Hello, Cloud Newbies! Welcome “Hello, Cloud Newbies!” a blog interviewing Cloud Professionals from all around the world doing cool things to see what kinds of careers are available when you work with or in Cloud Computing!
Today, we talked to Veliswa Boya, who is a Cloud Engineer in the Banking Industry, and works in Johannesburg, South Africa !
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Now, without further ado…. Let’s hear Veliswa’s story!
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Hi, Veliswa! What’s your job title?
And where do you work?
How long have you been doing that job?
For around 9 months
What do you do for your job? Can you describe it to me in a way my 85 year old grandma can understand?
What’s been really exciting about my role is the fact that it’s a very new role within the company that I work for, due to where we are in our cloud migration journey.
I have therefore been able to almost write my own job description if you will – and as a result as a Cloud Engineer where I work I wear two hats:
- I work with feature teams that are looking to migrate workloads / build in the cloud and my involvement will range from defining a cloud migration strategy all the way to designing the cloud architecture of the application that is about to be moved to AWS.
- I also work with the platform team that is getting our cloud environment ready for these applications – my role here will then typically include definition and implementation of account access policies, vending of accounts etc.
What’s your educational and career backgrounds?
My educational and career path was pretty much traditional in that I finished high school and went to college to do a 3 year IT qualification. I started my career about 20 years ago, back when working on the Mainframe was still pretty cool 🙂 as a Mainframe Developer, then moved to Systems and later Business Analysis.
I then moved into a Solutions Architect role and it was during this move that there was starting to be a lot of talk about cloud and how it is central to digital transformation for businesses. I have always loved learning new things and finding new ways to challenge and stretch myself, cloud therefore grabbed my attention.
I went with AWS for 3 reasons:
- a lot more companies including the one that I worked for at the time partnered with AWS as the cloud service provider of choice
- during my research into the various clouds I came across a write-up about the EC2 literally being “born” in Cape Town, and this being right here in South Africa I guess there was some sentiment attached to it as well.
- Also, once I started playing around with the services on AWS I quite enjoyed the range of services that were available – AWS still innovates at what is currently an unmatched pace.
Once I decided it was time to start going for the certifications I used A Cloud Guru videos, built on AWS, read whitepapers etc. as part of my preparation.
I sat and passed my first certification in September 2017 – AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate. I joined my current employer in April 2019 as a Cloud Engineer after it too partnered with AWS. I went for my second certification 2 months into my new job – AWS Certified Developer Associate.
Where are you based? Is your job remote or onsite?
I am based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Onsite though with multiple offices, I move in between these depending on current project that I’m working on – to be close to the customer/team that I’m working with at the time.
What’s an interesting fact about yourself?
I used to have a crazy fear of heights, and I did the world’s highest commercial bridge bungee jump off Bloukrans Bridge to cure this fear as you would… it worked! 🙂
Oh my goodness 😱
Which Cloud Platform(s) do you work with? And for how many years?
AWS for around 3 years
Do you have any certifications?
AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate and AWS Certified Developer – Associate
Did the certifications help you get your current or past jobs?
Definitely. My AWS CSA-A helped opened the door for conversations, conversations that I just couldn’t get right until I got this certification.
What do you think is the most exciting thing about Cloud Computing?
I love that cloud brings with it all this innovation, also taking care of infrastructure requirements – thus leaving businesses to only need to worry about innovating for their customers, instead of worrying about infrastructure.
What do you think is the most frustrating thing about Cloud Computing?
It’s weird but it’s probably also the fast pace of innovation that I mention above. It can be difficult to keep up, resulting in it being intimidating for anyone starting out, and even for those who’ve been working with the cloud fairly long enough.
What’s a cool problem you’ve solved with the Cloud?
I enjoy taking advantage of automation whenever possible. A personal project of mine where I automated emailing of weekly documentation, with subscribe/unsubscribe.
I previously had to manually do all of this as the chairperson of this secret club that I won’t mention 🙂 It sounds small but repetitive manual work frustrates me, so being able to automate is always a big deal for me.
What’s the most fun you’ve had with the Cloud?
I have enjoyed learning not just the services available in AWS specifically, but also getting to understand what cloud means for businesses and how/why it is so central as a digital transformation strategy for businesses.
Hello, Cloud Newbies!
What’s one thing you wish you’d known when you started working with Cloud Computing?
I work for big corporations, cloud migrations aren’t just technical implementations as there’s also an entire company culture change that goes with cloud migrations.
It is important to understand the culture change necessary for cloud migrations. I think right at the beginning of my working with cloud I didn’t quite see this, I’ve however since learned.
What are your favorite resources to learn about the Cloud?
If I’m preparing for exams I use video training, read whitepapers, and build using the services available. To keep updated, the same resources may apply but I’ll add onto them social media and various accounts that I follow, meetups, online conferences/webinars etc.
What advice can you give to someone who is considering learning about Cloud Computing to begin a career in the Cloud?
It has certainly proved to be very rewarding for me, and considering my career background I really would never have guessed that I’d end up here (which is why I always say anyone can do this if they are just willing to commit to learning and are passionate about cloud as I am).
I would therefore say, there is still so much scope for growth into cloud as a career as more and more organizations adopt cloud and grow in the cloud in the future.
The ongoing debate around whether it is worth it to get certified or not?
This definitely depends on where you are but if you especially don’t work with cloud right now and are looking to market yourself for cloud related jobs I’d definitely say go for that cert, so that you can open the door to conversations that hopefully lead to opportunities.
Of course, certs don’t guarantee that you are super efficient but I believe they evidence a long list of other things which include the fact that you are able to focus and are disciplined enough to see something to the end, and that you are teachable.
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Thank you so much for sharing your life as a Cloud Engineer, and how you got there, Veliswa! It’s super cool that you got to basically define your own role, to do the job that you’re excited about!
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