Managing director - Telecommunications| Youth Central

Jonathon, 35

Five years ago, Jonathon gained a PhD for his practical research on how to manage light for communications at high speed. Then he swapped all that for managing people in the company he founded, which seems to be growing at the speed of light.

Fact file

Job description: Manages a fast growing company; oversees product development and commercialisation; hires staff; negotiates business contracts; deals with suppliers, clients and collaborators; sorts out finances.

Subjects studied: Pure Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and English.

Further training: Jonathon completed an Honours degree in Electrical Engineering at Monash University (4 years) and a PhD in Photonics at the University of Melbourne (4 years).

Salary: Company employees earn between $50,000 and $120,000, but as founder, Jonathon is paid relatively little to help encourage its growth.


Jonathon is on the move... at high speed. Five years ago he gave up the world of pioneering research on optical communications after developing several significant switching and control technologies. He now heads a company he established with two of his colleagues. He hasn't slowed down, though. CEOS Pty Ltd has been doubling its size every year.

The company is at the forefront of the development and control of broadband communications. It produces technology to connect and manage networks. And it also operates a world class laboratory to test the latest optically based telecommunications equipment.

"We develop communications equipment for fibre-to-the-home and business solutions. It will enable users to gain access to broadband services including video-on-demand, high speed internet, video telephone, networked games, and many new services and applications."

So where does Jonathon now fit into this high tech environment? He has to:

  • Network with organisations, government and universities
  • Liaise with suppliers and clients
  • Organise the financial aspects of the company
  • Negotiate contracts for new projects
  • Speak with potential new employees
  • Travel to set up relationships
  • Commercialise new products - ensuring they are being developed on time and within budget

It's a high pressure life which takes him overseas at least once a month and interstate every week. And while he doesn't like the fact that he has to put in such long hours, he does gain a real "sense of achievement in growing a high tech organisation, and in assisting the growth of the technology sector in Victoria."

Given the breathless pace of his career, it's almost a surprise to hear him advocate a pause for careful thought at the end of secondary school: "Take some time away from the educational system to get a broader perspective."

"High tech industry is exciting because you create new products that have a significant impact on other people's lives."

Job specs

Personal requirements

  • Able to identify, analyse and solve problems
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Enjoy computing and technical design
  • Practical and creative
  • Able to work independently
  • Able to accept responsibility

Find out more about this career path at (Note: free registration is required to access the myfuture site).