Andy Forber

Who I am and what I do.

This article is fairly long, so I won't blame you if you want to skip to these steps:

So where do you begin when trying to talk about yourself? I won't bore you with the whole, "Well, in 1989 I was born to a mother...". Not even I'm interested in that story. So I'll start with my life professionally:

Aside from working in pubs and nightclubs for around 6 years, I finally landed a job with a sense of normality. I had always been to guy you said "Why's my PC so damn slow!" to. The one people went to for advice on a new phone, or best internet package to subscribe to. I was good with computers, but had zero proof when coming to job interviews.

I took a year apprenticeship with my local council, working towards some sort of NVQ in IT Proficiency (no idea of the real name). This way, I could get some working experience as well as something on paper!

elearning luton council

I didn't work directly with the councils IT department, but we were a branch called eLearning who dealt with all the schools. I spent the next year installing Mac's and PC's into schools. Networking printers and basic server maintenance. When I wasn't doing this, I was working with local kids to improve their IT skills. Some classes were from schools with children who had learning difficulties, whilst others were in some sort of after school club.

I actually had my first taste of working in a professional recording studio here. There was a school band who wanted to learn music production and recording for their music GCSE. I was bought roughly up to speed on controlling Logic, setting up microphones and off we went. To this day, I can't hear 'Sunshine of Your Love' without thinking about them.

So whilst I was doing this apprenticeship, I was still working in one nightclub and one pub. Apprenticeship wages are nothing to write home about, but the experience most definitely paid off.

A DJ of the nightclub also worked during the day so a managed print company. One night, after I had networked all of the TV's to a computer to play some cheesy videos and drinks deals, he said "I didn't know you could do that sort of stuff! My company has just opened a branch around here and they're looking for IT competent engineers"

"Well blow me away" I thought. I was just coming to the end of my apprenticeship and this falls in my lap!

Naturally, I applied for the role of 'Trainee Engineer' as soon as I woke up the next afternoon... After a few weeks, I got the job! Freedom! Freedom from 8pm starts and 6am finishes. Freedom from cleaning the girls toilets and vacuuming the steepest stairs in the world!

Starting as a trainee, I was shadowing another engineer for around three months. Our site was the University of Bedfordshire. They had around 300 printers and copiers, all running through a secure follow-me print system, Safecom. It was here that would set me up in the company. Our Professional Services team were stretched beyond belief, so when we needed Safecom installing onto a machine, we could wait a few days before we got anyone to take a look. The solution: learn how to do it yourself. This way, when a machine needed wiping, or it had moved on the network, or any of the other reasons we'd need Safecom reinstalling, I could do it there and then. The down time went from a few days, to a few hours.

University of Bedfordshire

This got me a little noticed in the company. I was asked to update a reinstall all the machines in a fairly local National Health Trust. This repetitive task really cemented the process for me.

I'm going to start moving a bit faster now, because, if you're still here, you know the basics.

After nearly two years, I wanted out of the University and applied for a role in the Professional Services team. Whilst I wasn't successful, I was offered another posistion as an onsite engineer at a private bank in London's Square Mile. Working there for another two years gave me so much experience with networking and troubleshooting a wide variety of things. I even sat on their helpdesk when my calls were low which exposed me to things like Active Directory and SQL.

Skip ahead a few year of Senior Tech work, our company got bought by a smaller competitor after a large investment. My job was at risk, as they already had their own Senior Technicians. Luckily, I managed to secure a role as a Technical Specialist. Basically, third line support for the engineers. Day-to-day, I can be working onsite with an engineer, assist over the phone or provide remote support.

Naturally, being such a varied job, it's very challenging which is just fine by me.

Most recently, we've since been bought again by HP Inc. Kept separate from the core HP Inc, we're able to influence the way they work and implement firmware fixes. We as a company, see the most HP machines in the UK, so we're able to pass on the issues we see and the fixes we find very efficiently.

Personal:

My story sort of begins when I was around 10. IT and art were my two favourite lessons in school. Drawing was something I had when I had nothing else and this website, Google, was making a name for itself. So much so that our IT teacher, Mr Wragg, spent a lesson teaching us how to use it.

I remember having a chat bot installed on some of the PC's. Some automated program that would spew out failry accurate responses based on what you had typed. After the novelty had worn off, I tried my best to break the program, typing in sentences that made no sense just to see what it would say back.



Professional (short):

I'm Andy Forber! I work for a the largest Managed Print Services company in Europe, Apogee Corp.

Through procurement, I have worked for the company for 6 years, progressing through 4 different roles to my current role as a Techincal Specialist.

As a team, we provide support for the engineers and Senior Technicains when they get stuck on a problem.

I personally specialise in networking, solutions like Safecom and Papercut and server managment as well as MFD core services like scan-to-email/folder, LDAP etc, although a good deal of my work is generated through hardware faults.

Qualifications:

Find me on LinkedIn


Personal (short):

Projects galore! It all really started when I left my bar job and ended up having weekends off. I started buying guitars off eBay and doing them up. New electrics, re-finish, the lot. When I finished my fourth guitar, I moved onto 3D printing. Head first and full speed, I bought a Solidoodle 2 3D printer. I still have it, but it must be at least a year since I last used it.

It wasn't long before I had created a networked print server using a Raspberry Pi. I used a domain name with DDNS to access the server over the Internet. I had hooked up a camera to the Raspberry Pi so I could keep an eye on my prints whilst I was away.

It wasn't long after this that I started a band with a couple friends. After writing a bunch of songs, I had an idea to record them on an old school 8 track. Whilst this did't work out, it pushed me to find a solution. You can read more about this story here, but three albums later, we're still going strong.