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Meetup to Hire

Posted by Carlos Meza

Ever just feel like you’re in the right place, at the right time?

Back in March of last year, Casey Vega, former QA Manager at our company, hosted his very first event for his Los Angeles Jenkins Area Meetup group. Casey started the meetup group last January in hopes of building a community for those who share his passion for the Jenkins platform in the Metro LA and “Silicon Beach” area.

The meetup was hosted at our the Playa Vista campus where some 40+ people were in attendance. Among those people was me, Carlos Meza, a tech consultant who had driven up from Whittier, CA specifically for this meetup. There were several components around my motivation for taking the hour drive.

In addition to being a fan of the Jenkins platform, I had discovered that one of the speakers for the meetup happened to be Tyler Croy of CloudBees, whom I’d met at SCaLE 14x just two months before.

Hey Casey!

I arrived early to the meetup, where I was immediately greeted by Casey. We both waited for others to arrive, and engaged in small talk before I started to become curious about the hosting company as I observed the space around me. I started to ask questions about the company (Verizon Digital Media Services) – what the main services in the company were, what kinds of technologies were being used, how the teams were set up in the org, etc.

I was surprised to find that the company had so many awesome things going on under the hood. I was even more surprised that Casey had shared so much about what the teams were doing, and that a many of the tools that are built and utilized within the company are actually open-sourced! It came as a shock that the engineers have freedom to use the tools and workflows that they prefer. Whether they want to work with Linux, Mac, Windows – they’re free to use whatever floats their productivity boats!

The conversation had opened my eyes to not only discovering what some of the teams were doing, but also how they were implementing certain technologies and strategies to do it!

Listening to Casey talk so fluently and openly about the projects being worked on throughout the company in such a reverent light was a breathe of fresh air. I had heavily been considering steering away from my role as a tech consultant and transitioning into a career in DevOps, and it was Casey’s transparency that gave me the kick that urged me to ask, “So you guys hiring, or what?”

Recruiter, Recruiter

Casey introduced me to a recruiter on the spot, we exchanged information, and she (the recruiter) followed up with me the very next day. Within the next week or two, I had my first onsite interview.

I was super nervous about what the interview process would bring. What do I need to brush up on? As a CDN, how deep will the networking questions be? Which distribution platform do they use (back when RHEL used systemd and Ubuntu used Upstart)?

But after interviewing with a team of six engineers, my curiosity-turned-anxiousness had quickly transitioned into aspiration. Until that day, I honestly could never say that I “enjoyed” a technical interview (because, who does?).

I went in, spoke on what I knew and my experience, laughed, bounced ideas and concepts around, got even more of an inside understanding of current projects high-fived, and ultimately left feeling as if I had made some new friends! After having what I jokingly (but seriously) call the most “relaxed interview ever”, I had officially made up in my mind that this was this was exactly where I wanted to be!

Hired!

I now work on multiple teams here at Verizon Digital Media Services including SysOps, where I contribute to the configuration management system (SaltStack) and other automation endeavors.

While the infrastructure was initially intimidating at first, it wasn’t long before I fell right into the workflow. After just a couple months in, I began working on a project evaluating and leveraging OpenStack. It was a proof-of-concept project, to manage some of our underlying infrastructure for our backend systems. Today, I continue to help architect that platform.

As for last words – I definitely do not foresee getting bored here anytime soon. There are many opportunities to work and grow. I am particularly excited about contributing to advancing our automation and tests in our ci/cd pipelines. I wouldn’t trade my experience here for anything . . . glad I actually decided to go to that meetup!

Here’s me giving a talk at SCALE 14x last year!

Carlos pic

You can catch me speaking at SCaLE 15x this March, as well! If you’re there, don’t be afraid to say hi! :)

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