IT Leaders: David Vered

The best managers are not afraid to hire people who challenge them

When David Vered spoke to David Gee he was infrastructure manager at Universal Music Australia; Vered has since moved to the UK where he’s taken on a cloud consultant role as part of his career pathway.

David, in your most recent role as the infrastructure manager for Universal Music Australia what were your key responsibilities?

I was responsible for the creation of the infrastructure cloud strategy as well as co creation of the application cloud strategy. This also involved the design, management and deployment of new infrastructure projects.

On a day to day level I managed the teams responsible for local helpdesk and server support.

You have been working with various on-premise and cloud solutions. What excites you most?

Finding elegant solutions to complex problems and empowering people with efficient and easy to use systems. The new technologies I am getting really excited about are things like DevOps, Lambda and Docker which allow for extremely efficient use of compute platforms.

This is not only exciting from the commercial implications in that you are only charged for precisely the compute you use, but also for the positive environmental impact of a smaller total global server footprint this will lead to.

You took the investment of time and money to complete a Master’s degree recently. What motivated you and did you feel that you are a better manager as a result of this?

I feel that the best thing you can spend money on is education, so when I became a manager I actively sought out formal training to help enhance my knowledge in this area. When I found a master’s degree from a reputable institution that would also take into account the industry training I had already completed I jumped at it.

This has improved my managerial skills and style in several ways. The master’s degree has given me a broader view of business operations and strategy allowing me to make more holistic decisions. It also encouraged me to deeply reflect and examine my managerial style, allowing me to make positive tweaks and adjustments.

When you think about CIOs that you model yourself on, what attributes have you tried to emulate?

To me, the best managers and CIOs are not afraid to hire people who challenge them and push those around them to excel. Personally I like to encourage all my team members to educate themselves, skill up and certify as much as possible.

Also I try to foster creative thinking, sometimes this is through orthodox methods like encouraging the use of new technology, or via unorthodox methods like taking the entire team to TEDxSydney.

Do you find that coaching staff is something that you do fairly naturally or is this an area where you have focused on developing your skills?

I think it's a combination of both. Naturally I am a people person so I enjoy working with others, which is an advantage when coaching someone. That being said, there are certainly techniques I have learned through both experience and education that have given me the tools to coach others better.

What’s the best piece of career advice that you ever received?

The best career advice I was given is that the best thing you can do with money is spend it on education. To that end, I began my career by paying for my own MCSE, the cost of which at the time was more than half a year’s salary and I have never once regretted it. Since then I have been lucky enough to go on many more courses and educational seminars, some of them offered by my employer and other self-funded. The knowledge I have gained and the subsequent doors it has opened has made each one very much worthwhile.

When there is a crisis, what is your normal position: Are you the manager who is on the whiteboard, or are you the one on the phone?

I previously worked in mainly global companies so when there was an issue I usually needed to be on the phone to one team or another on the other side of the planet as part of the resolution. That being said when we hit a major problem I would l brainstorm ideas with my team to resolve it, and then assign roles to each team member to ensure we were all actively working together to achieve the same goal.

Have you used career mentors to help guide you? What have you learnt from this?

Yes, I have used career mentors and a good one can be worth their weight in gold. A mentor who is willing to be a sounding board for ideas or share their knowledge and experience with you can be an positive influence and of great assistance.

Although I am aware of formal mentor programs such as the one hosted by ACS, I still haven't found it extremely easy or natural to engage mentors this way. Instead I prefer to reach out to people that give presentations or write articles that inspire me. Building my network this way and then finding and engaging mentors organically.

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