PJ is a Logistics Specialist based in Bahrain. He joined AWS in July 2018.
HereAtAWS: Tell us about your career journey. What brought you to your current role at AWS?
PJ: I am originally from Ireland, and I graduated from University there in 2015 with a degree in Commerce & Information Systems. Six months later, I found myself in Saudi Arabia working in logistics for an engineering firm. This was much more than what I had envisioned as my first role out of college, let alone the location! Two years later, I saw an ad pop up for a role with AWS in Bahrain, and jumped at the opportunity. My goal had been to get into the tech/IT industry by any means, and I am so glad that I took that leap.
HereAtAWS: Can you explain in simple terms: your role, who your customers are, and how you help them?
PJ: In the simplest terms, my role involves streamlining and coordinating the receiving-end aspects of the supply chain process for AWS data centres and the teams that work within them. My “internal” customers are the various infrastructure teams within the data centre environment, and I help them by trying to create a seamless experience when obtaining the parts/equipment they need to carry out their tasks.
HereAtAWS: What technical and/or soft skills do you need to succeed in your role?
PJ: Due to the nature of the business, general understanding of IT systems is helpful due to our heavy reliance on and use of systems; whether it be for asset tracking and management, or cycle-counting, we are always looking at ways in which we can leverage these systems in order to streamline our processes and ultimately serve the customer more effectively. Soft skills such as time management, effective communication and the ability to pass on knowledge are crucial in this role, as there are so many parties that rely on your ability to deliver results efficiently and in a timely manner. Also, being adaptable in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment makes life a lot easier in this industry.
HereAtAWS: Have you had to learn any specific new skills (technical or soft) for your role?
PJ: Every day I am working on and improving softs skills such as leadership and communication, as I often jump out of my comfort zone and take the lead on certain projects or initiatives. I am actively involved in the “Hire & Develop the best” initiative, whereby I have completed multiple on-site interviews for new prospects, and it really has pushed me outside of my comfort zone, which I am constantly striving to do.
From a technical aspect, I have gained a lot of knowledge and understanding of the various AWS services, as I have been working through some of the AWS certifications and training. It’s a personal goal of mine to know the business inside out, and not just from the perspective of my current role.
HereAtAWS: How does your work with customers help to make a positive impact on society?
PJ: By helping to create a streamlined and seamless environment within data centers with regards to equipment availability, retrieval and replacement, I am helping AWS maintain customer satisfaction from the end-user perspective with regards to the services that AWS provides them.
HereAtAWS: At work, are you involved in any activities outside of your role?
PJ: I am currently a member of the Infra Ops Safety Committee in Bahrain where we work together as a team to come up with creative ways to spread awareness on the importance of safety and ways in which it can be improved in the work environment.
HereAtAWS: What’s the most exciting part of your job?
PJ: Getting to work closely with a diverse range of people from various backgrounds is a great aspect of the job. I get to “learn & be curious” every day, picking people’s brains and gaining insight into what they do and how they do it. At AWS, there is no such thing as a “silly question”. I think this is a perk that is unique to working for Amazon and one that certainly never grows tiresome!
HereAtAWS: What advice would you give people joining AWS?
PJ: I would advise people to think big and not limit themselves merely to the role that they are in. That is the beauty of Amazon, where you can speak up if you think something can be done more efficiently. Get involved in global initiatives and make yourself known to others, and show that you are willing to learn new things and take on new opportunities that interest you. The sky is the limit!
HereAtAWS: What three words would you use to describe workdays at AWS?
PJ: Unpredictable. diverse. opportunistic!
HereAtAWS: What do you love to do outside work?
PJ: I am an avid fitness enthusiast and like to try out new physical activities that will challenge me and test my limits. Some of these include boxing, MMA, weightlifting, swimming, sprinting, football to name but a few!
Also, in my spare time, I like to try and learn and develop new skills in areas such as programming and web development. When I have some time off, I also love to travel. Exploring new places, cultures and meeting new people is a very rewarding and humbling experience for me.
HereAtAWS: Is there anything else you would like to add about your personal journey?
PJ: Upon moving to the Middle East initially, I had lots of self-doubt about how I would adapt to a new environment and my first job outside of college, miles outside of my comfort zone. I pushed through with some perseverance and determination, and proved myself wrong.
When it came to being offered an interview with AWS, I felt the self-doubt and anxiety creeping up again and was not very confident in my ability to get through the interview, let alone get offered a job. Low and behold, I was hired and once again proved myself wrong.
Moral of the story – believe in yourself! Don’t let anyone (including yourself!) tell you that you cannot achieve something.