Interview with Johnny La, Technical Analyst at Fairfax Media

This week I thought I’d branch out beyond the marketing and PR sector and interview my mate Johnny La who works as a Technical Support Analyst at Fairfax Media. At first the heavy technical language on his LinkedIn profile had me scratching my head for a while and I ended up sending a few emails over asking him to clarify what it is he actually does Fairfax. But as you’ll see, we got there in the end. Read on to find out about Johnny’s career path, his highlight role to date and his observations on trends in the IT industry.

1. I was taking a look at your LinkedIn profile and noticed that you’ve worked in quite a range of industries – Department of Defence, Marsh & McLennan, Tabcorp – can you tell us a little about your career path to date?

This is actually quite a funny one, as I actually planned to get into more of a technical role. As part of my IT degree, I completed a networking sub-major, but never embraced that side of IT. IT tends to be like that, you usually end up somewhere different compared to what you have planned.

I started off as a Software Tester at DoD, then moved into a Technical Business Analyst role at Marsh. From there I moved over to Tabcorp, now Echo Entertainment and did more of a business support role which had some project coordination work tied into it. After a couple of years at Tabcorp I moved back into a Business Analyst role with a small startup company called Travelogix, but due to the upset in the financial market the investors pulled out and unfortunately that adventure ended. Now I find myself at Fairfax doing more of a technical role that is tied with some support.

2. What’s been the highlight so far?

Would be definitely be with Tabcorp. I joined at a time where the casino business was changing and as a result so was The Star casino. The revamp of the casino meant there were many projects running at any given point of time. The work was challenging yet rewarding and I met many great people on that journey.

3. Can you give us a quick overview of your current role at Fairfax Media?

My role as a Technical Analyst at Fairfax is quite robust if you want to call it that. I take care of campaign lead delivery, lead management for sales, lead tread analysis and also reporting for management. At the same time I provide technical support to the team as well. You could say it is more of a hybrid role.

4. What’s your day-to-day activity like?

Some days very similar, some days very different. Some days could be full on with back to back meetings regarding campaigns, campaign performance and also lead discovery and delivery. Some days it can be quiet with just a few small technical issues resulting in straight changes on the live database.

5. I’ve noticed that you have quite a range of technical expertise – are these skills gained by on-the-job experience, education or a combination of both?

To be honest, most of the experience is gained on the job, however eduaction does provide great knowledge and also best practises to follow. Sometimes on the job experience might lead to corners being cut. But in my situation it has been a good combination of both.

6. What sort of trends are you seeing in your industry at the moment? How do you think these trends will be shaping the near future?

I see the IT industry evolving quite rapidly, I am certain to say most roles will be outsourced but at the same time new roles are emerging. Think about 10 years ago, no-one knew what Search Engine Optimisation was, but now these roles have popped up everywhere.

7. For anyone looking to get into a similar role, what would be the top advice you’d give them?

Get started with some form of education and start working straight away, this way they will know what they want to do then put more focus into it, not to mention have all that experience under the belt. I find in Australia the IT industry not too critical about qualifications. There are many people in IT roles without the necessary qualifications but all the necessary experience. Then again, it really depends on the industry. IT itself is quite young compared to something like Accounting.

***To get in touch with Johnny, check out his LinkedIn profile***