About the podcast
Join Paddy Dhanda, QA’s Agile Practice Director, and John Gordon, Software Practice Director, on their mission to inspire anyone into technology, regardless of background, and meet some amazing tech industry guests.
Meet the hosts
Paddy has specialised as an Agile practitioner since 2004. He has built up real-world experiences across multiple industries, including financial services, consulting, telecommunications, government, automotive, and many more.
John is a driven technology professional who embraces all aspects of learning development and inspiring others. He has vast experience in software and has a strong passion for cloud-native engineering.
Episode 1: Introduction to DevOps with Mark Solomon
Mark Solomon, QA’s DevOps Practice Director gives you the ins-and-outs of DevOps:
- What is DevOps?
- What does DevOps mean?
- Why DevOps is critical in achieving business goals
- Why you should be interested in DevOps
- Do Agile & DevOps fit together and how?
Mark Solomon, DevOps Practice Director
Mark is a master technology architect and IT strategist with over 21 years' experience designing and delivering innovative IT solutions at scale, using DevOps and Agile practices.
His experience features countless examples of where he's been a cornerstone to building the strategic approach for IT transformation with some of the world’s most well-known brands and progressive organisations; as well as initiatives where has marshalled massive global teams to deliver these strategies on an enterprise scale.
Mark’s abilities to create both the strategic and technology vision as well as drive their delivery allows him to break the silos that too often derail DevOps transformation initiatives, which makes him uniquely suited to help advise and guide our clients taking that same journey.
As the QA DevOps Practice Director, Mark continues his career of DevOps leadership from his previous leadership roles at Accenture, which includes Global Lead DevOps Platforms Architect, Global DevOps Strategy Lead, and Global DevOps Training Lead.
Episode 2: Agile certification distilled: ICAgile with Elisia Choi and Susana Esparza
- How organisations can achieve true agility
- Why agility is achieved through people not processes
- What are the current trends in the industry
- How agility transcends technology into business agility
- How ICAgile’s Business Agility roadmap can help you achieve organisational transformation
- The benefits of certification
Elisia is the Sr. Director of Marketing at ICAgile where she is responsible for all aspects of ICAgile’s marketing efforts, including strategy, customer communications, branding, and media relations. She has more than 15 years of experience in strategic communication across various industries including finance, tech, energy efficiency, and fashion. She has won numerous awards and has landed media coverage for high-profile brands such as Microsoft Bing and the Port of San Diego. Elisia received an M.A. in Communication from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a B.A. in Communication from the University of California, Davis.
Susana is the Director of Member Programs at ICAgile where she is responsible for core products and services offered in support of ICAgile’s mission and Member Organizations. Prior to joining ICAgile, she worked across various industries as an agile practitioner and business leader, helping organisations pinpoint business goals, identify customer needs, increase efficiencies and drive teams to success. Her international background enables her to leverage her fluency in multiple languages to build connections for businesses and relate with different audiences. Susana is passionate about exceptional digital experiences and was pivotal in earning her team an award with Nielsen Norman Group. Susana received a Master’s in Information Systems Technology from George Washington University and two Bachelor’s from Webster University (B.S. Computer Science and B.A. Business Administration).
Episode 3: Agile certification distilled: APMG with Richard Pharro
- Who APMG are and why they have certified over 2m learners globally
- The breadth of their certification portfolio
- How their portfolio has developed in line with business needs and technology over the years
- The ‘culture’ of certification
- Why certification is even more important right now in looking for new roles
- The Obashi methodology that helps you see dataflow
- The success of the Agile Project Manager qualification
- The up-coming trends in training and certification
- The rapidly accelerating world of virtual learning
Richard is the founder and CEO of APMG, one of the few privately owned international accreditation and certification bodies. Started in 1995, APMG has expanded its portfolio to 66 products across the management spectrum on behalf of many National and International organisations and has offices in 14 countries.
Richard is a Chartered Director and Civil Engineer who, in his early career, worked on projects in Europe and the Middle East. His book, The Relationship Manager – The Next Generation of Project Management, was published by Gower in January 2003.
Richard believes APMG’s success is due to the organisation’s focus on innovation and customer service. He was delighted when in 2012 APMG was recognised for the hard work and commitment of everyone within APMG by being granted The Queens Award for Enterprise in the International trade category.
Episode 4: Cloud Academy, the online training platform, with Andy Larkin
- What the Cloud Academy platform is all about
- How Cloud Academy can help you be even more successful in your tech roles
- What content and courses does the platform contain
- How Cloud Academy’s blended approach works for all learning types
- The importance of Certifications through the platform
Andy Larkin – Head of Content, Cloud Academy
Andy is fanatical about helping business teams gain the maximum ROI possible from adopting, using and optimizing Public Cloud Services. Having built 100+ Cloud Academy courses, Andy has helped over 90,000 students master cloud computing by sharing the skills and experiences he gained during 20+ years leading digital teams in code and consulting. Before joining Cloud Academy Andy worked for AWS and for AWS technology partners Ooyala and Adobe.
Episode 5: A CEO’s perspective on learning with Paul Geddes, CEO of QA Limited
John & Paddy talk to QA’s CEO, Paul Geddes, about his career journey and how he ended-up at the helm of a tech learning company. Hear about:
- His career journey
- What an average day looks like for him
- Why he joined QA and what he loves about the business
- His favourite things about working for a tech company
- What exciting projects are in the horizon for QA
- His best bit of advice for someone getting into a tech career
Paul Geddes – CEO, QA Limited
Paul Geddes joined QA as CEO in September 2019. Prior to joining, Paul was CEO of Direct Line Group (DLG), where he led the successful IPO of the business, delivering strong customer and business performance. Under his leadership, DLG was recognised in the top three of the Sunday Times Best Big Companies to Work For ranking.
Paul is a Non-Executive Director of Channel 4 Television Corporation.
Prior to Direct Line Group, Paul was CEO of RBS Group’s mainland UK retail banking business, following a successful career in multichannel retailing and marketing at leading companies such as Kingfisher, GUS and Procter & Gamble. He read PPE at Oxford.
Episode 6: The power of design thinking for better customer insights, with Joseph Charm
Joseph Charm (Senior Technical Learning Specialist, Application & Website Development) talks to Paddy Dhanda, QA’s Agile Practice Director about Design Thinking including:
- How Joseph’s career journey took him from Sales to Banking to Digital Transformation
- What is Design Thinking
- Why he is so passionate about Design Thinking and the way it puts users/customers at the centre of design
- How Design Thinking can help individuals and organisations keep up with the pace of technological change
- Why even successful organisations can be at risk of failure
- How Design Thinking is critical to harnessing the power of consumers and data as a valuable commodity
- What are the 5 key phases of Design Thinking
- The importance of critiquing ideas and development
- Who can benefit the most from Design Thinking training
- Why Design Thinking requires a mindset change
- What is Design Sprinting and Service Blueprinting
Learn more about these innovative courses now:
Senior Technical Learning Specialist - Application & Website Development, Certified Scrum Master, Professional Scrum Product Owner, AgilePM Practitioner
Coming from various sales and banking roles Joseph has a track record of successfully designing and delivering digital transformation interventions to some of the world’s largest brands, including HSBC, Barclays and Facebook to name a few. Currently Joseph creates and delivers high-impact, immersive learning experiences on digital transformation programmes with several FTSE100 organisations, from front-line staff to CEO's. The Latest projects include, HSBC, Barclays, BBC and many other including designing and executing blended learning workshops for these organisations undergoing large scale transformational change. More recently Joseph has been delivering Design Thinking courses to Atos Graduates.
Joseph also currently works on a mentoring programme spending time with CEO’s, coaching them around the digital change the world is currently going through. He has been doing this for the last 3 years. Prior to this he worked as a Portfolio Management associate at HSBC CMB, he had the duty of managing a wide spread of businesses building new relationships and spotting growth opportunities.
Episode 7: Get Tech with David Walker and Joseph Charm
Joseph Charm, Senior Technical Learning Specialist, Application & Website Development, and David Walker, Data & Digital Transformation Practice Director, talk to Paddy Dhanda, QA’s Agile Practice Director, about their career experiences and the new GetTech programme. They discuss:
- What are the most in-demand tech skills at the moment?
- What are some of the tech challenges facing organisations today?
- What can help businesses succeed in their technical transformations?
- Why data skills are key across all roles in business.
- What is the GetTech programme and why will it be useful?
- How complex technology can be easily mastered.
- How technology can be used to make better business decisions.
Senior Technical Learning Specialist – Application & Website Development, Certified Scrum Master, Professional Scrum Product Owner, AgilePM Practitioner
Coming from various sales and banking roles, Joseph has a track record of successfully designing and delivering digital transformation interventions to some of the world’s largest brands, including HSBC, Barclays and Facebook, to name a few. Currently, Joseph creates and delivers high-impact, immersive learning experiences on digital transformation programmes with several FTSE100 organisations, from front-line staff to CEOs. His latest projects include designing and executing blended learning workshops for HSBC, Barclays, BBC and many other organisations undergoing large-scale transformational change. Most recently Joseph has been delivering Design Thinking courses to Atos graduates.
Joseph also currently works on a mentoring programme spending time with CEOs, coaching them around the digital change the world is currently going through. Prior to this, he worked as a portfolio management associate at HSBC CMB, he had the duty of managing a wide spread of businesses building new relationships and spotting growth opportunities.
David is a learning and transformation consultant with 20 years' experience in creating technical and learning strategies for emerging technology and digital transformation.
Currently leading QA’s practices in Data & Digital Transformation across learning, consulting and apprenticeships, he has developed and launched capabilities and portfolios in agile engineering, design thinking, DevOps, data science, engineering and AI during his time with QA.
David possesses significant experience in developing talent and transformation programmes at scale, which support executive leadership and L&D teams in talent development objectives. He has deep experience across public and private organisations, including sectors such as finance, health, telecoms and government for clients including MOD, DWP, Natwest Group, PA Consulting, Microsoft, AWS and Google.
Episode 8: Scrum.org with Eric Naiburg
Eric Naiburg, COO, Scrum.org talks to Paddy Dhanda, QA’s Agile Practice Director and John Gordon, QA’s Software Practice Director to dispel some of the myths around Scrum and the different certifications that are available from Scrum.org and much more, including:
- How Scrum.org can help agilists on their learning journey
- How and where to start your learning journey - whether you’re brand new to Scrum or already a practitioner
- What the differences are between the Scrum.org certifications
- Why Scrum.org believes in and supports the ‘always learning’ approach rather than re-certification
- Must-have reading recommendations for anyone considering a career in Scrum
- What’s on the future roadmap for Scrum.org
- Advice on how to start your career journey in tech or Scrum/agility
Chief Operating Officer – Scrum.org
Eric is co-author of UML for Database Design and UML for Mere Mortal. Eric is responsible for all aspects of marketing, support, outbound communications, Professional Scrum Trainer programs, partners and operations for Scrum.org. Eric was program director at IBM and Rational Software where he was originally hired in 1999 by original Scrum Team member John Scumniotales for who he worked for several years and worked closely with another original Scrum Team member Jeff McKenna sitting in the next desk. At IBM and Rational Eric was responsible for application lifecycle management (ALM), DevOps, Data Governance and Agile solutions. Previously he held the role of director of marketing for INetU (now ViaWest). Before INetU, Eric has held product management and marketing roles with other organizations including: Ivar Jacobson Consulting, CAST Software and Logic Works Inc. (Acquired by Platinum Technologies and CA), as product manager for ERwin.