Stephen has been working for CleanSlate for a little over 3 years. His favorite part of working with the CleanSlate team is their willingness the help. The team really works well together to help each and every one succeed. Recently, Stephen worked on a project where he learned a new way to host WordPress websites so that they were serverless and highly available. 

Q: What is your role at CleanSlate?
A: Technical Architect

Q: What made you want to work for CleanSlate?
A: I wanted to work for CleanSlate because I was looking for a challenge. Unless you are in industries that value being on the cutting edge, you are typically limited in the technologies and solutions you get to build. I liked that working at CleanSlate I would get the opportunity to expand my skills, learn new technologies, and help to be on the cutting edge of new and exciting tech,

Q: What does your day-to-day look like at CleanSlate?
A: A typical day consists of a combination of research, planning, and hands-on implementation. Technology is always changing – especially in the cloud. There are services and features being rolled out all of the time, and it’s important that I understand what these new additions are and how they can be used. Keeping on top of emerging technologies helps us to provide better solutions for our clients. Once I know what is available to me, I then need to understand if it would be a good fit for our clients. I often times have to conduct fact-finding with clients and plan out solutions based on their individual needs. Once all of this is complete, I get to jump in and start building solutions for clients.

Q: What skills are you currently utilizing in your role?
A: There are several crucial skills that I use for my role – cloud knowledge, OS knowledge, programming, and tools. AWS is my primary focus, so having a strong understanding of how it works along with when it’s available crucial. Additionally, I work a lot with different operating systems so it is important to understand how to best use an operating system. There are many times I have to code up a custom solution for a client to meet a specific need; sometimes this is in programming languages and other times in shell scripts such as bash. Finally, having a good grasp on the available tools, such as Terraform, to make sure we are not reinventing the wheel and we are delivering the results quickly. 

Q: How has the company helped your growth within your role?
A: I have grown a lot since working at CleanSlate. The combination of being able to learn new things along with having a strong team to support me has been invaluable. It’s one thing to be able to learn new things, but it’s an entirely different thing to learn supported by a strong team that will help you get where you need to be.

Q: What advice do you have for someone entering your field right now? What are the most important hard and soft skills?
A: From a hard skills standpoint, it’s important to have a good understanding of Cloud technologies. The cloud is an amazing tool, but it’s also very easy to get lost while working in the cloud, so it’s critical to have a good understanding of it. It’s also important to have some programming experience; there are often times that I have to write scripts or create a program to accomplish what I am trying to do.

Now, from a soft skills standpoint, it’s important to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. There have been many times I have been on projects where I was not familiar with a client’s industry or what they needed. I’ve also been in situations where I needed to learn new skills in order to do what was required.

It’s okay not to know everything at the moment – learning is part of the job. You just have to be willing to learn what you don’t know!

Q: What is your favorite quote?
A: He who says he can and he who says he can’t are both usually right – Confucius

Q: What are 4 things you cannot live without?
A: Caffeine, My Car, My Computer, & YouTube