A day in the life of…Jez, Head of Technology at Torpedo

 Image of Jeremy Onion

Want to know more about the life of a senior tech professional?  Our Head of Technology, Jez, takes us through his day and his career to date…

What’s your role at Torpedo, and how long have you been here?

My current role is Head of Technology and I’ve been here just over 6 years.  When I first joined as a Technical Director, I was purely responsible for the development team, so I was only dealing with digital projects at that point.  Eventually I took ownership of the internal IT team.  It made sense for me to have an overview of that because of my technical background and later I was promoted to my current position. 

What exactly does your role entail? Can you run us through what you might get up to today, for example?

I have oversight of anything and everything to do with technology within the business.  So that could be managing the development of the infrastructure teams, discussing projects with clients, investigating new technologies that are coming online. Today I’ve been involved in some discussions on projects, working on our ISMS (we’re ISO 27001 accredited), I’ll be doing some appraisals this afternoon and I’ll be attending a client meeting later too!  

What tools/resources/people do you depend on to get your job done?

Everyone in my team, which contains 12 people split between infrastructure and development. I provide direction but they’re the ones who do all the good work, all the websites we produce, all the problems that we resolve, all the IT work that we do internally. I’m there to help them keep moving in the right direction but everything we do is down to them. 

Google is a tool that no developer would be without obviously, along with Stack Overflow, but my role nowadays is all about relationships so those are what I really depend on every day. 

What do you love most about your job at Torpedo? What’s the highlight of your day?

I think probably it’s the team, but also the variety of work we get to do as well.  Here at Torpedo we have the chance to work on so many different things, so many different cool technologies and cool projects with brilliant clients, but it all comes back to the people you’re working with. For me, this is one of the best places I’ve ever worked. 

The highlight of my day is helping one my team solve a problem, getting something to work, investigating new tech, or a great client call, just something that makes me sit back and think, yes, that went well. 

Here at Torpedo we have the chance to work on so many different things, so many cool technologies and cool projects with brilliant clients

And what do you find most challenging?

Sometimes you’ve really got to fight fire and think on your feet just to get things back on track, which happens in every business. That can be quite challenging, but I really enjoy problem solving, the payoff is always worth it and that makes the job so rewarding.

Is there a particular piece of work/project that you’re really proud of?

Most recently it was achieving ISO 27001, which took a massive amount of work from the whole team. We poured our heart and soul into it and came through it with a glowing report from the auditor.  The other thing that I’m really proud of is the team that we’ve built, we’ve got fantastic people and it’s a joy leading them.

What did you see yourself doing when you were a kid?

When I was in school, at about the age of 12 I really wanted to be a draughtsman, and then I did a week of work experience in a drawing office, which put me off for life!

If you weren’t Head of Development, what do you think you’d be?

Unemployed?! Haha. I’d still be a developer of some sort, one of the key things I really enjoy is problem solving, and for me, development is pure problem solving so it would have to be something in that area. 

 Jez speaking at the Torpedo February 2023 All Hands Meeting

What made you choose this career path? How did you get to where you are today?

I fell into development whilst working for small mail order businesses. Back then I was generating management reports which took a couple of weeks to produce. I rolled up my sleeves, did a bit of programming and got the process down to about 2 hours!  I’d been programming for a while but eventually became an IT manager and fell into a web development role when someone else left, it all went from there really. Later I worked for a larger business where I grew their development team and became the de-facto team leader, which was my first introduction to management.

When your OOO is on, what are you likely to be doing?

Chances are I’ll be watching a film, playing on the PlayStation, swimming or out for a walk.  We have a dog, who is cross between a golden retriever and a Japanese akita, so we like to walk in places like the Forest of Dean or Crickley Hill and other nature reserves near us.

What’s your favourite memory of working at Torpedo to date?

There are so many! Probably the socials, we have some really good fun at those.  My first Christmas party was quite an eye-opener into some of the characters in the team, and our 15th birthday party at the Gherkin in London, now that was something else, really impressive!

What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever been given?

There are two which I set my star by, one is from my father, who said that his job as a manager was to make sure that his team were equipped to do their jobs without him – he said that if you could disappear for two weeks without anyone noticing then you were doing a good job.  The other one was an old boss of mine, who always said question everything, if the answer is “we tried other ways and they didn’t work for us” that’s fine, but if someone says “that’s the way we’ve always done it” that’s the wrong answer! 

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