Welcome to the next feature in our Leaders in Tech editorial series. Speaking to leaders in the industry to capture their stories, career highs and lows, their trials and successes, their current company and their role, most recent projects, advice to others, and the individuals who they most look up to in the industry.
This week, we talked to Koz Georgiou, Group Head of Digital Services and Technology at IQEQ, to find out more about why he joined the tech industry, what his role entails, what are the challenges he faces as a tech leader, and his advice to aspiring engineers and developers.
What is your current role and responsibilities?
I’ve recently moved into a new position here at IQEQ – within the Digital Office team. I lead a team of SharePoint Developers, and Full-stack developers providing solutions across a diverse portfolio of applications
What was your journey like?
I have been very fortunate to work for companies that invested in staff. I’ve also been very inquisitive, curious as to why a problem occurred. I am interested in how different areas of IT work, from Infrastructure to Networks, SQL DB’s to Developers.
My career has given me the opportunity to work with and lead people in all those disciplines. It led me to a better understanding of DevOps.
What drew you to the tech industry?
It was not an area I thought I would enter into many years ago. I slipped into tech support, to begin with as a 1st line support person. I have been lucky to work with companies that invest in people and allowed me to grow. It was one of the factors on reflection that kept me with those companies for many years.
Who do you look up to for inspiration or mentorship?
I admire people who are honest and true to themselves. Those that can listen and change their minds based on reasoned points.
I have also been fortunate enough to have some fantastic mentors, such as Darren Martin, David Tellis, and Rob Clifford. Surrounding myself with clever skilled people has kept me motivated and pushes me forward to always be learning
How do you keep your team motivated despite conflicts and obstacles?
The key for me is to make sure the team knows why they are working on an item. What the value to the business is, and how their contribution helps deliver that value. When we come up against technical obstacles or conflicts within the team or wider business unit I always advise get onto a call. I encourage my teams to talk rather than email when an issue arises.
Working in technology I foster a spirit of change. Technology evolves and so, with my team, I always start out a new year with a single statement: ‘let’s not do the same thing this year we did last year’.
We should be improving our tech stack, bringing in new technology, and new ways of working, and looking to continually improve.
What are your current goals?
To keep on learning. I’m now part of a team where we will have hyper-automation as part of our responsibilities. Most importantly, I want to help develop my team so that we continue to deliver outstanding work back to the business.
What are you the proudest of in your career so far?
There are so many proud moments but here are a few:
- Watching my team members grow in their careers and be promoted
- Championing applications such as OKTA and embedding them into our company
- Working with academics and bringing in young talent into our organization and watching them flourish and create a strong career.
What is the favourite part of your job?
It’s developing a team. My career has been built by working with great people and learning from them.
What has been your greatest challenge as a tech leader?
Covid has been a major challenge. Continuing to lead a large-scale team, supporting them in not only the technical challenges we faced moving to a remote working solution.
But also taking on board the mental health and well-being impact of staying at home. I have found it more important than ever to reach out and talk with my team. To encourage them to take breaks, relax, and look at the bigger picture when faced with work challenges.
What’s the most important risk you took in your career?
I guess, not a risk in my career, but a risk in my life due to my career. With my new role, I decided to leave London and move out with the family to enjoy more space and get away from the daily underground journey. In a role that required frequent international travel with no London base, it felt like the right thing to do for the family.
That has made me think more now of any new role I take on, and where the ‘office’ is based.
What have you learned from your experience so far?
That technology is fun and that you should stay somewhere for as long as you find it interesting and challenging.
Never settle on doing the same job, task, process the same way every year.
Do you have a memorable story or an anecdote from your experience you’d like to tell?
As part of an IT team fitting out an office in Portugal, I had to use my power of negotiation with a caretaker of an apartment block to allow us to thread some cat 5 cablings through the boiler room, common hallway, and then a few drilled holes into the service offices we were fitting out. My Portuguese wasn’t brilliant, so finding a supply shop for all the pieces we needed and getting this all done at the weekend to allow our network team to hook up a VPN for the office was an amazing achievement.
Finally, do you have any advice for aspiring testers and engineers who want to grow in the tech industry?
There is a wealth of good material out there. Make the most of it. This is an industry that is forever changing, so you must stay current.
You can only do this by investing in yourself through education.