This interview is part of a new series focusing on young IT professionals who are starting out their careers and wish to share their experiences. The series is meant to engage those who have just begun their professional development as well as the wider network of IT professionalism in education and business.

In February, we sat down with IT professional Jakub Minarik (age 29). During his studies, Jakub began working at mBank as ‘Reporting Specialist’ after which he moved to his second, and current position as Cloud Engineer at Deutsche Telekom Pan-Net.

“I have been working for two years in my current position as an IT cloud engineer, after studying at the Slovak Technical University to work in IT. I have always known that this is what I wanted to do – it’s one of the things I was best at, and I saw myself working with computers in my free time even. When I was five, I surprised my father, who found me ‘hacking’ the family computer, and playing video games way beyond my age. I could never imagine myself memorizing a lot of texts, like a lawyer has to, or a doctor – that’s just not where my head’s at.”

Q: Can you describe some of the daily tasks you perform as a Cloud Engineer?

“Every morning, I check the ‘pipelines’, or deployments that we have running during the night. I check if everything runs smoothly, and, usually, we are also working on something new, because customers tend to come up with new demands. So, after our basic, daily duties we go on to implement new monitoring systems or deploy a new application created by our developers. It depends a lot on the customer and what the current requirements are, of course.

I’m a Cloud Engineer, but I only work on the software part, and not the hardware, where everything is stored. I’m not the one manually ‘plugging’ anything or making sure that the servers are up and running. When we have a new project in a new data centre, the team and I are responsible for deploying and maintaining a monitoring solution that shows us how our data centres are performing – if we have enough storage, or what the energy consumption is, for example.”

“There’s a mantra at most IT workplaces (…) to always innovate and to try to keep up with new technologies, so you don’t become a ‘dinosaur’.”

Can you elaborate a bit on what you mean by the ‘pipelines’, or the systems that you have running over night? 

“We set up an automatic procedure for building and deploying necessary configurations for creating and maintaining virtual machines to keep the system running. We can even automatically deploy an application, that has been created by our developers, which frees up their time to keep developing their application according to a client’s demands.”

Q: Do you feel that your university background had prepared you for starting your work on the Cloud?

“Well, I was studying general IT and not any specific area, so I wouldn’t say that my university prepared me for this role exactly. However, thanks to the university I knew what field I wanted to pursue – and what I did not want to do. Cloud development was one of the things that seemed interesting to me, but which I actually hadn’t touched on in school at all.

I don’t think a lot of people know exactly what they want to do when they’re 18 – maybe you like building websites or something else, but there are still so many other possibilities out there, that you don’t know about. For this reason, I think it’s nice that the university gives you a broader overview of these possibilities and what you can choose. Hopefully, during your time at the university you will decide partially, for example, noticing that you like hardware, or you like software, or maybe security, but I don’t think that the universities, or anyone can expect, any more specificity in young kids.” 

Q: Is reskilling/upskilling a fixed part of your job to keep up with new developments?

“Yes – unfortunately for some, I guess (laughs).

You will definitely need to continue studying when you start working, since there’s always a new technology, always a new approach – and you will need to know about them to meet customer needs. There’s a ‘mantra’ that defines most IT workplaces I have worked at – and perhaps workplaces in general – to always innovate and to try to keep up with new technologies, so you don’t become a ‘dinosaur’.”

Q: Last month, we spoke with a cybersecurity professional at Handelsbanken, Vili Harju, who emphasised the usefulness of “Mooc’s”, or Massive Open Online Courses, to keep up with developments in his field – are you using these Mooc’s too?

“Yes, absolutely – I’m using them right now. This is one of the benefits that a lot of companies offer, and might even cover for all employees in advance, so they don’t even need to clear it with a manager before taking them. I would definitely recommend this type of online learning for anyone who needs easy and quick access to new knowledge.”

Q: Any advice you would give someone considering a career in cloud development?

“Go for it. In a career like this, you can build on your potential while getting good employment opportunities for the future. When starting out, the company will be interested mostly in your work ethic and the way that you are willing to learn, rather than your competences, I think. Over time, they will teach you to become an expert and catch up with all the various, new technologies. So don’t be afraid to take the next steps even if you feel that you aren’t specialised yet – and this will go for other fields too.”

If you would like to know more about the role of a Cloud Developer, or other profiles within the field of software development, please get in touch with us at info@itprofessionalism.orgJoin ITPE and stay informed about our interview series as well as other upcoming events.

Find out more about the MOOC’s for online learning here