5 Minutes With... Johnny Serrano MACS Snr, Global Head of IT, Groundprobe and ACS Professional Partner Program Member of 10 years

25th May 2020


  • Johnny Serrano MACS Snr is the Global Head of IT at Groundprobe
  • Groundprobe is an ACS Professional Partner Program Member, specialising in software and hardware solutions for the mining industry.
  • Johnny inspires members to “challenge the status quo” and “never stop learning”. 

1. What do you enjoy most about working in the tech industry?

At a young age I always wanted to become a video game programmer and was fascinated by new technology, that fascination is still true today and it is what I enjoy the most about working in our industry. I always ask my team and other tech workers why they started working in IT? Were they inspired by sci-fi movies or tech that saved lives?

Throughout my career I have seen too many tech workers in the dungeon rooms working on the same old task over-and-over again. Whilst it is needed with regards to legacy systems, I believe that you can provide a balance in your workplace, an area or time for innovation that allows for understanding of emerging technology.

This then allows individuals to come up with brilliant ideas that save time and costs or improve your service offerings. It also provides a place where they can be passionate about what they do and look for further opportunities to improve your customers experience.

2. What is the key piece of advice you’d give to your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to always look for opportunities where technology can add value, challenge the status quo, never stop learning and embrace ideas that sound like science fiction. When you are younger you can lack the confidence in your ideas or think you will sound silly for expressing your ideas, you have to trust your instincts.

Another key piece of advice I would give is to reaffirm to my younger self that it is ok to fail that you cannot be successful without failure. A saying I learnt and resonates with me from Truman Capote is “failure is the condiment that gives success its flavour” if you are going to fail, fail fast, and get back up straight away and take away what you did right and what you did wrong.

3. Tech changes fast. How do you keep your tech skills up-to-date?

I have always been inquisitive and want to understand new technology, anyone who knows me knows that I do a lot of research before going to bed each night and strangely enough wake up in the middle of the night with some great ideas and some not so great ideas.

I always ensure that I take some formal education in areas of interest, attend events showcasing new products and subscribe to a plethora of magazines and tech, the best thing about the internet is that you have so much information where you can learn to a basic level.

For instance, if you want to start learning about AI, Microsoft have a free lab with beginner tutorials that you can signup for and access, the only cost is your time and effort. We all have busy lives, but I make sure that I schedule time in my life to keep on learning. 

4. How is GroundProbe tackling the challenge of COVID-19? How have you rapidly adapted to support your team and clients?

All parts of the GroundProbe business remain fully operational with an operating rhythm firmly in place across all facets of our organisation. Measures undertaken continue to keep our people healthy and safe while fully servicing our customers.

Keeping our systems and services running is critical for our customers and the many communities they serve. All GroundProbe people have now been repatriated to their home locations and are self-isolating in accordance with country-specific directives.

We have been on a transformational journey the last couple of years to ensure our IT services are flexible and not constrained by legacy infrastructure allowing for a more mobile workforce in over 30 different countries. I have made decision on certain IT project priorities and expedited them to ensure our people can collaborate, communicate and continue to be able to do their work during this challenging time.

5. How has ACS membership supported your career journey in tech?

I first joined the ACS in 2010 with the support of my manager at the time, who really encouraged me to join in order to have access to the latest IT trends and future technologies. The ACS has supported me through my tech journey by providing credibility of my skills through its certification’s programs that are internationally recognised.

I also took advantage of the events with industry experts to broaden my thinking and understanding as well as connect to the broader IT community in Australia. I attended events that inspired me and events that did the opposite, that helped me in my career to narrow what areas of IT I enjoyed and which areas I had no interest in pursuing.

The yearly Digital Pulse by Deloitte is also a great source on information about what is happening in our industry and areas that are predicted to grow as well as highlight any shortages in our sector.  The report I believe highlights opportunities in emerging technology what you should be doing or thinking about doing, as well as providing great opportunity for the next generation to understand what skills will be required in the future.


"5 Minutes With..." is a series of articles showcasing exceptional ACS Members and their amazing, innovative, and game changing stories. Representing over 45,000 tech professionals across Australia, our Members work across industry, government, research, and education organisations and each edition highlights the role they are playing in making Australia a world leader in technology talent, fostering innovation, and creating new forms of value.