Earlier in my career, I was working for an organization that enabled the modernization of IT systems of various state department of motor vehicles (DMV). What you don’t see behind the long lines and terrible snapshots is a complicated, interesting web of problems that influence real lives every day. Consider a commercial truck driver, for example. When a police officer pulls the driver over, where and how does the officer validate their litany of licenses and certificates? One minor database error or a delay in transmitting the records could have that trucker and officer stalled for hours. In a worst-case scenario, the truck driver is erroneously jailed in Toledo for the night.
These hard problems kept me challenged at work each day, and solving them kept me motivated. They were large, complex, and evoked curiosity. These are not problems that one person solves. It takes a whole team. It takes the customer and an organization aligning on a mission. I remain ingrained within IT and systems and pivoted my industry to the life sciences space, and there is no better company with which to embark on my new journey than Foundation Medicine.
Our Next Digital Transformation
New problems to solve led me to my next role as leader of the Cloud Operations team at Foundation Medicine. We are well past the first digital transformation of cloud migration. That is, most of our mission critical workloads are already in the cloud. The interesting challenge for us now is figuring out how to successfully navigate our next digital transformation to a fully cloud native microservices based system, and how to develop infinitely scalable architecture and design. It wasn’t just the infrastructure or modern DevOps tools I could play with that persuaded me to make a career move. It was curiosity.
Curiosity has become an important criteria for every role throughout my career, and my work at Foundation Medicine is no exception. I’m most excited about finding solutions for people. On the other side of our cloud infrastructure and DevOps tools and systems are patients and families who need pertinent and timely information to make very difficult decisions.
Our IT team has an impact on patients each day in some way - whether it’s working with software engineering on finding ways to speed up code deployment, or alongside scientists building the next generation of assays for our testing services. The CloudOps team and the IT department work in tandem to make ideas technically possible, and that has transformed how I think about work.
We’re working across multiple countries, managing an enormous volume of data (double-digit petabytes!) and 4000+ instances of compute, all while making over a thousand code pushes per week. My team is not working on simple maintenance or upgrades alone. The problems we solve are constantly shifting in scope because personalized medicine is constantly evolving.
Work At The Pace of Purpose: Lead CloudOps Engineer
When it comes down to it, I never wanted just to transform businesses. I wanted to work at the pace of problems. The role has to be more than digital transformation and cloud or DevOps expertise - it has to be powered by an inquisitive mind.
I wrote this post because I want to work with people who are similarly motivated: people who have chased complex problems with curiosity; people who have a service mindset and care about the life of someone they’ll never meet.
Maybe someone like you? Right now our team is hiring a Lead CloudOps Engineer. Send me a note if you would like to discuss how we are pushing the boundaries of personalized cancer care.