David is a Technical Account Manager, based in Madrid, Spain.
HereAtAWS: Tell us about your career journey. What brought you to your current role at AWS?
David: Before joining AWS, I worked very close to the Database field, acting as a Database Administrator (with traces of SysAdmin) and a Project Manager for more than 17 years. With this background, I moved to Ireland back in February 2017 to become part of the AWS RDS Support Engineering team. That was an amazing experience that I recommend to anyone with a technical background, customer-facing skills, and a curiosity to learn how the internal system of AWS services work. Two and a half years later, I decided to take on a new challenge, and transitioned to my current position as a Technical Account Manager (TAM) here in Spain.
HereAtAWS: Can you explain in simple terms: your role, who your customers are, and how you help them?
David: Technical Account Managers are the voice of the customer within AWS and AWS’s voice within the customer. Therefore, we are the bridge between end customers and our internal teams. One of our many goals is building deep trusting relationships with our customers, so they can feel that we are an extension of their teams. My customers are companies that are running business-critical applications on top of AWS services and need to count on the highest level of technical support we can offer, which is known as Enterprise Support. I help my customers in so many ways that I always say that there are not two equal days in the life of a TAM. If I had to summarise, I’d say that I help them to optimise their operations (monitoring, alarming, playbooks), architectures (resilience, security), and cost efficiency, enabling them to make the most of their investment in AWS.
HereAtAWS: What technical and/or soft skills do you need to succeed in your role?
David: It’s a mix between both. In terms of tech, breadth is paramount. We need to be able to have technical conversations with our customers in a broad set of scenarios, in which several services are working together to achieve certain customer goals. Therefore, being comfortable in networking, compute technologies, and architectural paradigms is key to earning customer trust, which actually leads me to the soft skills part. As I mentioned before, we work intensively to build strong trust bridges with our customers, and that takes a good deal of empathy and backbone. We want customers to follow our advice not because it’s easy, but because it’s worth it, and the only way to get to that level of mutual trust is being very close to our customers and have a deep understanding about what their goals are and what can we do to help them in their journey towards them.
HereAtAWS: Have you had to learn any specific new skills (technical or soft) for your role?
David: Definitely yes! Working in AWS is a never ending learning journey and I love it. First, I’ve had to broaden my knowledge, taking myself out of my field of expertise (mainly relational databases and systems administration) and getting to know about a wide set of services and how they interact with each other in the most highly available, secure, and cost efficient way. Second, putting myself in the shoes of my customers and empathising with them is something key in our role. That enables us to develop an intense sense of ownership and to take actions out of it to help our customers.
HereAtAWS: At work, are you involved in any activities outside of your role?
David: I’m an active mentor: I truly enjoy delivering through others and getting new hires to know the Amazon culture, which I’m passionate about. I’m also quite engaged in hiring and I’ve participated in onsite hiring events in locations like Cairo (Egypt). During my stint in Ireland, I also was what we call a “relocation buddy”, helping new hires coming from my country to adapt themselves to Ireland, and giving them guidelines about official procedures, housing, and transportation, just to name a few of the topics I helped with.
HereAtAWS: What’s the most exciting part of your job?
David: If I had to pick only one part, I’d say that getting to know how our customers are using AWS services to deliver value. I get up in the morning eager to get more and more insights about our customer’s workloads and how I can help them optimise them. I can’t think in anything more exciting than that.
HereAtAWS: What advice would you give people joining AWS?
David: The amount of services/features/moving pieces at AWS can be a bit overwhelming at the beginning, so my main advice would be: make the most of the ramp up, be eager to learn, and last, but definitely not least, trust in your abilities (that’s key to overcome the imposter syndrome!)
HereAtAWS: What three words would you use to describe workdays at AWS?
David: Learn + Deliver + Empathy.
HereAtAWS: Is there anything else you would like to add about your personal journey?
David: I look a few years back and I’m amazed by the amount of things I’ve learned, the awesome projects I’ve been part of, the super smart and super easy going people I’ve met, and the way that using Amazon Leadership Principles in my personal life has made me a better person, and I just can say that joining AWS has been a life changing experience. Looking forward to my next Day One!