Matthew is an ICT Design Engineer based in Dublin, Ireland. He joined AWS in November 2014.
HereAtAWS: Tell us about your career journey. What brought you to your current role at AWS?
Matthew: I have worked in the ICT industry for over 24 years, starting in the UK and moving to Ireland about 20 years ago. I went out on my own in my mid 20’s working with a small team of engineers, on various projects with our main customer being one of Ireland’s leading telco providers.
Circumstances changed for me when the recession hit Ireland, with many projects being cut and the volume of work dropping significantly. While I worked hard to keep my company afloat there came a point when this was no longer feasible and I had to shut my business down.
This was a very difficult and a challenging time for me as I was out of work and jobs were in short supply. I made a decision that I needed to adapt and change my skillset.
An opportunity to join a small business arose which would allow me apply some of my existing skills but also grow and learn new skills. I worked for this company for four years, winning a number of large bids and helping them grow and expand their business.
When the opportunity to join AWS arose, I could not resist throwing my hat in the ring. I have always loved what I do and to be working in this area full time for a company with such growth seemed like an opportunity not to be missed.
I started my journey in the late binding team and over the course of two years, I became the SME for EMEA, supporting the launch in new regions and exploring opportunities to get involved with other areas and projects.
The knowledge and skillset I have gained has been invaluable and has allowed me to share my learnings, drive efficiencies and mentor the teams in EMEA and the new regions.
The exposure and learnings gained on the various projects gave me the opportunity to join the cabling infrastructure team, managing deployments of new builds and new technologies, as well as getting involved with project management and the financial side of the company.
With the skills developed over my tenure, I proceeded to join the design and capacity planning team, which is where I remain working at this time. This roles allows me to get involved with our data center builds from inception - inputting on new designs while also setting the standards and guidelines while working with the EMEA and the wider Global teams.
HereAtAWS: Can you explain in simple terms: your role, who your customers are, and how you help them?
Matthew: The primary focus of the Information Communications and Technology (ICT) team is to develop simplified, cost effective Data Center (DC), Inside Plant (ISP) cabling infrastructure solutions that supports current business demands, and quickly adapts during future versioning of our platform. We do this by partnering with AWS teams to design cable plant solutions that align with our organisational goals, and data center technology roadmaps. Our priorities continue to be safety, flexibility, availability, and efficiency of our platform.
HereAtAWS: What technical and/or soft skills do you need to succeed in your role?
Matthew: You need a good understanding of the inside plant, structured cabling and current standards and guidelines, it also helps to be personable and communicate well especially when dealing with vendors and various stakeholders across the company.
HereAtAWS: Have you had to learn any specific new skills (technical or soft) for your role?
Matthew: I’ve always been someone who works from a technical perspective so the soft skills were definitely a challenge. Communication at every point is key at AWS, be it verbally or written, so I’ve had to work on this area and have probably talked to the mirror or proof read an email one too many times! But that has definitely helped me progress within the company.
HereAtAWS: How does your work with customers help to make a positive impact on society?
Matthew: While my work probably affects society more indirectly than some, the work the ICT team carries out ensures Data Centers are available globally to support the business and their customer demands. In light of the existing pandemic we are in, it is only with the Data Centers availability and capacity planning that has allowed us support the demand from our customers to grow and expand their services in such a short timeframe.
HereAtAWS: At work, are you involved in any activities outside of your role?
Matthew: Over the last number of years, I have mentored a number of new and existing team members within the ICT area; I have enjoyed this and learned a lot about myself, and their roles.
HereAtAWS: What is the most exciting part of your job?
Matthew: No week is the same. The area continually strives for change and innovation with various workshops and conversations that allows for open debate and collaboration across the teams. There is never a dull day, the job can be challenging but I feel the work we do makes a difference even though that may not be seen across the company it is definitely felt within the teams that are directly working within the data center environments.
HereAtAWS: What three words would you use to describe workdays at AWS?
Matthew: Team spirit, challenging, exciting.
HereAtAWS: Do you have any needs or commitment that require flexibility in your role?
Matthew: I am a parent with young children and as anyone with young children will know sometimes, you need to expect the unexpected. When the unexpected times arise, flexibility is needed and I have never had an issue with this in the same way most of us would never have an issue giving flexibility during times when calls or project deadlines need to be met.
HereAtAWS: Is there anything else you would like to add about your personal journey?
Matthew: When I lost my company, it was probably one of my lowest points and people used to say ‘what’s for you won’t pass you’ and other such expressions, which at that time meant very little. Looking back now, I see that sometimes when things are falling apart, they may actually be falling into place, and AWS for me was when I felt things took a turn and I was once again excited about going to work and I found my place.