Angeline joined AWS in March 2021 as a Software Development Engineer based in Cape Town, South Africa.
HereAtAWS: Tell us about your career journey. What brought you to your current role at AWS?
Angeline: I completed a Bachelor of Science Degree majoring in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics. While doing my Honours in Computer Science, I did an internship with AWS in the EC2 SHIELD team. After the internship, I was offered a full-time position on the same team. In Feb 2021, I moved from a small town across the country to Cape Town for my role.
HereAtAWS: Can you explain in simple terms: your role, who your customers are, and how you help them?
Angeline: I am a Software Development Engineer (SDE) and part of the EC2 SHIELD team. We ensure EC2 is secure and available.
HereAtAWS: What technical and/or soft skills do you need to succeed in your role?
Angeline: I think the main one is being a strong coder, and good at debugging.
HereAtAWS: Have you had to learn any specific new skills (technical or soft) for your role?
Angeline: When I interned for this role, I had not even used an apple product before, let alone a Macbook (On my first day, my manager asked me to open the browser and after telling him the situation he said “Look for the little compass”). There was a high learning curve from learning the basics of the laptop to learning how to use the terminal to learning about my cloud desktop along with all of Amazon’s internal tools. Almost 90% of the skills I need for this role I learned during the internship and another 5% I learned when I started my permanent role.
HereAtAWS: What’s the most exciting part of your job?
Angeline: Always doing meaningful work. I know that everything I spend my time on will have direct impact on customers and that’s pretty great.
HereAtAWS: What initially interested you in working for AWS?
Angeline: If I’m being honest, a friend told me that they were applying for the internship so I decided to apply too as practise for when I started looking for a job. I applied and then I got the online assessment, so I decided to do it, then I got an interview and realised this could actually work out! Once I started the internship and learned about the culture of the company, I realised this is where I really wanted to be.
HereAtAWS: What were you excited to see AWS working on when you first got here?
Angeline: I was really excited about the Gaming and VR work being done.
HereAtAWS: What advice would you give people joining AWS?
Angeline: We really value our Leadership Principles. We actively try to live by them and you will not have a work conversation without hearing at least one of them. It is a little weird at first but you will soon realise that it encompasses who we are, who we want to be and how we want to move forward.
HereAtAWS: What three words would you use to describe workdays at AWS?
Angeline: Peculiar, Meaningful, Innovative.
HereAtAWS: Do you have any needs or commitment that require flexibility in your role?
Angeline: I applied for the Internship in April 2020 while I was busy with full-time Computer Science Honours. The semester dates were continuously moving because of the pandemic/online learning and it was difficult to plan when would be a good time for the internship. I worked with AWS from 29th of July 2020 to the 16th of Oct 2020 and my campus break was only 2 weeks in this period. The rest of the time I was balancing lectures/ tests/assignments with meetings. I am very thankful that my team allowed me to skip a meeting for a lecture or a test and caught me up afterwards. I think the best was that my manager completely understood and encouraged me to swap out early hours with late ones so that I could deliver results in both areas. There was one big test I wrote during AWS time and I ended up getting 100 for the test, resulting in me getting the highest for the module. At the end of the internship, I was asked to join my team permanently which I agreed to do after completing my Honours. I finished my Honours Cum Laude (missing Summa Cum Laude by 3%) and I know this wouldn’t have been possible if were not for my team being so flexible.
HereAtAWS: Is there anything else you would like to add about your personal journey?
Angeline: I had applied to many different companies for internships, summer work, winter schools and more and not once did I pass the application phase. I knew if I just got an interview, I could prove myself. It felt like these companies saw my application and immediately discarded it. I reached a point where I’d apply for something and tell myself it’s just practise for when I needed a real job. I heard multiple times that if I get work experience somewhere else, they’ll take me. Then, AWS got back to me saying they’d like to interview me. I did everything in my power to ace the interview and once I learned about Amazon’s company culture, I knew this is where I was meant to be. If this taught me anything, it is to never lose hope because maybe we’re meant for bigger things.