Episode 9 – Build Your Talent Stack with Mark Robinson

 In Podcasts

Mark Robinson is a senior software consultant having fulfilled roles such as a developer, tester, team leader and project leader.  He is currently based in the Netherlands and has presented at TEDx Eindhoven on presentations skills.

Time Stamped Show Notes

(01:00) – Phil introduces Mark Robinson

(01:28) – Mark tell us that he has spent the last two decades working in Eindhoven

(01:38) – Mark then provides an overview of his programming, testing and consultancy background

(01:52) – Mark also mentions his presentations skills coaching as well as development of his training business (www.markrobinsontraining.com)

(02:08) – Mark says that technical people aren’t necessarily great at presenting and getting their message across

(02:22) – Unique Career Tip: Mark says, “Family first”

(02:41) – Mark believes that it’s important to spend quality time at home with family

(02:49) – Time: “If you never go home late you have a job.  If you go home late occasionally, you have a career.  If you always go home late, you don’t have a life.”

(03:03) – Mark talks about how he manages his time

(03:17) – Quality: “I really want to do quality work, but I want to put as much effort into my home life as my work life.”

(03:27) – Mark talks about the activities he does with his family to strengthen those relationships as well as his own, personal time

(04:12) – Mark says that your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual states all have an impact on your career

(04:44) – Phil comments that this is often referred to as, “Work Life Balance”, although Phil believes that it is really “Work Life Integration”

(04:58) – Phil also says that Cost is another factor which he believes is relevant when discussing Quality and Time

(05:37) – Mark quotes the phrase, “Whatever you water will grow”, referring to your investment of time in what you do.

 (05:47) – Worst Career Moment: Mark describes how his life as a consultant means that he his suitability for roles varies from client to client

(06:18) – Mark believes that he is able to influence the direction of a role to make it more enjoyable and of more value to the client

(06:28) – Mark talks about how he went from a role he loved to one that he hated

(06:52) – Mark found that, although the people were great, the role was dull and very bureaucratic, and that he felt he couldn’t improve the situation

(07:18) – Mark says he got into a downward spiral, being more irritable at home and eating badly.  And eventually physical symptoms resulting in taking a few days off from work

(07:54) – Fortunately the project ended and Mark was able to move on to a new role

(08:11) – Mark believes that you need to be very mindful of how good a match your current role is to your skillset and interests

(08:21) – Mark describes a simple exercise to help you evaluate your current role

(09:10) – Mark recommends that if you are not enjoying your role, set yourself a date by which it must have improved particularly if it is affecting your happiness.  You are if the driving seat of your career

(09:29) – Mark also says that if your work is at the cost of your health you need to get out urgently

(09:40) – Career Highlight / Greatest Success: Mark provides two highlights.  The first I.T. related and the second about personal achievement

(09:59) – Mark describes how he introduced a Wiki to a company and also how it has become indispensable to the company

(10:16) – Mark conducted a survey to understand the time saved by introduction of the Wiki which was, on average, four hours per person per week

(10:50) – Mark talks about entering the Wiki into a technology competition, which they won based upon the votes of his colleagues

(11:10) – Mark then describes how he entered a TEDx pitch event to present at TEDx Eindhoven

(12:04) – Mark mentions that he now runs workshops and training about “How to present to keep your audience’s attention”

(12:14) – What Excites You About The Future of a Career in I.T.? Mark quotes the expression, “Software is eating the world”

(12:32) – Mark talks about software replacing hardware, such as email replacing post

(12:45) – Mark also talks about project methodologies, such as Agile, being used in non-I.T. business activities

(13:04) – Other examples of how software is changing the world include Uber, Airbnb, Facebook and Google all of which are facilitators of change

(13:32) – Mark believes that we are only limited by our imagination.  You can do almost anything in the I.T. world

(13:58) – The Reveal

(14:05) – What attracted you to an I.T. career in the first place? – “I tried an evening programming course and loved it.  I then started applying for work at I.T. companies.”

(14:57) – What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? – “It’s important that you recognise that you’re behind the steering wheel of your career,” and from Scott Adams, “You need to build your talent stack”

(16:36) – If you were to begin your I.T. career again, right now, what would you do? – “I’d start earlier.  Start as early as you can”

(17:13) – What career objectives are you focusing on right now? – “A new project leader role and developing my own presentation skills business”

(17:58) – What’s the number one non-technical skill that has helped you in your career so far? – “Presentation skills, no question”

(18:38) – A Parting Piece of Career Advice: Mark says that you must continue developing your skills and building your talent stack

(18:51) – Every new skill you learn increases your career opportunities as well as your market value

(18:57) – Develop your ability to deliver a message to a group

(19:04) – Marks suggests checking out his TEDx talk “How to present to keep your audience’s attention”

3 Key Points:        

  1. Ensure that you put your family first
  2. You’re behind the steering wheel of your career
  3. Keep developing your skills and build your talent stack

Resources Mentioned:

  • MarkRobinsonTraining – Mark’s website
  • LinkedIn – Mark’s LinkedIn profile
  • YouTube – Mark’s TEDx presentation: “How To Present To Keep Your Audience’s Attention”
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