Andrew Eatock of Nebula Computers near Huntly, in the Waikato is taking a short break to upgrade his networking skills. He’s currently in the last phase of a CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) course which he says will enable him to service his clients better, especially the larger corporates where he can get to the backbone systems.
Eatock, 43 says most of his work is based in Auckland as that’s where things are really moving but he would prefer to work in Hamilton as Huntly is well placed to serve both cities with preferable traffic conditions on the drive to Hamilton.
“Most of the work I get is in Auckland. But I’m currently going through Cisco training in Hamilton. I’m currently broadening out to do more of the Cisco networking side.”
He says he is an avid self learner of IT systems and practices, although the Cisco badge will be a good thing to have. “It’ll be good to have the badge but it’s also good to have all round skills. In this market place it’s certainly worth learning things that are not just the base of a switch and ten users, it’s good to go beyond that. It gives you the grounding on a great range of things. And if you get people who have a Cisco router then you’re fully up to speed with that.”
But he says simply working with people and discovering new practices is all part of the job. “When you go into different environments you have to come up to speed with that and people do things in different ways and it’s good to get a broad appreciation of that. Especially things like change control, which is not a technical skill, but people implement it differently and that skill is certainly crucial in dealing with the clients’ systems.”
Eatock has been in the IT business for a long time and even knows what a Token Ring network is.
He tells the story on his web site blog at Nebulacomputers.co.nz he says, “I started to be interested in IT in about 1983 at the tender age of 13. We were not well off as a family and my parents could not afford such things as computers so I would visit the local co-op ( a bit like the New Zealand Farmers department stores of today) in my home town and play on the computers on display, they included Dragon 32, ZX81, Amstrad, Commodore VIC20 and the Sinclair Spectrum.
“It started by me typing in:
10 Print "Andrew was here".
20 GOTO 10
This would quickly fill the screen up with "Andrew was here" and I would leave smiling away to myself knowing it would be seen by all the customers until the shop assistant would stop the program running.”
In the UK He began a professional career in 1988 working with IBM PC XT, Act Sirius and POS systems in Sainsbury’s and Iceland frozen foods as senior tech and moved on to analysis for a large insurance company. Since moving to NZ from the UK he has worked on large scale server farms at Fonterra and internet security at the Hamilton City Council, as well being a field service engineer in the Waikato.
The CCNA certificate should be no problem then? “Yeah, it’s going quite well, I’m enjoying it.”
Nebula Computers currently offers PC support, server support and administration, with clients around the Waikato including small businesses and personal PC users, but when Eatock is working in Auckland he is usually working for larger enterprises, such as the Auckland District Health Board.
Nebula’s web site features many useful links for customers and his aforementioned running blog by Eatock and his wife Jan who is a partner in the business with him. He says the other main avenues of advertising besides the web site are The TK Chatter, which is a North Waikato local newspaper and also the North Waikato News.
The couple also share a passion for dog breeding with a speciality of Cavalier King Charles spaniels and they also run a boarding kennel for small family dogs. Eatock is the club secretary for the largest cavalier spaniel club in NZ.
He says he keeps the supply of hardware to his SMB and PC customers simple using only PB Tech, because of the ease of sale, saving time and energy over having to deal with individual vendors and the inevitable account administration that goes along with that territory.
The strategy provides his customers with a little extra saving because he’s not spending extra time finding gear or discussing product lines with vendor sales staff, leaving more time to dedicate to learning new systems and having fun with his dogs.