5 Questions with Christopher Jeffery: CompTIA ANZ Future Leader Spotlight Award Winner

Christopher Jeffery, CompTIA ANZ Future Leader Spotlight Award winner, is setting the perfect example of what an IT leader should be. His generosity as a mentor and educator is helping develop tomorrow’s tech leaders.

Five Questions with Christopher JefferyAs artificial intelligence, automation and cybersecurity become more sophisticated and more entrenched, a new generation of leaders is helping to ensure businesses are equipped to handle innovation, risks and challenges. Christopher Jeffery, chief guru at Brisbane, Australia-based CyberGuru, is doing just that. Jeffery received the 2023 CompTIA ANZ Future Leader Spotlight Award for his success and innovation in advancing the tech industry.

For Jeffery, imparting hard-earned wisdom and mentorship, education and training to newer IT professionals is an honor and he has taken an active role in ensuring there will be skilled leaders in the future of tech.

Read below to hear Jeffery’s views on leadership development, giving back to the tech industry and how the CompTIA ANZ Community is helping to achieve that.

Why Is Being a Future Leader Important to You?

Being a future leader is important to me. I want to help develop the next generation of IT professionals in Australia. I have been fortunate to have been mentored and provided with various opportunities from established leaders. I return this by sharing my experience with others and mentoring future IT and business professionals through various roles within secondary schools, as well as higher education and the vocational education and training sectors. I have also previously mentored a high school student who then started his own IT business. For several years I have been a mentor for students studying or looking to study IT.

What Current Challenges in the IT Industry Do You Think Warrant More Attention?

I see several challenges facing the IT industry. For example, between those who are retiring from the industry and insufficient students studying IT at school, university and TAFE, the number of IT professionals is reducing. With an increasing reliance on technology, we require significantly more IT professionals in Australia to manage our existing IT needs, which will become more acute given the impact of further innovation. There is also a gap between the existing skill set and future skills required of such professionals, such as automation, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. It will be IT professionals who drive the increase in productivity resulting from these technologies.

Also, automation and artificial intelligence are coming quicker than many of us anticipated through the introduction of technologies such as ChatGPT. I see the need for IT professionals to identify a strong sense of purpose and uphold professional ethics, especially in the introduction, when adapting these technologies for use in their organizations and creating a culture where its misuse is not accepted.

Similarly, there is a significant need to educate, protect and secure organizations from cyber threats. Small- to medium-sized businesses and not-for-profit organizations that are becoming increasingly low-hanging fruit for threat actors need IT professionals who are capable and confident in their subject matter and can support these challenges.

How Are You Working With CompTIA to Help Address Those Issues?

I recently attended the CompTIA Community Meeting in Sydney and have participated in several CompTIA ANZ committee meetings within managed services, emerging technology and cybersecurity. I look to continue my involvement in the coming years to help address these issues. I am keen to explore what else the CompTIA Community offers the IT industry to be able to promote it to my staff to further their professional development, along with other colleagues in the industry.

Who Has Helped You Get to Where You Are Now?

I have had various people who have supported me and helped me get to where I am now. I have great appreciation for my former teachers and lecturers who helped prepare me for running my own business and working in the IT industry. I also hold with great respect the many colleagues and clients in other industries who have introduced me to prospective clients, as well as friends and family who helped me identify new ways to solve any issue I was faced with. Without them I would not be where I am today.

What Advice Do You Have for Others About Being a Better Leader?

Being a better leader requires you listen attentively to staff, appreciate them and provide them with opportunities to learn and grow. It is about bringing people on a journey with you towards a shared vision. Leaders should let these individuals know that they have their back and that it’s okay to make mistakes. I aspire to be an ambassador and advocate for like-minded professionals, organizations, staff and clients, and to establish and maintain good working relationships.

I recommend leaders also continually undertake professional development to increase their knowledge and skills within the business and IT industries. It is important to attend regular training and networking events to maintain currency and to build your expertise. Further, it’s essential to spend time on and in the business to establish and develop new systems and processes and refine existing ones. It’s also vital for leaders to take time for themselves outside of work. Ensuring they look after themselves helps them to be their best self and puts problems into perspective.

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