Robert Chapman (Information Technology, 1988)
Co-Founder/Commercial Director of Firebrand Training
Since Robert’s dad bought him the Commodore VIC 20 at the age of 12, he knew that his career was set. He taught himself to code (basic/machine code), studied
A Level Computer Science and Electronic Systems and chose Information Technology as his degree.
The A Level grades that Robert received in 1984 were unfortunately not enough for any of his first choice universities and had therefore been left with a choice of doing an HND at Brighton Polytechnic in Computer Science.
“Out of the blue one day the phone at home rang and it was Leicester Poly asking if I would be interested in joining their Information Technology BSc (hons). When I checked the prospectus I was totally smitten. The degree exactly fitted where my skills and interests lay – a mix of programming, hardware and communications. I felt that IT was a better fit than Computer Science as it covered hardware and networking as well as coding. I loved my degree and still find myself dipping into the knowledge I acquired then in my current job.”
It wasn’t just the course that Robert was smitten with; he was already a fan of Leicester because of his strong love of music and enjoyed going to see some of the Indie bands that John Peel used to play.
“The polytechnic and the city didn’t disappoint. Scraptoft and the long bar were brilliant fun. The city centre was student friendly and had perfect travel links.”
After leaving university Robert worked as a system Engineer for IBM in central London, he stayed at the role for four years specialising in AIX systems and attending IBM’s sales school. Robert then joined a company called Sequent who specialised in SMP Unix systems.
“During my time at Sequent I went from pre-sales technical support to being a fully fledged ‘bag carrying’ salesman. This allowed to me to learn how to talk to the board of FTSE 100, Government departments and architecting solutions to solve business problems. I then joined a small software company called Onyx who specialised in CRM software. After two and a half years with them, selling to investment banks I started my own company Firebrand Training.”
Robert currently works as the Co-Founder and Commercial Director of Firebrand covering the duties of marketing, sales, international growth and anything else commercially orientated, his company has been growing over a period of 12 years and was originally set up during a recession.
“Starting a new business in a recession, growing through another recession, going global and learning how to motivate people are all challenges which I have faced. Running your own business means that anything is possible which in itself a challenge in its own right especially if you don’t know how to focus on the right things.”
Despite the challenges Robert has faced, Firebrand has gone on to win many awards, including:
3 x Institute of IT Training Company of the Year (Europe)
3 x Microsoft Learning Partner of the Year (Denmark)
2 x Top 20 IT Training Company in the World
2 x EC-Council – Training Centre of the Year
2 x (ISC) 2 – Highest Performing Affiliate
“DMU has helped me get to where I am today, the people I met who I am still friends with, the breadth and depth of knowledge taught plus exposure to the business world with guest speakers from commerce are just some of the benefits. If I could re-live those four years again I wouldn’t hesitate.
If you want to study Information Technology make sure you are passionate about it, always do something you love, not just because it pays well.”