Andre Brown is the former CEO and Co-Founder of ATTRAQT, a SaaS platform that provides visual merchandising and search services to some of the world’s leading online retailers. Having started his career as a salesman for Sheer Logic before spending time at IBIS and Adobe, ecruit got in touch with the IT leader to hear his thoughts on what makes someone great in IT and his predictions for the next advancements for the industry.
1. When did you get your first big break?
A company called IBIS, now called financial objects. That was the first company I worked for that was really professional and really felt like a step up in career for me.
2. What do you love about your job?
- Making things happen – I think this is something about technology generally that might not always apply to other industries. A lot of it is about new things and making things happen.
- You tend to get rewarded for effort.
- It really is one of those industries where you are there on merit not what school or what university you went to.
3. What frustrates you about it?
There’s always a time lag when you’re doing new things and there’s never enough funding to do what you want.
4. What traits define a great IT person?
- An inquiring mind
- Someone who’s slightly eccentric and willing to think outside the box. Perhaps slightly unconventional is a better way to put it.
5. What do you think is going to be the next biggest advancement in technology for your industry?
I would say Automation. Automation previously was a lot about automating very manual jobs, like robots in car factories, whereas now, self-driving cars aren’t very far away and there will be robots flipping the burgers.
I think automation will also have a big impact on middle class jobs – back office jobs like HR, legal, that kind of thing.
6. What is the best career advice you have ever been given?
You need the help of other people for whom your success has no bearing on their success. You have to think about ‘so how do I do that?’
7. What’s hot in your industry at the moment?
AI (Artificial Intelligence), machine learning and big data, which is really about crunching huge volumes of data and doing analysis on it.
8. If you didn’t work in IT, what would you do?
Probably something in the media, possibly even photography.
9. What would you say are the key challenges when recruiting for the IT sector?
It’s getting people who are both competent but also easy to work with. Quite often competence can lead to a bit of arrogance which can make people difficult to work with.