Sara is a Senior Solutions Architect based in Amsterdam. She joined AWS in June, 2020.
HereAtAWS: Tell us about your career journey. What brought you to your current role at AWS?
Sara: Before joining AWS, I was an AWS customer. I worked at a global OTT media platform that streams sport events in real-time and on-demand. Back there I was an engineer responsible for the provisioning, release and monitoring of some of the micro services in the acquisition & retention, payments and core platform domains. So, even though I am new to AWS, AWS in not new to me!
HereAtAWS: Can you explain in simple terms: your role, who your customers are, and how you help them?
Sara: As a Solutions Architect, I help AWS customers succeed in implementing cloud technologies, and I provide guidance and support on how to craft scalable, cost-effective cloud architectures.
My customers belong to the Digital Native Business segment: they are typically companies "born in the cloud", operating a Business to Consumer (B2C) model, and whose primary mode of business is online.
HereAtAWS: What technical and/or soft skills do you need to succeed in your role?
Sara: I think it really boils down to understanding and embodying the Leadership Principles that permeate the company culture at AWS.
Some people outside AWS unknowingly act based on those principles even if they may have never heard of them. Within AWS, the LPs give the opportunity to people to raise the bar for themselves and for others. They are referenced on almost a daily basis and they really are a representation of the company culture. I find this to be both refreshing and empowering.
HereAtAWS: Have you had to learn any specific new skills (technical or soft) for your role?
Sara: Continuous learning and improvement are essential for this role, so definitely yes!
Coming from a more hands-on role as an AWS customer, I had the advantage of being familiar with some of the AWS services that most customers use.
Every day I still dedicate some time to learning about AWS services that I am less familiar with, new features, different or emerging architectural patterns and solutions, to widen the range of my expertise and be able to better help our customers.
HereAtAWS: At work, are you involved in any activities outside of your role?
Sara: Yes! I was excited to find so many opportunities you could pursue as employee. I signed up for the re/Start program, as inclusion ambassador, as mentor & mentee. I participated to a session of Office Hours, a live event streamed on Twitch when I answered some serverless related questions asked by AWS customers. I created a volunteering opportunity on GiveHub (our internal volunteering tool) that allows my colleagues to mentor and support SheSharp community members (under-represented demographics in tech) and help them pursue a successful career in tech. And, I also recently got involved with the internal team that is building the Lambda Powertools, an open-source software written in different languages that helps developers building serverless-based applications.
There really are so many opportunities for personal and professional growth here, the possibilities are endless.
HereAtAWS: What’s the most exciting part of your job?
Sara: I find it mind blowing the scale of the impact exercised by both my role as Solutions Architect, and AWS as a company. Helping companies of all sizes succeed, grow and expand is an honour and a privilege.
HereAtAWS: What advice would you give people joining AWS?
Sara: When joining AWS, it becomes apparent how brilliant and smart some of the folks here are. You get to work with world-class technologists.
This can be intimidating and can give you impostor syndrome! So, don’t forget about the achievements that got you to where you are now!
HereAtAWS: What three words would you use to describe workdays at AWS?
Sara: Impactful, engaging, empowering.
HereAtAWS: Do you have any needs or commitment that require flexibility in your role?
Sara: I find the work life balance of my role to be great. At the moment I am in the process of buying my first house and while this can be tiring and stressful, my work schedule can be flexible as long as I am delivering.
HereAtAWS: What do you love to do outside work?
Sara: I am the co-founder and Director of Tech for SheSharp, a non-profit foundation based in Amsterdam that fosters inclusion and diversity in tech and entrepreneurship.
I am also a co-organiser of the ServerlessDays Amsterdam Meetup.
Both these activities are volunteer based and occupy a lot of my free time outside of work… but I get a lot of positive energy out of them. It’s really fulfilling.
HereAtAWS: Is there anything else you would like to add about your personal journey?
Sara: I feel very privileged and grateful to be where I am now: as a customer I had a lot of respect for the people working at AWS and the scale of their work, and it’s incredible to be part of all this now.