Q&A with CleanSlate’s AWS Technical Architect, David Poindexter

David is an AWS Technical Architect at Cleanslate TG who focuses on understanding the macro scale challenges facing a rapidly changing cloud landscape.

By striving to deeply understand institutional, structural, and systemic requirements, he creates and advises architectural decisions that lead to wholistic solution plans that leverage modern technologies while ensuring development teams are free to do what they do best: Ship Solutions.

While creating Solution Architectures and implementation plans, David considers all key stakeholder’s needs and constraints inherrent in the current landscape, and collaborates cross-team to see value shipped from concept to production.

We asked him a few questions about his current work at CleanSlate, what he thinks the future holds for Cloud Architecture, and how he got involved on Twitch.

Q1

What makes you excited about working for CleanSlate? Tell me something about a recent project you’ve been working on.

Being in a unique position (AWS Technical Architect), in a unique company, carries with it it a bit of privilege. I am able to enjoy the perfect combination of autonomy, trust, accountability, and leadership support that let’s me work in a way that is unlike any other experience I’ve ever had in this industry. I am able to balance interests, propose options, advise decisions, and then execute in the way I know best: Shipping Solutions.

In a recent project, a client didn’t have knowledge around a specific set of technologies. I was able to document, teach, and show by example how to leverage some 5 different technologies so their team could now have this in their experience arsenal. By shipping the product, and being diligent about Teaching & Learning, the effects of the effort compounded many times over to enable an entire team to do great things long after I shipped my contribution and moved to my next challenge.

Q2

What advice do you have for someone entering your field right now? What are the most important hard and soft skills?

Right now is the best time to be learning in this industry. The availability of resources to learn from is vast and varied, suiting every learning style, time commitment, financial ability, and technical interest. And these resources include your peers.

Never stop learning. Be a forever junior developer. Regardless of what title you earn in your employment, don’t lose the junior mindset. None of us are as smart as all of us. Learn to network as much as possible. And I don’t mean invites on LinkedIn. Not that “networking”. I mean make friends with developers at other companies, in other countries, in different tech stacks. Share with them, as they share with you.

Stay humble. As you learn something new, find a way to teach it to someone else. I recommend keeping a Digital Garden, and learn in public. This will not only start gradually reducing your “imposter syndrom” by illustrating that you know there are things you don’t know, but you desire to know, but it will also serve as a learning resource for those after you who are looking for a guided path through the journey you just completed. Be the person you wish you had access to when you first started.

Q3

What do you think the future of Cloud Architecture looks like?

The future of Cloud will still be about the same things it always was. Agility. We’re going to see a future where it really doesn’t matter what “cloud” vendor is chosen, the only important part is: how fast can you ship. The particular decisions, understandably, will be dictated by constraints from various interests of the entire delivery platform from Fianance & Legal, Security, right down to individual developers. But the main selling point (and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise) has never been “cost”, it’s about Agility.

Q4

How did you get started on Twitch? What has been your favorite part about growing with the platform?

I started as just a regular viewer, watching Science & Technology streams on a separate monitor, mostly in the background, went about my daily work, and my evening escapades. Gradually I got to know the streamers themselves, and their communities. I started contributing by helpfully dropping links into chat for topics that were being discussed, helping new viewers get acquainted, and alerting the streamer to any broadcast of technical issues.

Over time, as trust and reputation was built, I was promoted to Moderator in many prominent Science & Technology streams and continued to help, and started helping in other ways. Keeping things friendly, inclusive, and safe was a primary duty, and one that I performed well on streams as small as 5 viewers to as large as 15,000 viewers during live conferences.

I eventually started streaming, myself, after learning the ins-and-outs and getting some appropriate tech, and was able to enter the Twitch Affiliate program in record time. Beyond that, I was personally invited to join a newly-growing Twith Stream Team called The Live Coders as member number 12. We are now almost 200 members streaming Science & Tech on Twitch across all timezones of the world virtually 24 hours per day.

My favorite part has been the friends I’ve made. I’ve been guests on streams, been recognized by leaders in the field I admire, and been able to participate in large events such as Microsoft’s Dev Across the Sun, Twilio Signal 2019, Twilio Earth Day 2020, and 2 online virtual conferences that my own The Live Coders team has put on in 2020.

The community is designed, from the ground up, to be open, inclusive, friendly, and beginner-friendly. Despite strong passions in particular technologies, it is nearly universal that we accept there is a place for every tech, there is room for every person, and everyone deserves to learn in an inclusive environment.

Q5

If you could give your younger self advice, what would it be?

Stop questioning your abilities. There are plenty of people in the world who will do that on your behalf. The reason you are where you are is because you know what you’re doing. Your friends and colleagues know this, even when you don’t believe it. Trust in the leadership team who put their trust in you and go do great things.

Connect with David on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Twitch.

Q&A with CleanSlate Senior UI/UX Consultant, Ronnie Fenwick

Ronnie Fenwick is CleanSlate’s Senior UI/UX Designer. His job consists of the planning, design, and execution of user interfaces and user experience designs. He can be found coordinating interface production with clients and other developers, working through UI/UX issues, developing features, and designing internal marketing executions. We asked him a few questions about his current work at CleanSlate, where he sees the future of UI/UX consulting, and advice he has for others in his field.

Q: What makes you excited about working for CleanSlate? Tell me something about a recent project you’ve been working on.

A: At CleanSlate, I appreciate the variety of different projects and technologies I get to use on any given day. We were recently engaged with a client to build out a medical sales app. It is a greenfield project with only a name. It has been very rewarding to see the excitement from that “First Look Feeling” as the brand took shape, and then the app come to life. I really get a sense of satisfaction helping others realize their software dreams.

Q: What advice do you have for someone entering your field right now? What are the most important hard and soft skills?

A: Be prepared to never stop learning. The whole industry changes technologies and tastes every few years. A good designer can work in their natural style; a great designer can work in any style. Learn a few extra skills such as front end development, motion graphics or copywriting. If you know how to build sites it will make you a better UI designer, and I would start there.

I would say the most important hard skills are being a master at design software, staying current on new and emerging UI/UX patterns and learning how to effectively communicate visually. One of the biggest soft skills I developed over time is helping your client solve business pain points with UI/UX executions. Often times they come to you with a redesign or even a greenfield project, but what you are really solving are operations issues, or customer experience issues more so than just making a great interface. You need to learn how to ask the right questions, follow your instincts and be able to communicate effectively with a diverse roster of internal and external stakeholders.

Q: What do you think the future of UI/UX consulting looks like?

A: I think the future of UI/UX looks really good. With the ubiquity of technology in our lives and the current climate of the pandemic, I think everyone realized just how important eCommerce is to the future of business. Additionally I think it has never been more clear how a good UX/UI strategy and execution is to users adopting your software into their daily lives or buying from a store online. For the last 15 years, often times your first impression to a customer has been via a digital medium. I have always believed this is one of the most important factors to finding success online, but it has not always had good representation in the project scope. However, I think the larger market in general has caught up to this thinking. I can see it in the emphasis put on UI/UX in the last 6-7 years, versus what it looked like in the earlier part of my career.

Q: What was/is your favorite quarantine activity?

A: I love to golf. I get to be outside enjoying nature, getting some exercise, and I can maintain a safe distance from others while doing it.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax in your downtime?

A: I enjoy hanging out with my family, playing golf and riding my motorcycle.

Learn AI with Einstein

Can AI be useful for business during the Covid-19 pandemic? With an increased urgency to go digital fast, now is the time to skill up on practical applications of artificial intelligence to stabilize, reopen, and grow your business.

Did you catch the “Learn AI with Salesforce” virtual series? If not, watch as Lizet Vanessa Avila, CleanSlate’s Salesforce Sales Specialist, walks through the steps on how to build a chatbot. In addition, see how Hornblower Cruises and Events implemented this AI tool to help employees quickly answer questions about the company’s response during COVID-19.

Questions? Contact Vanessa at vanessa.avila@cleanslatetg.com

AWS Webinar: Cloud Migration Strategies

Migrating out of the data center and into the Cloud can transform your business, but it’s critical to approach your migration strategically and with the right resources and tools.

To learn how to migrate to the cloud with confidence, please join the leadership team from AWS, cloud assessment specialists CloudChomp and Advanced Consulting Partner CleanSlate for an informative webinar.

We will discuss:

  • Economics of moving to the cloud
  • How to gain more visibility into current on premise assets and cost (TCO)
  • How to determine the costs to run current workloads in AWS
  • What is Return on Investment (ROI) to migrate
  • Hear from our clients – case study

Careful planning ensures you can meet migration goals, optimize your TCO and benefit from the many AWS services at your fingertips. So, please join us for this exciting and informative webinar!

 

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED

 

August 13th, 2020

12:00 – 1:00 PM ET

On-demand viewing of live event will be available after the event

FEATURED SPEAKERS

Chris Seitz

Director of Cloud Services

CleanSlate

David Pulaski

CEO

CloudChomp

Douglas Gallagher

 Business Development Manager

 AWS

 

CleanSlate and CloudCheckr

CleanSlate and CloudCheckr

CleanSlate Technology Group is a proud partner of CloudCheckr, an advanced cloud management service platform working to offer comprehensive cost and security solutions for various companies. CloudCheckr’s success stems from the combination of IT, finance and security teams in order to offer the most effective and comprehensive cloud management solutions. CloudCheckr is an AWS Advanced Technology Partner and an Azure Silver Partner. Offering expertise and management in cost, security, compliance, resource inventory and utilization, and cloud automation, CloudCheckr is one of the most detailed and advanced cloud managers that companies can work with.  

FEATURES

Perhaps the most vital element to cloud management is the security aspect of it; even the most sophisticated cloud architects and developers make mistakes and can still be at frequent risk of attacks. Advanced system design and architecture are the building blocks of cloud security. IT administration and frequent assessments and validations are vital elements of security as well, which is where CloudCheckr comes in. By offering secure configuration and frequent monitoring and compliance in the cloud, CloudCheckr provides the most effective and advanced cloud security management for your company. Several components of CloudCheckr’s security features include:

 

  • Cloud Log Intelligence facilitating log documentation and analytic
  • Alerts for significant changes in configurations
  • Security best practice checks
  • IAM and permissions tracking
  • Cloud perimeter assessments
  • Continuous total compliance, checking over thirty regulatory standards, and automated fixing of vulnerabilities 

RESULTS

CloudCheckr’s security operations are essential to the success of your organization. According to polls conducted by CloudCheckr, it was found that 73% of the success of your organization’s public cloud infrastructure investment is tied back to security. This makes security the second most important element of cloud infrastructure, behind IT operations and infrastructure.  

With the help of CloudCheckrCleanSlate ran a security assessment on a financial services company and focused on analyzing and assessing the following areas: Cloud Architecture, Security & Compliance, DevOps, Monitoring & Operations, and Backup & Recovery. Through this assessment CleanSlate’s team was able to identify:  

  • 41 critical issues
  • 29 high level issues 
  • 39 medium issues
  • 22 low level issues
  • 5 unidentifiable issues that required further analysis 

CleanSlate found 136 cloud security issues. These are common issues that can significantly impact the function of company’s cloud as a whole and leave it susceptible to a wide variety of security issues and/or attacks. Through remediation process, CleanSlate was able to immediately erase the 41 critical issues that exist. The team then set up a 6-month plan to erase the remaining errors in the cloud, setting the company up for effective cloud structure and security for years to come. CleanSlate Technology Group is able to effectively assess cloud security thanks to its partnership with CloudCheckr 

FIND OUT MORE

Check out our Cloud Security Assessment Offering here.

Check out CleanSlate AWS and Azure Cloud offering here.

CleanSlate Technology Group Achieves AWS Partner Network Advanced Consulting Status

Milestone demonstrates the company’s ongoing commitment to drive business value leveraging AWS expertise for clients in the Midwest Region

CleanSlate, a full-service cloud transformation agency, announced today that it has achieved Advanced Consulting Partner status in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Network (APN). Reaching the Advanced tier status requires the demonstration of expertise and successful delivery of AWS solutions. CleanSlate joined the AWS Partner Network in 2018 and has since experienced exceptional growth in the delivery of AWS cloud-based services. Advanced Partnership tier designation is also a recognition of CleanSlate’s commitment to client success and satisfaction by obtaining the full value from their AWS investment. CleanSlate’s Chief Operating Officer Chris Konow stated, “While we are excited about this achievement and the growth of our company, we are even more excited to receive exceptional feedback from our clients regarding the delivery of modern AWS cloud solutions.” 

The cloud is having measurable effects on businesses who are choosing to embrace the digital transformation. For example, some researchers are predicting as much as 20-30% improvement in time to market. CleanSlate has seen similar significant results – including a cloud implementation which resulted in 80% reduction in time to provision infrastructure environments using AWS services. Cloud transformation requires AWS expertise and experience – a big part of what CleanSlate brings to clients. “Our team of consultants are a top-notch group of certified engineers, architects and consultants. Every day I am excited to see the innovation and advanced technology we are providing our clients with AWS solutions. And our team is growing, which is also very exciting as well. Together with AWS, we will continue our commitment to improve our clients’ business by leveraging AWS and cloud transformation.”

 

Additional Resources 

About CleanSlate TG 

Founded in 2000, CleanSlate is a privately held consulting company headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. CleanSlate’s dedicated practices specialized in the delivery of Cloud, Enterprise Integration, and Salesforce consulting services. Our mission is to provide a clear pathway for client success by combining strategy, solutions and technical expertise. This approach makes it easy for our clients to adopt leading edge cloud solutions in a manner that accelerates business outcomes.