Getting a job in IT can be easy, but also not. In today's installment of blog post, we're going to do a deep dive in to my career, recommendations I would make to younger me and things I would avoid doing.
This is structured as an interview with my self, but in reality it's me typing this at my desk on a Wednesday night. Go figure
Where I am now
So currently I am at a Pet care company, doing Devops. From what I can gather, I've been brought on as someone who's full time job is to know the cloud, and advise on things related to the cloud.
If you'd told me at the start of my IT career I'd be the sole Devops engineer for GCP at a national company, I'd have laughed.
But I'll be honest, imposter syndrome is a right kicker. I'm putting this down to the fact it's a new role, but there's days I sit there looking at terraform or some google product I've not seen going "wtf, where do I even start?" (if you scroll down to Things that have saved me, I talk about how to deal with this)
I mainly spend most of my days looking at our current infrastructure, seeing where we can make improvement's, as well as helping team members with their infrastructure queries.
Soon, my self, my manager and another colleague will split into sole GCP practice - So I'm working on a lot of documentation around architecture decisions, and processes.
Where I started
I started on the help desk - Most people do to be honest with you. It's almost worrying when someone hasn't started at the help desk. It really humbles you being treated like shit day in day out by people who are angry about the stupid computer not connecting to the VPN because vpn = virtual private which means you don't have to connect to wifi as he network is virtual and private. Real call btw
I mainly dealing with level 1 helpdesk tickets, so your password resets, creating users, building machines.
I got on to this automation stuff, so using powershell to install software like VNC server, enable RDP, install chrome and so on.
But if you want the "where did your tech interest start" then this is going back to India. If you're not a frequent reader of my blog (firstly shame on you) - You won't know I lived in India for a few years. The school I went to was what I would call "A digital school" where everything was on computers.
Me being me, I would get bored easily so would spend time playing with stuff like VM's (docker had only just been (20 March 2013) released, and I was still getting my head around linux), web servers and linux. I think my first website was just the generic "Hello world" followed by probably a meme or a photo of a duck?
I want to say it went downhill from here? We moved back to the UK and after leaving school I got a job working in a warehouse, thus had income to purchase servers.
I built my lab and eventually created the OG breadnet site (below)
I keep this horrific site around as it got my my first job in IT, and without it I don't know where I would be today!
But what point did you transition to the cloud?
Ha yeah, forgot about that!
So I was at a company based from Texas, and I joined as a Jr. Sys Admin, and they put me on a cloud project to see what would happen and I was decent from what I understand.
Eventually I went cloud full time and yeah - I never planned to be here! I was originally going for my CCNA to work in a NOC at a Datacenter. Strange isn't it!
My career track I'm on
I'm hoping to be senior principal cloud architect? I'm not sure if I made that title up but that's what I'm aiming for!
Why that title? Why not a manager?
Yeah good question actually. I don't want to manage people. I'm an engineer and we're awkward af. Could you imagine me having to speak to one of my direct reports about BO issues?
I want to stay in a role where I am solving issues day to day, and also helping the team to unblock their issues, or other stuff. Not sure yet!
Where I plan to end up
Like previously mentioned, I want to be senior principal I forget the rest of the title. I don't want to lose out on solving issues and writing terraform. It's one of the few joys in my life
How to actually get in to IT
I'm not sure if it's by chance of my Dad's role. But I can remember being interested in what he was doing. He was a programmer and now I honestly don't know what he does.
One of my earliest memories is on an XP laptop my dads friend gave me, with my Dad creating scrolling text in HTML. I think the code was something like the below:
<marquee behavior="scroll" direction="left"> Here is some scrolling text... right to left! </marquee>
From there I kind of progressed and wanted more technical knowledge. So it's fair to say that I've been interested in technology from a young age. I was initially thinking of going in to Mechanical engineering at college, but that was full - with the aims of keeping IT as a side hobby.
Do you need a degree?
Depends. If you want one - I won't stop you!
I personally don't have anything higher than a B-TEC in IT systems.
If you're going in to something like ML and AI, I think a degree is beneficial, but if you're going in to cloud engineering or something along those lines - Nah g
Certifications I suggest
Depends - Again.
If you're going in to cloud:
- Linux Admin
- Google associate
- AWS associate
If you're going in to the MS environment, idk man. I'm Google and AWS cloud.
Things that saved me
Not every problem is as big as it seems.
Take my most recent publish
At the surface, it seems like an impossible feat - No one on google or reddit got it working well.
When we look at what the actual issue is, and how we can resolve it, all it was; was editing a single file under
/etc/netplan/50* and running
The next steps were to then work out how to automate it.
We start with what we know, which is the above, and what we don't know - which is what platform to use.
We can use something like ansible, bash scripting, cloud-init, startup scripts or even manual ssh.
Next is to device on the tool, and the pro's and cons of each.
Done. You now have a small easy to solve problem.
Google is your friend
Just google the error. 90% of the time the first result will help.
Page 2 is for dire situations.
Don't make assumptions
This is something I learnt very quickly.
If you assume that your colleague locked out a user, and it's on you to check and something goes wrong... Guess who's to blame!
always double check!
Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance
Plan everything you do. This doesn't need to be a 12 step plan on how to unlock the door. It can be as simple as:
- Log in to server
- Record if user is there
- Shutdown server
At least this way you know what you need to do, and now you can work out "Hmm, how do I access that file, do I need root privileges?"
Write documentation for the Junior's
I don't literally mean, write it for them personally.
We were all juniors at some point, and all suffered with imposter syndrome.
I can very clearly remember sitting at the help desk reading some documentation feeling like an eejit because I didn't understand the different abbreviations etc etc.
It's important that anyone with a minimum technical understanding should be able to look at your
readme.md and be able to understand what's going on.
The same goes for your tickets. Make them super clear and include more detail than you think. The plan is that the junior can understand it and work out next steps
Use a note pad for your daily to-do's
Yes - We're on the cutting edge of technology, but a paper notepad works well.
Personally, I use the little pieces of paper that you get from Ikea. I write my daily to-do on it, use it to draw diagrams etc.
Keep your work area clear
Now I don't mean like clinically clean. Nothing on the desk at all.
I mean, what's on the desk, make it neat and tidy. Keep a little on the desk as possible.
As you can see, there is stuff on the top left, but it's in a line; and what is on the desk is critical to my operations.
- Moose (Most important)
- Headphone stand
- Note paper
I hope this has given you a little hand in getting started with Cloud or your tech career.
Don't give up. Keep looking, if you need help you're welcome to contact me.
If you want to contact me, locate the
x-message-me header on the site's response - google how to find site response headers :)
All the best,