followed his advice and while at university studying Electrical and Electronic Engineering, I fell in love with the modules that touched on Telecoms – it was fascinating. I loved it so much that my dissertation was based on Telecoms technology and I decided to achieve a master’s degree in Communications and Signal Processing.
“I was fortunate enough to then get a graduate job at Virgin Media which is an establish Telecoms company in the UK and have never looked back since.”
From navigating the graduate job market…
“I was surprised by how niche the jobs were for the relevant job roles I could apply for and could appreciate different companies had different recruiting needs,” he says. “I found it quite challenging to filter out roles that I knew I was genuinely interested in and that I would be a strong candidate for.
“Fortunately for me, I’d been looking right from the start of my final year at university and got lots of help from the career services at my university to help my CV look sharp and prepare me for interviews and assessment centres. I secured a job offer while mid-way through my final year, so it was a nice thought to know I would be working straight after graduating.”
…to becoming an industry innovator at one of the biggest Telecoms companies in the UK
“In my first 6 months at Virgin Media I worked on a Project with our Wi-Fi testing team, which involved us renting out and setting up a big house in the countryside,” he says. “It was fairly isolated, and we used it as a “demo” house for testing our Wi-Fi products and services.
“As it was in the middle of nowhere, it was ideal for not getting any external signal interferences. The house had different wall thicknesses made up of different materials and different rooms which we could use to simulate different scenarios in our customer’s homes. It was fully furnished just like a real home and had old devices as well as the latest gadgets, tablets, smart phones etc. to test in different scenarios and environments.
“We also did lots of online streaming based on real products such as Netflix and console gaming. Sadly, I was not allowed to live there! The best part about this was that we had a new, unreleased Wi-Fi router that we were testing and developing. This very router is now the Super Hub 3, which Virgin Media use across our entire network nationwide as well as across Europe with our European partners, as Ziggo, Unity Media and UPC under the name of the “Connect Box”.
“Being involved in the development of a product that so many people across the world now use and rely on is an amazing milestone for me in my life.”
More than a member
As a member of our thriving community, Michael keeps up to date with the latest industry technical knowledge; this is vital when working with the variety of technologies he works with on a day-to-day basis.
“I mainly work with Edge and Access technologies,” he says. “These are technologies that focus on how we deliver broadband, TV and VoIP services from our network to the customer.
“Or, in other words, technologies that help give customers access to our network in order to use our services. These include DOCSIS 3.1, Remote PHY, and CMTSs and a lot more.”
Yet being an IET member has not only offered Michael the chance to expand his industry knowledge and technical capabilities…
“I now also present and lecture on the technologies to members of my company based on what I’ve learnt,” he says. “I’ve learnt more about the industry through IET resources, and now I can give something back to my company and professional network.”
On track to gain his internationally-recognised qualification and CEng status, he’s also setting the standards for the next generation of engineers and technicians.
Find out more here about all the things we can offer to support our members – people like you – to achieve the greatest things.