In this episode we talk with Kevin Mack who works as a Cloud Solution Architect with ISVs.
He talks about how his past life as a professor gave him valuable life and tech skills, like explaining and simplify for the audience & also helped him sharpen his debugging skills. We also talk about how his wife made the greatest contribution to his blog, and also helps him run the alpha/beta test before delivering a session on a complex topic. We also talk about how designing for high availability is critical for the customers that he works with and he goes about designing them.
Enjoy listening !
Kevin’s journey on how he got to where he is today (02:08)
- Went to school business information technology and how he wanted to be anything but a programmer – but that’s where life got him 🙂
- He started off as a software developer, and how he took the process of reconciling bar exams from few days to a couple of hours.
- What drew him to the cloud was how it helped him to do things and create more impact in an easy and fast way
- His first cloud solution – Early learning solution for parents
- He now works as with Independent Software Vendors (ISV) in the State and Local Government space
Interesting projects that Kevin has worked on (06:03)
- Project #1 – Business problem – Achieve massive data processing in a really quick way – 100s of TB data on premise. He also talks about how he optimized the solution, making it compute & cost effective using Azure technologies. He had the opportunity to work on latest technologies like Lucene, Casandra.
- Project #2 – Biggest impact for ISV solutions that he works on is high availability – a downtime of single service or a server means all their customers are affected. How composite SLAs are more important than SLAs for each service. He also talks about how monitoring is critical – when we layer in services like Kubernetes and microservices.
Kevin’s advice to anyone who is starting off in the Cloud Solution space (14:44)
- Kevin talks about how his past life as a professor for the course “Intro to web development”, taught him all he needs to know about debugging, about how to boil down complex tech concepts and explain it in a way that makes sense. This skill of “simplification” really helps a Cloud Solution Architect in the following ways
- Help build rapport and make the customer comfortable to ask questions
- Empowers the Cloud Solution Architect to give and relay information and most importantly empower you to not know information.
- “The first time we are absolutely in our right to not know the answer, but the second time we are not.” – Advice he got when he started off in Microsoft
- He runs through his chalk talk with his wife who doesn’t have a tech background and uses it as an alpha/beta test before delivering it to the real audience – the principle being if someone who is non-tech can get it, anyone can get it
- Explain and simplify the complex – is what he feels is the biggest strength anyone can possess
- Anyone can gain this skill – there are enough community colleges which need professor. But if you can’t be a professor, find a user/meetup group – pick a topic to deliver which will force yourself to learn it.
Kevin’s advice to keep himself abreast of all the changes happening in the cloud world (22:50)
- When he wants to learn anything new, and to conquer competing priorities – he sets a timeline by which he will write a blog post about a new technology that will force him to learn and deliver on the topic.
- He picks on trends from the customer he is working with and learns about them.
- How yours truly, uses Kevin’s blog series “weekly series” to keep up with all the latest technologies.
How to get in touch with Kevin