In this podcast, Maciej Gos, ITMAGINATION's Cloud & DevOps Competence Leader, joins Aleksander Jess, Marketing Specialist, in talking about his work as a Cloud Architect, his hobbies, work-life balance, remote work, and his career path moving from Backend Dev --> Full-Stack Dev --> Mobile Dev --> all the way to Cloud Architect & Competence Leader!
Aleksander Jess: Hello everyone, and welcome. Today I'm talking with Maciej Gos – Cloud Architect and Competence Leader at ITMAGINATION. Hello Maciej. How are you doing today?
Maciej Gos: I'm fine, and you?
Aleksander Jess: I'm fine, thanks for asking.
Aleksander Jess: An interesting note is that we are currently talking from totally different places. As you can probably see, well, or can't see because you're listening on spotify, we are at home thanks to remote working.
Maciej Gos: Yes, 100% fully remote.
Aleksander Jess: So Maciej, let’s get right to it, if you had to describe yourself using three words. What would they be?
Maciej Gos: OK, this is the most difficult part I'm a developer by heart. Currently an architect also by heart. And I have a passion for the cloud solutions; cloud concepts.
Aleksander Jess: OK so a dev, an architect and cloud enthusiast.
Maciej Gos: And cloud, yup .
Aleksander Jess: OK, ah.
Maciej Gos: Not exactly in this order.
Aleksander Jess: OK, ok, not exactly? Well, that's fair enough. Just to map your journey, you were first a developer and then you've become an architect.
Maciej Gos: Yeah. Exactly.
Aleksander Jess: OK.
Maciej Gos: I [have went through] the whole life-cycle of [a] developer so I started [out] as [a]Junior developer, regular, senior, lead developer, team leader, and an architect now. Currently, I'm an architect/team leader.
Aleksander Jess: OK, sounds cool. Oh, I can hear your dog in the background. Are you walking your dog often; Is that something that you do in your free time often?
Maciej Gos: Yes I do, I go out with them three times a day; with my dogs. I take this as a work break.
Aleksander Jess: Yeah. Dogs can be the best listeners.
Maciej Gos: Yeah, exactly.
Aleksander Jess: I, I suppose that your dog helped you yesterday with resolving your [work] issues.
Maciej Gos: So so.
Aleksander Jess: You know... So-so? Well...
Maciej Gos: Finally we [submitted a ticket to] Microsoft.
Aleksander Jess: OK, so just just for the context, could you could you tell us a bit about it?
Maciej Gos: Yes, I [had] a problem with one of Azure's cloud services. Today we tried to resolve with colleague; this problem; but without any luck. So we [submitted a] support ticket to Microsoft to discover the issue behind this. 'Cause we [went] through the code, [the] whole documentation and [the] whole Internet, I would say, but without any luck.
Aleksander Jess: I mean if it's [a bug that's] not on Stack Overflow, it doesn't exist.
Maciej Gos: Yeah, exactly, and then if [it's not on] Google [it] also doesn't exist.
Aleksander Jess: Yeah, so maybe the bug doesn't exist. I don't know, for all we know...
Aleksander Jess: But is there is there something else besides walking the dog that is that is that is your free time activity?
Maciej Gos: Yeah, it's like if I when I have [some] time. I love to play games on my on my Xbox. Sometimes it's Witcher or Cyberpunk [2077.] So the games from CD Projekt Red. Currently I also play Tropico, so some strategy games as well. Playing games takes a lot of time while [I have rather limited time]. Because I have a family, two kids so...this time is really limited.
Aleksander Jess: Yes. I can only imagine. So would you say that gaming is your passion?
Maciej Gos: I think gaming, and I had started playing with Legos. Lego Star Wars. So.
Aleksander Jess: Oh, ok.
Maciej Gos: Yeah I can. I can show you one one more.
Aleksander Jess: How many pieces is that [Darth Vader head Lego set]?
Maciej Gos: It's... 700 pieces.
Aleksander Jess: Fair enough. I mean, when you when you need to come up with a with a solution is always. It's always also good to [reset].
Maciej Gos: Yes. And I had built it [prior to our call], something like that.
Aleksander Jess: No, cool, pretty neat.
Maciej Gos: So I have almost the whole collection.
Aleksander Jess: OK. Pretty neat, not gonna lie. So would you say that working from home is better for recharging your batteries? Or is it worse... I'm asking because it happens sometimes, that people have a hard time finding boundaries; they get up from bed and they are in the office.
Maciej Gos: Yeah. The mythical work-life balance? For me personally is better to work from home, and I don't have a problem with the work-life balance because I have worked that way for about...3-4 years.
For three years [I am working completely remotely]. But I started out almost four years ago; with the part-time remote work. So in this time I learned a lot about work life balance, and how to work remotely. I already built my small workplace this year.
I think it is a better [way of working.] I don't lose time [commuting to and from the workplace.] I have more time for my family and for my hobbies.
Aleksander Jess: Totally, totally, yes. Uh, yes. I, you know, I totally agree. Working remotely is really cool, and I think that. This is one of the very few positives about the pandemic. It's that it really increased the tempo of the digital transformation. I mean, don't get me wrong, it's a horrible thing that happened [the pandemic].
It's a really horrible thing and, if I could have prevented it, I would have. But at the same time there are some positives coming out of it [the whole situation], so...
Maciej Gos: Yes, exactly, [another] one of the positives is the cloud adoption, so for me, personally, it's a great information.
Aleksander Jess: Oh yeah. Yeah, and for Microsoft, and Amazon, and Google.
Maciej Gos: Yeah.
Aleksander Jess: Yeah, uh, have you heard about the European clouds initiative?
Maciej Gos: Yes, I heard about this. We all have also recently heard that Google announced the [construction] of a data center in Warsaw, so we have already have a datacenter in Poland and the next big player in this this field was Microsoft, which also announced [the construction] of a data center in all and in Polish region. And I heard that this data center will be done in the next year. So I think this initiative is a great information, especially such a great information for financial, and banking institutions becauses till this time that was their main blocker for cloud adoption, and now the regulations [regardng] data: where data should be stored [e.g. GDPR] is not a problem currently.
Aleksander Jess: OK. To be clear, what I referred to was the movement and the push from the European Union to establish a European cloud player. Because, well there is an obvious domination of American cloud providers.
Maciej Gos: Exactly.
Aleksander Jess: Which is, you know... It is what it is. Have you heard about that? What do you think about the European push for a player?
Maciej Gos: Yeah, I think I did. But first of all, in the Europe we also have cloud providers, right? So this is not the case that only Microsoft, Amazon and so on, are the only cloud providers, but European providers are much smaller, than the big three.
Aleksander Jess: Right
Maciej Gos: So I think, those companies like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon. They are they too big. So I think that the European institutions should say that European cloud providers, should join forces, and this is the way they should go, I think.
Because these [major] companies are too big.
Aleksander Jess: OK, makes sense. So you're incredibly knowledgeable about the topic of the cloud, which you like, [and you also like] sharing the knowledge because you're a competence leader at ITMAGINATION and on top of that, you speak at events. Could you tell us a bit more about that?
Maciej Gos: Yes, that's true. I spoke during Xamarin group events, so I talked about some mobile applications. Yeah, few years ago I had some concepts about mobile application development, so I gave a talk about this.
Yeah, and or currently I also give some talks about the cloud and this is currently my main point of interests. Especially Azure, but also I [will attend the] Amazon Cloud [event], and then the next year I [will attend] the Google Cloud [event]. So I have the solution architect knowledge from all the big players. As you said, I love to share what I learn, so I also write on my private blog.
I try to record some YouTube videos about Azure. So a lot of stuff, that I am trying to do.
Aleksander Jess: Yes, on top of which you advise clients on what technologies to use. Is that also true?
Maciej Gos: Yeah, this is one of my main responsibilities as an architect and a competence leader.
Aleksander Jess: Ok. Still, there is more because you were a professional mentor to junior architects/developers.
Maciej Gos: Yes, I also advise developers, and DevOps engineers, about technology, architecture, how they could self improve. What tools should they use...
Aleksander Jess: do you have a set of go to, let's say services and solutions you go for? Is there like a safe bet that you know you can always rely on in certain situations? I know the number of services is overwhelming, and that if we were supposed to evaluate [all of them...].
Maciej Gos: You are talking about a typical stack for applications, right?
Aleksander Jess: Let's say that yes, a corporate, a client comes and they say, oh, I want to...
Maciej Gos: So, so I will answer as a consultant - it depends.
Aleksander Jess: Yeah, they taught me that as well. But ok, so let's say that's a corporate client comes right, and they say...it's an international company so they want to serve international markets. They say well we want to... I don't know... let's say [build] a new social [medium].
That's right, and they and they go "OK. How would we go about it?" What would you, what would you say?
Maciej Gos: I would say, uh, first of all, start small, so we can take the simplest services from [one] of the providers [it does not matter] if you choose the Azure or amazon or Google Cloud, because all of those providers have almost the same services. The only difference is in the details.
First of all start small. Take for example some small computer computing service, and I don't recommend the virtual machines, because they are more expensive than another services; than if you'd use some software as a service platform, or PaaS, so Platform as a service. Next, we also need some kind of a database.
If this is a social media example, we can choose some kind of a document database or a NoSQL database. And we also need to think about a geo-redundancy because such application will be hosted in different regions, so people from around the world should have quick access to this application.
There is no easy answer [to such a question] because there are so many key factors to choose services by. So I cannot say there is one way to go for that.
Aleksander Jess: Yes, uh, asking this complex question for you to answer in five minutes is perhaps torture, but...
Aleksander Jess: What resources can you recommend for upskilling?
Maciej Gos: I love watching video content. So I watch some on YouTube, some Pluralsight, Udemy. When I start to learn something new or rather when I finish learning something I try to teach others. So I also already check my knowledge. If I know about this topic and I also try to some go into code and try to build something using those services.
But I think that for me, especially, the most gratifying thing is to teach others. And this is the way through which I check my knowledge.
Aleksander Jess: OK. So it makes sense. It's often said that when you cannot teach others, you do not truly understand the topic.
Maciej Gos: Yeah, exactly.
Aleksander Jess: And, judging by the road you have already passed...because Xamarin, is some way apart. It's not like they are very similar topics [Azure and Xamarin]. It seems like your method is working. Isn't it?
Maciej Gos: I think. I hope so.
Aleksander Jess: Yes, uh, as we can, as we can see. So the only the only really question left for me here is to ask well. Why did you decide to switch from Xamarin, from [writing] apps, to cloud?
Was it - you woke up one day and thought "ok, I'm gonna switch" or I don't know you were taking a shower and then "I'm going to switch."
Maciej Gos: I previously I was a backend developer, next I was a full-stack developer and someday I thought that I want to try something new. And I chose mobile development. So I started to learn about this. My previous company gave me that opportunity. I built an application in Xamarin, but also I learned Objective C and SWIFT.
So I also tried to build native applications for iOS. Yeah, so I think the goal is to I have a knowledge that I can learn everything. So if something is not cool, It's not interesting for me anymore, I can just switch the technology, or the area of interest.
The whole IT ecosystem, and the space is so huge that we can choose many topics, from, from this area. We can choose, for example...and be the "hardcore" developer, and say, go deeper deep into different kind of languages. But we can also switch direction and we can start to learn other things.
Aleksander Jess: there is something that I need that I that I've sensed when I was listening to you and it's and it strikes me that you aim for versatility. Is it true?
Maciej Gos: Yes.
Aleksander Jess: OK, is there any specific reason or do you just want to know what's going on around you?
Maciej Gos: I think... Yeah, for me personally, I think. Because I was or I am an architect, I wanted to have a broader knowledge about various topics so I know how to connect the different parts, and for example boxes for example. Mobile and the cloud together to help to have a solution for an enterprise, for example.
Aleksander Jess: Alright, that makes sense, and it's a good note to end on as well. So here you all go. I was just talking to Maciej Gos. Maciej, thank you very much for your time.
Maciej Gos: Thank you.
Aleksander Jess: It was, it was lovely to talk to you, And on this note, I would like to thank you all for watching and see you next time.
Maciej Gos: Bye Bye.
Aleksander Jess: Bye.