If you’ve been following us, then you already know how much we value ownership. We encourage people to work with as much autonomy as possibly, because it gives them the opportunity and responsibility to be at their best. As you listen to Alex talk about his work, it’s easy to notice that his journey on the team illustrates how fast people can grow when having the freedom to take matters into their own hands.
Alex is one of the veterans on the team. In 8 years, Alex has grown from a QA engineer role to a fully autonomous DevOps. We wanted to know what this 8-year journey has been like for Alex, so we asked him a couple of questions to find that out, but also to let everyone know him just a bit better.
1. Tell us who you are in just 6 words.
Open, straightforward, dedicated, determined, stubborn, and friendly. Be that as it may, each and everyone comes with their own opinion on me. I’m not sure that everybody sees me that way, but these are my core values and I stand by them.
2. You’ve been on the team since 2012. What did you expect back then and how does the whole experience feel now?
I started in July 2012, and my first project was with IBM. I had high expectations, and they went beyond what I could learn. I was ready to learn as much as possible – from technologies to project coordination. By the end of the year I things happened as I anticipated. I also realised that I was in a field where there’s a constant need to learn. Naturally, it all depends on how much you’re willing to learn and contribute.
3. What is most fulfilling thing in your job?
First of all, I take pride in the fact that no matter the project or the requirements, I always take my job seriously. That’s why I had great results, however big the challenges. For instance, in my second IBM project, my work did not go unnoticed. On the contrary, it was often publicly recognized by my managers.
As a DevOps, I recently got a thank-you email. It feels good to be reminded that your work matters, no matter how big the project or the client you’re working for.
Also, it feels good to know that you leave a mark. For instance, at some point on one of my IBM projects, I was trusted with guiding two interns. Shortly after I switched to another project, I found out that one of them had been promoted to a leading position, and the other was on a short list for a similar role.
At some point, I was given the opportunity to teach an SQL course with both IBM and QUALITANCE teams, and that was really exciting for me. Some of the teammates who attended my course were able to work in projects that required the know-how they had gained during that course. I was really touched when they thanked me and told me how much it meant to them.
4. You did manual and automated testing for a long time. What would advise anyone starting in a similar role?
I think it’s important to get up-to-date with the fundamentals of testing – I mean all types of testing, methods, and methodologies. Once you do that, you can choose an area that you want to master and learn as much as you can on the technologies. Later on, you can switch to any second type of testing.
5. For a year now, you’ve been the DevOps of a new project. What made you switch to DevOps and what you love most about it?
I was motivated by the chance to learn new stuff. I really grabbed this opportunity, even though I was very much aware that I would need to learn new technologies and put them into practice. I started doing new stuff, but I also had a chance to leverage my QA experience. I think I did a pretty good job. The results keep showing up 🙂
6. You’ve been on the QUALITANCE team for a long time. You’ve worked on many projects and on the sites of many clients. What was this long experience like for you?
I think in my first year I switched projects more often than ever. It felt crazy in the beginning because a lot of work had to be done, the expectations were high, and I felt there was no room for mistakes. As crazy as it was, I pulled it through. I learned a lot back then and made a lot of friends in those projects. More importantly, I gained a level of experience that I’ve been leveraging to this day.
7. How do you manage to adapt so fast to new clients and situations?
I think my capacity to adjust fast comes from experience. Working in so many projects taught me that whenever I start a new one, I need to brush off any prejudice or bias.
Even though the methodologies usually require certain steps to be followed, each project entails a different approach, tailored to the client’s needs. You don’t need to bother with questions like “but why don’t we do things this way?” You’d better focus on using the methodologies at hand as efficiently as possible. Once you understand that each project is a new beginning, adapting won’t feel like a struggle anymore.
8. How do you keep yourself productive? Got any rituals to share?
First of all, I gather all the details on the work that needs to be done. I need to have a 100% understanding of what I’m supposed to do – I’m built that way. Then, I put on my headphones and listen to music. This is how I keep away and avoid distractions. Other than that, I simply focus better in my own bubble.
When I’m part of a project that involves constant communication, I avoid working with my headphones on and keep myself focused on what I need to do.
9. What would be your advice for someone who wants to join your team? Why should they?
It depends on what’s important to them. In my case, number one is having the opportunity to learn a lot of technologies and work in challenging projects. Then there’s this high level of variety – you don’t get bored because new projects come along quite often. Number three is the team – I’ve got great teammates. Great work, great parties! I kinda miss an all-hands event with the team. If you’re interested in learning new technologies, working on various projects and great teamwork, then you’ve come to the right place 🙂
10. What is the biggest lesson you learned here?
There are many things to be said here. Being part of so many project teams, I got to work with a lot of different people and learned how much it helps the team when you put in an effort to adapt, treat everyone with respect, give your best in interactions and projects, guide your teammates. Sooner or later, you’ll be working again with some of the people you’ve been working with. It’s a great foundation to build on.
11. Who do you admire most?
I’m usually pretty ignorant when it comes to admiring people, but if I need to name a person that would be Elon Musk. It’s not easy to be ahead of NASA in some big aspects. I also love the work he did on Tesla and Paypal. Yeah, I really like Paypal.
12. Give one prediction of 10 years from now.
Given the actual state of the world, I can’t bring myself to make any positive predictions. Day by day, I’m just more convinced that “Idiocracy” turns out to be a documentary rather than a movie. My feeling is that we are rocketing towards that society.
13. What was your dream job growing up?
As a kid all the way to the 8th grade, my dream was to become an archaeologist and dig up dinosaur bones. I was fascinated with dinosaurs. I painted them, draw them, had shirts with them. Later on, I was struck by the real world and the tech advancement, so I chose technology. And I’m happy that I did so – suits me perfectly 🙂