Meet Victor, Software Development Engineer

Victor joined AWS in 2019 as a Software Development Engineer, and is based in Bucharest, Romania.

­HereAtAWS: Hi Victor, tell us about your career journey. What brought you to your current role at AWS?

Victor: I had five years of previous experience as a software developer in another Bucharest-based software company prior to joining AWS. What brought me to my current role in AWS is my manager, who I knew from my university and an open-source education Non-Government Organization (NGO) which we were both part of. My manager had a sales call with me one year prior to me joining AWS which he detailed the way engineers work at AWS and what the team in Bucharest is doing. Without this call, I would probably not have applied to AWS and ended up where I am now.

HereAtAWS: Can you explain in simple terms: your role, who your customers are, and how you help them?

Victor: My role as a Software Development Engineer is to design, implement, test and maintain services and features used by other teams in AWS. Our services are distributed systems that scale with the AWS fleet and help other teams to debug problems that are happening on AWS machines and find root-causes for potential problems.

HereAtAWS: What kind of skills do you need to succeed in your role?

Victor: To succeed in my role, you need to know a bit of system design and a good dose of pragmatism to know what is the minimum viable product as things will never be perfect. We don’t excel at any specific topic but we need to be flexible and quickly pick up new technologies that we need to use to get the job done. Additionally, you need good communication skills for both working together with your team, as well as being diplomatic in customer interactions and finding the right balance for their needs.

HereAtAWS: Have you had to learn any specific new skills for your role?

Victor: The main skill I had to learn is how to work backwards from the customer’s needs to identify what would be the best solution for their top priority needs.

HereAtAWS: How does your work with customers help to make a positive impact on society?

Victor: My work enables other engineers to fix issues from AWS machines and develop new features faster, thus enabling AWS customers to use and get the features they need to offer their services to the world on a more reliable platform.

HereAtAWS: What’s the most exciting part of your job?

Victor: The most exciting part of my job is the diversity of tasks that I have to do on a daily basis. Our work ranges from creating new services/features for our customers, diving deep into complex problems to mitigate and improve our services, working on automating tedious manual process, solving security issues, communicating with customers and establishing a roadmap, building services into new AWS regions and the list goes on. You never get bored working here.

HereAtAWS: What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Victor: The most challenging part of my job is to find the right balance between working on the customer’s needs, operational work and keeping our services up to par, automating manual processes and other miscellaneous work.

HereAtAWS: What initially interested you in working for AWS?

Victor: The things that grabbed my interest initially were working on distributed systems and facing complex problems which require knowledge from several areas to find the right solution.

HereAtAWS: What were you excited to see AWS working on when you first got here?

Victor: The most exciting thing I saw AWS working on was AWS Lambda. It was quite mind-blowing to have a piece of code run so easily in the cloud without worrying about the setup and using it as a backend for serverless services.

HereAtAWS: What products or solutions have you worked on? What have been your favorites and why?

Victor: I’ve worked on our internal service which gathers data from AWS machines and then allows customers to access it for debugging purposes as well as another service which automatically analyses said data to provide customers with quick insights into the process of root-causing a potential problem. My favorite is the former for now as I have more experience with it and I have more ownership for it while the latter presents a different set of challenges which are harder to navigate for now. I suspect my favorite will change as the latter presents more opportunities to directly address customer pain points which have been ongoing for years.

HereAtAWS: What’s one of your greatest accomplishments since joining AWS?

Victor: Probably my greatest accomplishment in AWS was identifying a problem in our services, which required to be mitigated fast by creating a new service. Together with my team, we developed a non-trivial service in under one month in order to allow our customers to continue using our service securely.

HereAtAWS: What advice would you give people joining AWS?

Victor: The amount of knowledge you will see starting at AWS may be daunting at times. It’s important to understand that nobody expects you to just “get it“. It will take time to understand the technologies involved in working at AWS and you will always be learning. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be afraid to ask them again and again.

HereAtAWS: What three words would you use to describe workdays at AWS?

Victor: Exciting, challenging, growing.

HereAtAWS: What do you love to do outside work?

Victor: I am involved with an open-source education NGO which promotes open-source values and brings extra-curricular opportunities for computer science students. As a hobby, I am quite passionate about playing Ultimate Frisbee and trying to promote the sport more in Romania as we are still in the baby steps phase in my country.

HereAtAWS: Is there anything else you would like to add about your personal journey?

Victor: I think that one of the best lessons I learned by joining AWS is to not be afraid to make a leap and not be afraid to fail. I was very hesitant in deciding to join AWS as I thought the work will be too complex and the responsibilities will be too big for me to handle. I believed that I did not yet have all the knowledge or experience needed to succeed at AWS. This could not have been farther from the truth, because I found at AWS a place where you grow and learn as you go. Nobody expects you to do the impossible and you receive the help needed to find your footing and the right challenges for the skills you bring to the table.

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