Gökçen is a Software Development Engineer based in Dublin, Ireland. He joined AWS in September, 2020.
HereAtAWS: Tell us about your career journey. What brought you to your current role at AWS?
Gökçen: I used to work in the Telco business in Turkey for about five years before moving to Ireland. I wanted my work to reach more people and have a broader impact. Then I moved to Ireland and I started working at a company which was focusing on innovative digital travel solutions for airlines, travel management companies and travel agencies. There, I was able to make something meaningful for millions of people’s lives who are travelling within Europe. But I wanted to achieve more, I wanted to work somewhere that I can do more for more people, taking part in a bigger success story. This was the main driver for me to join to AWS, helping people with meaningful work that had a global impact.
HereAtAWS: Can you explain in simple terms: your role, who your customers are, and how you help them?
Gökçen: As a Software Development Engineer in CloudFront, my daily goal is to make internet usage frustration-free for our customers. My customers are institutions, organizations, developers and almost anyone around the globe who uses the internet. CloudFront gives developers and businesses an easy way to distribute content to end users with low latency, high data transfer speeds, and no commitments.
We aim to increase speed of any kind of interaction which end users have with the internet and my team’s highest priority is to deliver content in the most secure, efficient and fast way. We let our institutional/commercial customers define how their content will be cached by CloudFront, and in return, end users can reach this content regardless of where they are thanks to our global network of hundreds of edge locations where the content is being cached.
HereAtAWS: What technical and/or soft skills do you need to succeed in your role?
Gökçen: My team specializes in increasing efficiency of caching and serving the content, as well as its security. This requires attention to details, following the customer trends and planning according to customer needs, and obsessing with performance and usability of our systems. In terms of technical skills, high performance and secure coding is critical in my team. Serving terabytes of data to millions, if not billions, of end users through thousands of servers requires you to make every decision quite carefully and most importantly, based on data.
In terms of soft skills, communication and planning are key. Every single decision should count towards making content caching safer and faster for the customers, and this can only be achieved by correct prioritization, planning and sharing the findings, chaalnges or solutions within the team or organization without leaving any gaps.
HereAtAWS: Have you had to learn any specific new skills (technical or soft) for your role?
Gökçen: My biggest take in my current role is to do it right the first time and keeping everyone clear about the progress, blockers or any kind of new information I have gained. We want to improve efficiency constantly in our systems as well as in how we develop them, so constant questioning about “if that’s the right thing to do”, “if there is a way to make it work faster or more secure”, “is this the best way of spending my time to help my customers” kind of questions sharpen your decision-making skills. This also makes you become more curious and communicate with the rest of the team, helping both sides.
In terms of technical skills, I haven’t had much experience in coding in C/C++, or in network related fields so I had to learn about those things. I spent some time to catch up with those technologies, as well as how my team is using them to achieve our goals. It wasn’t a huge transition from Object Oriented languages to C but using it the right or performant way requires effort.
HereAtAWS: What’s the most exciting part of your job?
Gökçen: It’s actually working in a place where I can make an impact on a global level, which was my dream since my graduation. Knowing that someone from the other side of the world benefits from my change excites me every day.
HereAtAWS: What were you excited to see AWS working on when you first got here?
Gökçen: It actually still excites me to see the scale of the challenges and solutions. In my team specifically, raising the bar in every step is as exciting as it is challenging.
HereAtAWS: What advice would you give people joining AWS?
Gökçen: You might feel over-awed by the scale when you first start, but don’t let this scare you. Every single person at AWS wants you to succeed and will invest a lot in your success. Spend time to learn what came before you, be open to communication, and don’t hesitate to take action, ask, and share your opinions regardless of how short it has been since you joined.
HereAtAWS: What three words would you use to describe workdays at AWS?
Gökçen: Challenging, dynamic and enlightening.