Episode 82 – Understand How and Why Things Work with Kevin L Jackson
In this episode Phil’s guest is Kevin L Jackson, who is a senior information technologist specializing in information technology solutions that meet critical business and mission operational requirements.
Kevin is founder and CEO of Gov Cloud Network. He is also a published author and a regular speaker. Over the years, he has worked with many different companies including IBM, JPMorgan Chase &Co, and the SENTEL Corporation. He also enjoyed a 15-year US Navy career as a pilot and aeronautical engineer.
(0.52) – Phil asks Kevin to tell everyone a little more about himself. Kevin explains that his IT career began while he was serving in the Navy. For 10 years he was a carrier pilot but later he trained as an aerospace engineer. In that role he worked on Low Earth Orbit Systems which are used to deliver vital information to the Navy and Marine Corps. His work as an aeronautical engineer gradually led him into the IT sector. This was before the modern internet existed. Instead he worked with the early packet-switching network, The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), and HoTMetal, one of the earliest HTML authoring software packages.
(4.21) – Phil asks Kevin if he has a unique career tip to share. Kevin’s advice is – “Don’t do a job unless you have a personal goal in doing it, unless at the end of your timeframe and that job you’re going to attain a goal that you want.”
(5.18) – Phil then asks Kevin what you should do if you lose enthusiasm for a project part way through. Kevin explains you need to remember that everything in life is connected. While completing that job you will inevitably learn new skills that will benefit you in the future. Every year, Kevin imagines where he wants to be in five years and works out how what he has learned in the previous year can be used to get him to where he wants to be.
(6.10) – Phil points out that every career has its ups and downs. The path to success is not a linear one.
(6.40) – Phil asks Kevin to share his worse IT career moment. Kevin went on to talk about the fear he felt when he lost a job because the firm he was working for went out of business. It was an experience that demonstrated to him the importance of building a true career and believing in himself. The fact that he had done this enabled him to fall back on his network and quickly identify his next step.
(7.50) – Phil then wanted to know about Kevin’s career highlight. When he left the military, Kevin worked on the New Horizon spacecraft for NASA, which travelled to Pluto and photographed it. Working on this project was his career highlight. But, unusually, it took him 10 years to realize this was the case. The spacecraft took 10 years to reach the planet and for Kevin’s work to bear fruit. Only at that point did he really understand that he had worked on something that the whole of humanity could benefit from.
(10.11) – Phil asked Kevin to tell everyone what it is about the future of the IT industry and careers that excites him. For Kevin the fact that IT is now a business driver rather than just a “must do” task is exciting. Information Technology is now seen as an enabler. Technology is now pushing the pace of business change.
(12.06) – What is the best career advice you’ve ever received? Surprisingly, Kevin said it came from The Art of War by Sun Tzu. Simply put it is “know thy self”.
(12.36) – Phil asked Kevin what he would do if he were to start his IT career again. Kevin said he would focus on the application of the technology rather than the details of the information technology. He explained that you need to understand how and why stuff works.
(13.22) – What are you focusing on now Kevin? Building a strong network is an important aspect of any successful career. Kevin explained that connecting with others, understanding their thoughts and exchanging ideas all help to bring your own thoughts and ideas into sharper focus. Doing this has really helped Kevin to accelerate his career.
(14.33) – Phil asked Kevin, What is your number one non-technical skill? Kevin explained that writing was something he struggled with for many years. He did not really see it as an important or relevant skill for him. When he started to write his blog he began to find writing much easier and found that doing it drastically improved his ability to communicate.
(15.49) – Kevin shares a last piece of career advice by explaining that it is important not to underestimate the power of social media connections. They are crucial.
(4.32) Kevin – “The best thing to do for any career is to do something you love. If you’re not doing something that you enjoy, you won’t be good at it.”
(6.10) Phil – “Using what you’ve learned, what you’ve taken on board over the recent period to understand where you might be able to go in the future.”
(6.19) Kevin – “You’re always doing a course correction in your career. Don’t expect to be right at the very beginning. You don’t know enough to be right.”
(6.32) Phil – “A lot of people think about careers as being linear, and they’re not at all They take all sorts of routes and paths and ups and downs.”
(7.58) Kevin – “A lot of highlights in your life come from things that you don’t expect.”
(10.18) Kevin – “IT is no longer just something you have to do to be in business, it drives business, it creates new business models.”
(12.10) Kevin – “The best career advice actually came from a book, Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and it was basically – know thy self.”
(13.29) Kevin – “Your career is really mostly about your network and the network, in today’s world, is mostly not a physical network. It’s a virtual network.”
CONTACT KEVIN L JACKSON:
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/kjackson/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/Kevin_Jackson @kevin_jackson
Personal Website – http://kevinljackson.blogspot.com/
Company Website – http://www.govcloudnetwork.com/