Techie Tuesday: A Conversation with Alan Smith

Posted by Alan Smith, Cloud Engineer

May 04, 2021


Techie Tuesday shines a spotlight on the members of Onix’s services team by allowing them to tell their work and life stories.

Here we give them a platform to share their advice for getting started and working in tech and the opportunity to share with you what they do in their free time when they are not working. 

Alan Smith, Cloud Engineer may be new to the Onix team but he has a long history of working with Onix while a customer.

What is Your Role at Onix?

As a Cloud Engineer at Onix, I help deliver cloud computing solutions for our customers through consulting and hands-on technical work. I help deliver production workloads in Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

What Makes You Excited to Come to Work Each Day?

I’m someone who is a little bit on the quieter side, and as an engineer, my role pushes me out of my comfort zone. I find excitement in showing what I'm capable of doing as an engineer. Coming from a health sciences, then marketing background, I've developed a strong appreciation of how far I've come in the tech industry.

Tell Us About Your Favorite Project.

One of my favorite and most challenging projects was as an Onix customer in the past. It was a major migration project and it really exposed me to troubleshooting web applications in Kubernetes and also introduced me to some really great people at Onix with whom I continue to work with today. I loved the collaboration with the Onix team and that ultimately led me to a role at Onix!

However, in terms of projects as an Onix employee, I would have to say working on a university Student Engage Network portal has been my favorite. This project exposed me to the AI and ML landscape for the first time and I'm continually learning a lot along the way as I configure research environments in AWS for data scientists.

What Do You Like to Do Outside of Work?

Outside of work, I enjoy longboarding around the city of Toronto, where I live, and coasting through urban trails. It's my preferred method of exercise outside of taking long walks with my Bichon named Gary.

I love going to beer, food and other festivals around the city for the excitement. I also love trying new restaurants around the city to experience new foods and flavors. Traveling is also something I like to do. My favorite places to travel are Japan and Las Vegas. I've been to Las Vegas four times. Even though I'm not a big gambler, I enjoy things like the shows (i.e., Cirque du Soleil), the different breweries, the pool parties, the restaurants, the nightlife and places outside the Vegas strip like the Valley of Fire.

Due to the current pandemic and lockdown measures, I enjoy cruising in my new Mustang to Costco and doing curbside pickups for essential items and takeout food.

Share Something You Wish People in the Industry Knew.

Reading documentation is always great and very resourceful, however, the various cloud providers, such as GCP and AWS, DO have 'free tier' services and trial credits. So, if you're a kinaesthetic learner like me, take advantage of the offers. This is an absolutely great way to build on your skillset.

Any Advice for Someone Looking to Do What You Do?

Being "cloud agnostic" helps you to be successful in the tech industry. Although I only have a couple of Google Cloud Platform certifications, my familiarity with knowing multiple cloud platforms goes a long way as many companies and institutions have either already begun their cloud journey, or are in the process of doing so.

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Alan Smith, Cloud Engineer

Alan has worked in tech for several years, including gathering web application issue reporting from end-users and performing web application quality assurance and now his current role as a cloud engineer. He is a Google Cloud Certified Professional - Cloud Architect and Associate.

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