From childhood dreams of becoming a pilot, to loving life in telecoms (thanks Dad!), here’s Diego’s journey from ski instructor to Site Reliability Engineer for Huawei in Madrid!
Firstly, thanks for agreeing to speak to us, to get us started, please could you tell us a little about how you came to work with Manning Global…
It’s my pleasure! Manning Global contacted me last summer with an offer from Huawei, for the role of Site Reliability Engineer (SRE). I received the call while on vacation, and I was very excited about the opportunity. I was first asked about myself and my career, and later I had the chance to speak to the company director, who confirmed the offer at Huawei!
You have experience working in telecoms – how did enter this profession?
I first became interested in telecommunications as a child. I used to do science experiments with my dad, who is also a telecom engineer. As the years went by, my interest for the field continued to grow. So far, my career has been quite straightforward; I interned with a consulting company while completing my engineering degree and took courses in various fields of engineering.
What are your main duties as a Site Reliability Engineer?
Main duties consist of developing ultra-scalable and highly reliable software systems, as well as simplifying and automating processes. As Benjamin Treynor Sloss, the Google engineer who first coined this term said, SRE is ‘what happens when a software engineer is tasked with what used to be called operations.’
What are your top three KPIs for this role?
- Work as a team as efficiently as an individual: it isn’t going to be only you working on projects, so being a team player is essential. It is important to be good at your own tasks, as well as to help others when needed. The better the team, the better the work that is produced!
- Analytic thinking/skills: be able to analyse the situation and use all your available resources
- Being able to work under stress: sometimes, you will be given a complex problem, and you are expected to find a solution within a certain timeframe. When this occurs, you must be able to work efficiently without allowing stress to overwhelm or distract you from the task at hand
What qualities do you need to succeed as a Site Reliability Engineer?
Of course, you need some technical knowledge about programming and systems architecture. However, understanding the processes of the project and the company is equally important. Analytical thinking is another quality necessary for success as an SRE. Sometimes, you are only given an initial state and a desired output for the system, which you are then required to design and develop. Finally, being able to cooperate and work efficiently as a team is by far the most important quality when it comes to developing large systems.
Please can you tell us more about the software architecture you design and develop…
Right now, we are focused in RPA (Robotic Process Automation) projects. In other words, we analyse the current projects and big processes inside our department, and decide which tasks are potentially automatable, which would be the scope, the expected saved time, etc. We are working directly with MW planners, integrators and technicians. To carry this out, we use various programming languages and specific RPA software.
What excites you the most about the future of telecoms?
Normally, a big change or progress in telecommunication technologies implies a huge change in society. Historically, being able to transmit a message from point A to point B was critical for wars or making important political and economic decisions. Today, the challenge is more about latency of the network and creating a smart telecommunication technology for 5G, which I think is the most exciting change, along with IoT.
What are your thoughts on 5G and how do you feel it will benefit businesses and consumers going forward?
The advantages of 5G are extensive. When we talk about 5G, we are only talking about a mobile communications technology, but the capabilities that a 5G network offers for other technologies to be developed afterwards are what will bring the most change. On a daily basis, the consumer will notice 5G primarily when streaming multimedia content, since this network will highly increase the traffic rate (even higher than Wifi). Additionally, the consumer will notice 5G in real time applications, such as video games where latency is a determining factor. Concepts such as Internet of things, smart cities or smart cars (not only self-driving) will use this technology to be developed. Thus, in a few years, the way we live will change drastically.
What’s a typical working day like working for Huawei in Madrid?
I am normally in the office from 9:30am-18:30pm, except on Fridays when I am able to leave at 16:00pm. We have a coffee break around 11am, during which we get a tasty snack from the canteen (I’m so proud of the canteen!). Around 14:30pm, we go for lunch. During working hours, you are always working next to your colleagues in a comfortable environment, which helps when it is time to work hard.
Speaking of Madrid, what do you like most about the city?
It’s always difficult to answer this question when there are so many great things about Madrid. The city itself offers many activities, but the weather and people are what make it stand out. It’s almost impossible to get bored, and if you do, just ask someone around and you will probably receive many ideas of what to do. My personal recommendation is to get lost in the neighbourhood of Malasaña. Turn off your google maps and discover it on your own!
Are there any other countries in the world you would like to work, if so, why would you like to work there?
The U.S. and New Zealand have always been on my mind. America is well known to be at the top of innovative technologies, and it offers good benefits for engineers (competitive salaries, professional development, etc.) If I had the chance to work in California, that would be jackpot! Regarding New Zealand, it is more about the experience of the country itself; its nature, traditions, and way of life. Furthermore, the thought of being at the exact opposite point of the planet from where I am now, while working for a telecommunications project is mind-blowing!
Which telecoms project so far in your career are you most proud of and why?
For the first time last week, we were able to save more than 40 hours with automated software, and this kind of time-saving tends to grow exponentially. Therefore, if we follow the path we’re on now, we will be able to increase the efficiency of our department over any other department in the company.
What was your dream job as a child?
I have always dreamt of being a pilot.
What was your first ever job?
I was a ski instructor when I was 18-20 years old, as well as an English and physics tutor. Apart from internships, working for Huawei has been my first ‘career’ job for a large company.
What’s your proudest professional accomplishment?
I remember a day when I was a ski instructor for 10 children aged 10 to 12 years old. My responsibility was to keep them alive on the slopes and, if possible, to teach them some skiing techniques. At the beginning, it seemed an impossible mission, but I somehow managed to keep them all alive and they actually learned some new ski skills. The best junior boy and girl in the final competition were in my group!
Enough about business, it’s time for pleasure – if you could listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
What are your hobbies outside of work?
My favourite sports are skiing and football, so I’m always looking for a chance to go practice. I wish I liked reading more, but I can find your flight number on the airport screens faster than anyone!
Finally, if you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Teleportation – being anywhere in the world just by snapping my fingers sounds pretty awesome.
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