Having started his professional career as a warehouse attendant, University of Warwick professor of practice, Mark Skilton has come far. Boasting over 30 years of experience as an IT consultant before becoming an academic, Skilton's career has seen him work with numerous regulatory bodies and agencies, including the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and The Open Group, to help shape and create common IT industry standards.
Keen to help make the next "Google-like ecosystem", Skilton has retained his lofty aspirations and goals since becoming a professor at the university in August 2013. Helping with his dream, Skilton's current research explores defining value and monetisation; multi-channel operating model strategies; data standards, governance and compliance, and visualisation strategies within technology ecosystems.
Eager to get the inside scoop about the man teaching the next generation of business-savvy IT professionals, we put Skilton in our Hot Seat. Skilton's Hot Seat follows those of Barnardo's assistant director of information services Tom Rees and Wildlife charity Conservation International vice president of IT Scott Mills.
V3: What's your favourite part of your current job?
Skilton: For me, it's being able to work with high-quality, great professional people who are experts in their field.
What would be your dream job?
In a perfect world I'd be developing and delivering the next Google-like ecosystem.
Which mobile phone and tablet do you currently use?
I have an iPhone 5 and first-generation iPad.
Which person do you most admire in the IT industry?
Given my choice of devices, I have to say Steve Jobs.
Which technology has had the biggest impact on your working life?
Without a doubt it's Google.
What's been the highlight of your career so far?
For me it was getting my professorship.
What was your first job?
My very first external school job was as a warehouse attendant, I graduated to night shift postal service sorting. It was a great grinding experience and I've never looked back since.
What's your favourite thing about working in the IT industry?
I'd say it's meeting new people from around the world, the industry's infinite variety and diversity and always finding new things to learn and do in IT.
What will be the next big innovation of the coming years?
I think it will be the Internet of Things, followed closely by artificial intelligence.
What do you enjoy doing when you finish work?
I like exploring new things, exercise and life.
What keeps you awake at night?
Not finishing everything I'm meant to during the day.
What was the last book you read and was it any good?
The last book I read was Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life, by Craig Venter.
Who is your favourite band or musician?
There are many I like so it's hard to say. My musical taste ranges from trance music, to classical to jazz, to 80s pop synth to current.
Where's your favourite holiday destination or place for escape?
I like going to the West Coast Bay area.
E-readers or real books?
I prefer e-readers.
Twitter, Facebook or Google+?
Twitter is the one I use the most.
The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
Neither, they are outmoded classifications of a prototypical genre that created base notations of sound constructions that are forerunners of modern interpretations and new advanced contemporary sounds.
I like many different films, but Blade Runner: The Director's Cut is a particular favorite.
Windows or Mac OS?
I uses numerous different operating systems as it's the ecosystem and context of their use that matters.
On-premise or cloud?
Neither, or both, or others, as it depends on the situation. It's just a geography issue for cyber space.
How can we get more school children interested in IT careers?
Have an interesting and engaging IT curriculum that is taught by teachers who actually understand the subject beyond a desktop and on/off switch.
Did you always grow up wanting to work in IT?
Yes I did.
What websites do you have bookmarked at work?
The Wikis I use for work are usually bookmarked. I also use feed readers as documentation systems for reading and content sites. Content is live and always changing in IT and business so you have to keep ahead.
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