The IT Pro Podcast: The teenager who started a networking firm

The IT Pro Podcast: The teenager who started a networking firm

On receiving the news that their planned apprenticeship had fallen through, most teenagers would probably sulk for a bit, and then start looking for jobs in a pub or a supermarket. What they probably wouldn’t do is decide to go it alone, opening up their own network maintenance company to help people boost their broadband.

Nevertheless, that’s exactly what Sam O’Rourke did. He joins us this week to talk about what inspired him to launch his own company, the difficulties of starting a new business amidst COVID-19, and why he thinks college is the wrong way to get into technology.


“So I was 17 when I started the company, I'm 18 now. I started East Networks because of a problem we had, actually. So we live in the middle of a field, we're quite fortunate to be able to live in a nice area. But living in a nice area doesn't always mean good internet. So my dad was exploring options with getting internet into the house. And 4G internet is one of those ones that is just good in rural areas, because 4G coverage tends to cover a lot more spaces than fibre and fixed-line broadband. So we were installing it for our neighbours and friends and just thought, well, how many people can need this? Surely, it's quite a lot. So I thought, well, I'll start a business because I've always wanted to do that. And it just went from there really, just to help people in rural areas get faster broadband.”

“I think college is really not the way to learn about things. You're better off in a workplace actually doing the jobs that you will be doing, rather than learning about it off the screen. Because there's no replacement for actually doing something. Because there's so many things that they teach in college, which are irrelevant in working in an office, where you have to deal with people who don't understand how to connect their laptop to Wi-Fi, or people who can't run a printer. College does not teach you about people. It teaches you about objects, and nothing is the same, is the problem. So an apprenticeship, I think, not only in the IT sector, I think generally overall, is a much better option.”

Read the full transcript here.




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