My earliest memory with a computer is when I was 10. I used to go one hour to our old neighborhood cyber-coffee on Saturdays. I got fascinated by computers and their ability to make everything look like magic.
During the years to come I became the computer boy and people around the neighborhood used to call me to fix their computers or appliances, why not? Being a teenager I was already earning some money developing a sense of personal economy. I landed my first real job in IT when I was 18, it was in a web hosting company. There I met my first Unix-like operating system: OpenBSD, nothing was the same since then.
Skipping forward a few years in the future, I went to University in two opportunities but because of some life circumstances, I could never finish it. In case you were wondering which career I was pursuing, yes, it was a Systems Engineering degree. Let me tell you that I don’t feel any regret. In fact, thanks to the knowledge gathered from the first years at the University plus the daily experience at work, I’ve unlocked interesting and useful skills that make me feel even more fulfilled as a professional. Learning is a never ending path that I follow every single day.
My second job in IT was the richest in terms of learning. I spent a couple of years working as Systems Administrator and thanks to that, I discovered my love for Infrastructure. I worked with bare metal servers, virtualization of all kinds, firewalls, proxies, security solutions, even more complex storage systems like SANs (Storage Area Network), with optical connections. But there was a day when I realized that I didn’t want to spend my whole life being an IT guy. It was time to leave the comfort zone and I started to apply to different Ops related jobs. And I made it! The opportunity came and I landed a job as Site Operations Engineer. There, I traveled abroad, met clients, learned about the cloud, distributed systems and observability. It was a rich experience in every sense.
In one of my previous jobs, I worked as Site Reliability Engineer in one of the richest software companies in the world. There, I developed my sense of product thinking along with other development skills and a deeper understanding of Infrastructure as Code technologies.
Ever since I learned about Thoughtworks, I was very intrigued that they looked different from a regular consultancy company and that picked up my interest quickly. I decided to apply for a job, and after the interviewing process, my recruiters Cristina and Olha called me one day and told me that I had passed all the interviews and that I was welcomed to join Thoughtworks Spain. So here I am, a year later, an Infrastructure Senior Consultant working from Barcelona and I’ve played the Tech Lead and Tech Anchor roles.
I like to tell people that being an infra engineer is being a developer, just a different kind. If you’re starting a career as a developer, you’re almost there. Things that make us different is that we’re more focused on the infrastructure underlying any application. In simple words, when you're setting up your local kubernetes environment on your laptop to test your application, you’re already doing infrastructure! For those with no cloud experience, I would recommend you to attend a cloud essentials course, and for those that already have some knowledge about it, you should take a look at architecture practices and designs, or get your hands dirty with clusters and such.
Technologies come and go, that’s a real thing, but what is truly important for me is to have an adaptive mind, because even principles come and go. I like to think that our mind should be like an architecture out of “Building Evolutionary Architectures” book, written by our CTO Rebecca Parsons and Neal Ford. As for skills needed, I would say being inquisitive, proactive and willing to learn are key.
I feel like, what’s different about being an Infra consultant at Thoughtworks compared to other companies is definitely the vision and the values. I believe that everything in Thoughtworks has a deep purpose and delivers a solid value to our customers. Is not only about deploying things that work and then monitoring them until they fail, it is more about thinking carefully, planning, designing, debating, analyzing and finally building and delivering. Fulfillment here is a real thing, every day I’m learning something new!
I’ve been working here for a year and in that time I’ve been able to work for the EMPC service line, helping the global guilds to succeed in our offerings. I also became a sponsor and coach for some people willing to embrace the infrastructure path. Now, we're working on a formal path that can be delivered by our Learn & Development team to everybody. And finally, my collaboration in sustainability topics led me to travel abroad to evangelize clients. My advice to you is to always keep in mind that we’re people and we work for a huge part of our lives, so live your work, don’t let it make you feel unwell and, if you can afford it, step out of your comfort zone and reach an amazing new version of yourself. It might be scary at the beginning, but I know you can!
Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Thoughtworks.