Anis is a Cloud Support Engineer based in Dublin, Ireland. He joined AWS in September 2019.
HereAtAWS: Tell us about your career journey. What brought you to your current role at AWS?
Anis: After completing my studies, I graduated as a Telecommunication engineer from the Tunisian university Sup'com. I joined a multinational telecommunications company and worked as a System Administrator Engineer. Thanks to this experience I was able to grow and learn new things from scratch in the 5 years that I spent within company. I have always been dreamt of being a part of an organization that has an impact on a big scale. Having such a dream was always pushed me to work hard in a manner that I was able to get 7 Redhat Certifications in 2 years and became Redhat Certified Architect. I still remember the day when I applied for a job position at AWS when I heard that AWS is hiring from Tunisia. It was a big challenge for me and I was up to it.
Although I had never considered relocating from my home country Tunisia, the opportunity that AWS offered me at that time motivated and empowered me to take a chance and step out of my comfort zone and made the big decision to relocate to Dublin and seize the opportunity! Joining AWS was the best life-changing decision I've ever made so far. I would never regret it and I'm deeply proud of the person I’ve become today thanks to that.
HereAtAWS: Can you explain in simple terms: your role, who your customers are, and how you help them?
Anis: As a Cloud Support Engineer, I work with a wide range of diverse customers globally, from small start-ups to large enterprises, via emails, calls and live chats, in English and French. Customer cases can vary greatly - some may have questions about specific AWS services, or have issues which require troubleshooting, replicating their environments to identify the root cause of the issue, providing guidance on how to setup their applications/systems to run efficiently in our ecosystem, helping customers to move their workloads from their data-centers into AWS, or providing architectural guidance to build their environments. Apart from working with external and internal AWS customers, there are many other areas you to get involved in as a Cloud Support Engineer. As I love to work with people, I also write public facing articles to AWS customers, I also create and deliver training content to my team and other teams in AWS Support and mentor new engineers that join the team and facilitate their on-boarding in the Team or coach them in their path to get their own SMEs on a one-to-one basis, as well as get involved with the interviewing process for potential new hires for AWS Support. Alongside this, I am involved in several projects aiming to make improvements to our services with engineers in parts of the globe, the last contribution that I released is a SAW (Support Automation Workflow) document called AWSSupport-TroubleshootSuseRegistration which can be used by AWS Customers to Troubleshoot/Check SUSE Registration issues. One of my favourite things about the AWS culture, is the fact that opportunities are endless and you can so grab any opportunity that comes along your way.
HereAtAWS: What technical and/or soft skills do you need to succeed in your role?
Anis: The technical capabilities required for the role of Cloud Support engineer vary based on the profiles you want, there are different profiles such as Linux, Networking, Deployment, Analytics, BigData and Security. Having good knowledge in Linux and Networking is fundamental for all of them though. Having the attitude to dive deep, go beyond expectations, being willing to roll up your sleeves and learn new things, having critical thinking, not losing track of the big picture understanding will help you to operate at the highest level. For the soft Skills, there are 14 Leadership Principles at Amazon. Having these core LP’s in your culture will help you grow, succeed in the role and guarantee you a thriving career within AWS.
HereAtAWS: Have you had to learn any specific new skills (technical or soft) for your role?
Anis: I am working in both French and Linux teams which helped my communication skills and given me the ability to effectively communicate solutions in many different ways and in different languages such English and French. I have learned how you can drive customer’s expectations/satisfaction, Think Big to serve customers, Earn Trust by motivating/Coaching/Mentoring and helping your colleagues and gain the right skills to hire and develop the best. On the technical side, it's still my day 1 for me even after 2 years in AWS, every day is new challenge, new service, new feature and new idea.
HereAtAWS: How does your work with customers help to make a positive impact on society?
Carlos: AWS services are used by different companies in all fields: Healthcare, Life Sciences, Online Banking. We are working with these companies to solve their technical issues, propose best practices for implementation, along with architectural guidance and suggestions to drive improvements in their services by identifying the issue patterns. In helping them and seeing first hand for example the positive impact of our AWS Services in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, I realized how much important my commitment/engagement to my job can impact our day-to-day life and make a positive difference around the world. Whether it’s using technology to solve the world’s most pressing issues, or through our employees donating their time to support causes they care about, or to let every person get the opportunity to live a life of dignity on a healthy planet.
HereAtAWS: At work, are you involved in any activities outside of your role?
Anis: I’m an active mentor: I truly enjoy delivering through others and getting new hires or anyone looking for guidance to know the Amazon culture, which I’m passionate about. I have had an active role in referring other Engineer candidates to the support organization. I believe by doing that I am opening an incredible opportunity for them; I want them to know that working at Amazon is a dream that can be achieved if you believe in yourself and you have enough dedication, by doing that, I feel proud of myself. A lot of people from my home country had never worked at AWS and so it was my initiative that brought such opportunities to them and helped them believe that they can do it. To date, I have successfully referred at least 20 candidates to the Premium Support team. I helped them get accustomed to how the interview process would work and gave them a point of contact within the organization that they could reach out to in the event that they needed anything. Through my efforts, I was able to drastically increase the number of Tunisian engineers in the Premium Support team.
HereAtAWS: What’s the most exciting part of your job?
Anis: Being able to make a positive impact on society directly or indirectly. Being able to help or motivate your colleagues to succeed. Being in touch directly with the customers to improve processes, solve issues, provide recommendations and share knowledge.
HereAtAWS: What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Anis: Keeping up with the pace of innovation. Just about everyone who works with AWS experiences this, whether you’re a customer or just using AWS services. AWS launches so many amazing Services/Features all the time that it can make it challenging to keep up with and continue expanding knowledge about all of them. It takes some dedication to stay current and well informed for the sake of my customers. I’m a big fan of hands-on learning, so just playing around with new services, can be an interesting way to keep up.
HereAtAWS: What initially interested you in working for AWS?
Anis: I was impressed by inclusion and diversity & Equity culture established in AWS, I was always impressed by putting high priority on innovation, the quality of support and advice they provide. So, for me it is really a big dream to be part of this organization, participate in impacting many customers with AWS services and helping them building their innovative products.
HereAtAWS: What were you excited to see AWS working on when you first got here?
Anis: Everybody in AWS is willing to help and contribute to your growth, ask for help whenever needed. You will never get a no for an answer.
HereAtAWS: What products or solutions have you worked on? What have been your favourites and why?
Anis: I have worked with a variety of services including Compute, Storage, Networking, Linux and Deployment. My favourite Services are EKS (Elastic Kubernetes Service) and Cloudendure. I love working with EKS as it helps our customers run and orchestrate their containerized applications and I am a big fan of Cloudendure service in which I became a Subject Matter Expert in Cloudendure because it helps our customers to move their workloads into AWS cloud to start their journey on the cloud with us.
HereAtAWS: What’s one of your greatest accomplishments since joining AWS?
I was able to get my SME (Subject Matter of Expert) in Cloudendure Service and the transition from Cloud Support Engineer I to Cloud Support Engineer II.
HereAtAWS: What advice would you give people joining AWS?
Anis: Embrace the AWS culture (Live and breathe the Leadership Principles), be eager to learn, believe in yourself and don’t feel shy to make mistakes. Be ready to learn many things (technical or soft) when you join AWS. A sea of knowledge is waiting for you! Grab any opportunity that comes along your way, work hard, have fun and make history. Everybody in AWS is willing to help you, ask for help whenever needed. You will never get a no for an answer. You will meet people from walks of life and different cultures. I believe it is important to understand people and respond to them in the right way. We work in a diverse environment and we must ALWAYS be empathetic to those around us. This will help you stay connected with different teams and expand your network as well.
HereAtAWS: What three words would you use to describe workdays at AWS?
Anis: Challenging, Innovative and Fun.
HereAtAWS: Do you have any needs or commitment that require flexibility in your role?
Anis: I believe everyone needs flexibility in their role. For me, the ability to work remotely from home, or the office gives me a nice work-life balance. I can be home to accept deliveries or when the weather is very bad; I can be at the office to work or collaborate closely with colleagues.
HereAtAWS: What do you love to do outside work?
Anis: Growing up on the country side, I had the chance to help my family with farming. A special bond with nature was developed in me throughout the years. When I received my first paycheck as an engineer, the first thing I did; is starting my own farming project in Tunisia. It has sparked my interest ever since i can remember. I couldn't get over how therapeutic the time spent in nature was. You forget all the obstacles and put your worries behind just as you step into that environment. One of the main reasons i chose Ireland for my career experience was the need for the clean air and the green scenery. I can't imagine having to live where nature was not accessible.
While I'm trying to grow my business in Tunisia, I'm also keeping in touch with it from my garden where I can plant my own crops. Nothing compares to consuming food made with vegetables you've grown yourself.
HereAtAWS: Is there anything else you would like to add about your personal journey?
Anis: Throughout my life, I've faced multiple challenges, some of them could have broken me or had me give up. I grew up in an environment where every single step of the way was way harder for me than people who had the privilege of living in an urban town. School was miles away, we didn't have access to basic academic needs, we basically had to start from nothing. I had to keep thriving and keep pushing forward to overcome the obstacles I was faced with; I didn't stop no matter how tempting it was or how much doubt I had. As a matter of fact, it's safe to say I was one of the very few people that were able to graduate high-school with merit from that town. The years I've spent working hard and putting all my energy into my dream have grown the empathetic side of me. I now know what it's like to struggle throughout your way through an unprivileged environment and reach and even surpass what more privileged peers have reached. It certainly translated itself through my work and my career where I always try to help out people who haven't had the means and accessibility as their counterparts. I've always tried to recommend employees who have pushed through and put the effort because they know the worth and value of what they do. We learn to appreciate the small things and work harder to keep them than the people who might take them for granted.