Episode 235 – Take a Proactive Approach to Your Career with Stephen Kuenzli

 In Podcasts

Phil’s guest on this episode of the IT Career Energizer podcast is Stephen Kuenzli. He has designed, built, deployed and operated highly available and scalable software systems in high tech manufacturing, banking, and e-commerce sectors, for nearly 20 years.

He has a B.S. in Systems Engineering and he loves working through challenging design problems and building solutions that are safe and enjoyable to use.

In this episode, Phil and Stephen Kuenzli discuss the need to develop non-technical skills to be able to progress your career. Stephen shares and effective way to be a continuous learner without over-stretching yourself or letting other things slide.

They also talk about the importance of sticking to your standards and refusing to be pressured into shipping a faulty product and how to do that. He also explains how to maintain the balance you need to stay successful.

 

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

(2.27) TOP CAREER TIP

Be proactive about managing your career. Throughout his career, Stephen has blocked out at least 4 hours a week to be used to learn or practice a new skill.

It is also important to ask for help. This is especially the case when you are trying to develop non-technical skills. Learning things like effective communication and project management skills is crucial.

 

(5.04) WORST CAREER MOMENT

Sadly, Stephen was involved in launching a product before it was ready. They knew it was buggy, but the pressure was being applied by several influential parties. Now, Stephen would simply refuse to ship a product at that stage of development. To ensure he can do this, he built up a cash buffer to make himself comfortable with standing firm on quality, even as an employee.

(9.59) CAREER HIGHLIGHT

His career highlight came about while fixing that flawed system that had led to his worst career moment. During the fix, they created a better way of debugging. They did not just bug fix. Instead, their focus was on improving the customer experience. As a result, that flawed product was transformed into one that the customer loved. They got the defect rate down to 0.007% of projects had issues.

(12.22) THE FUTURE OF CAREERS IN I.T

Stephen enjoys the crazy pace of change. It keeps things interesting. Currently, in terms of cloud security code, the half-life is currently around 18 months. This provides a lot of opportunities for everyone to do things better and better.

He also speaks about how containerization is helping to make more things possible in the cloud.

 

(17.57) THE REVEAL

What first attracted you to a career in I.T.? – The fact you can get computers to take care of the hard things you cannot do. Freeing you up to enjoy making them do even harder things.

What’s the best career advice you received? – His father advised him to do what you love and love what you do.

What’s the worst career advice you received? – Stephen says he does not remember. He doesn’t really hold onto the bad stuff.

What would you do if you started your career now? – Probably something on the interface of biology and technology. For example, replacement body parts and the technology needed to make them.

What are your current career objectives? – Building a cloud security product that enables users to answer basic questions like who has access to each part of my data. Currently, this is far too difficult to do.

What’s your number one non-technical skill? – Learning to communicate and empathise with people.

How do you keep your own career energized? – Relaxing and disconnecting re-energises him.

What do you do away from technology? – Spending time with his family and take good care of himself and them.

(23.20) FINAL CAREER TIP

Learn continuously. But respect your personal and family limits. If you work too hard you will burn out.

 

BEST MOMENTS

(0.00) – Stephen – “Take a proactive approach to your career. Block out time to learn new skills.”

(0.00) – Stephen – “The tech industry is very dynamic. So, you can navigate to where you want to go.”

(0.00) – Stephen – “Remember to step back from technology and relax completely. It will keep you energized.”

(0.00) – Stephen – “Learn continuously, but know when to step back and relax”

(0.00) – Stephen – “Respect your personal and family limits to stay happy and productive.”

 

ABOUT THE HOST – PHIL BURGESS

Phil Burgess is an independent IT consultant who has spent the last 20 years helping organisations to design, develop and implement software solutions. Phil has always had an interest in helping others to develop and advance their careers. And in 2017 Phil started the I.T. Career Energizer podcast to try to help as many people as possible to learn from the career advice and experiences of those that have been, and still are, on that same career journey.

 

CONTACT THE HOST – PHIL BURGESS

Contact Phil through the following Social Media platforms:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/philtechcareer

LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/philburgess

Facebook: https://facebook.com/philtechcareer

Instagram: https://instagram.com/philtechcareer

Website: https://itcareerenergizer.com/contact

Phil is also reachable by email at [email protected] and via the podcast’s website, https://itcareerenergizer.com

Join the I.T. Career Energizer Community on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/ITCareerEnergizer

ABOUT THE GUEST – STEPHEN KUENZLI

Stephen Kuenzli has designed, built, deployed and operated highly available and scalable software systems in high tech manufacturing, banking, and e-commerce sectors, for nearly 20 years.

He has a B.S. in Systems Engineering and he loves working through challenging design problems and building solutions that are safe and enjoyable to use.

CONTACT THE GUEST – STEPHEN KUENZLI

Stephen Kuenzli can be contacted through the following Social Media platforms:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/skuenzli

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenkuenzli/

Website: https://www.qualimente.com

Professional Bio: https://www.qualimente.com/stephen-kuenzli/

“Docker in Action”, 2nd Edition – https://www.manning.com/books/docker-in-action-second-edition

Mailing List for Cloud, DevOps, and Security: https://nodramadevops.com/

 

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