Anna Chiara Faralli : From Civil Engineer to Cloud Engineer
At Cloudreach, we pride ourselves on being a great destination for unique people with unique skills looking for unique work experiences to maximize their potential. To put it plainly, we’re a bunch of curious weirdos who march to their own beat, love asking questions, finding solutions, playing with the latest tools & technology, and doing our lives' work. Anna Chiara Faralli is a true embodiment of what it means to be a Cloudreacher. To not be content with the status quo. To always strive to do things better, and then do better things.
Anna is one of our immensely talented Cloud Systems Developers, a diverse bunch who come to Cloudreach united in their passion for technology and a good challenge. Entering through our FastTrack cloud tech consulting intensive, Anna came to Cloudreach with a unique edge: She was already a highly esteemed Engineer….a Civil Engineer! But for Anna, a PhD in Civil Engineering was only one stop along her quest to never stop learning. After mastering the academic world, Anna was ready for a new challenge. And so began her journey to become a master of a new craft, Cloud Engineering.
Anna, can you tell us a bit about your background and what brought you to Cloudreach?
I got my bachelor and master degrees in Civil Engineering at the University of Bologna (Italy). Those were fun times, but I felt like I needed a much bigger challenge. I, then, decided to leave my country and come to the UK to do a PhD at University College London (UCL). After that, I was looking for a change in my career (too much academia can drive you crazy!) so I started to try new things. I learned about Cloudreach through one of the amazing Python Meetups they organised. I loved the people and the atmosphere, so I applied for a role ;)
Coming from a civil engineering background, what motivated you to pursue something new, particularly something in the cloud tech industry?
So many times during my PhD I wished I had a VM with great computational power and large memory to have all my stuff running and stored safely. I had started to wonder about Cloud computing, which became and still is a field of great interest towards which I wanted to direct my passion and curiosity in learning new things. Cloudreach also offers a level of diversity which I was not used to coming from an engineering background.
What tech skills did you have prior to joining Cloudreach and what new ones have you picked up?
By the time I joined Cloudreach, I was pretty new to the entire Cloud world. I had some knowledge of Python, but this was pretty much it. Being with Cloudreach for the past year, I have learned a huge amount of new things which span from consolidating my programming skills to understanding and deploying cloud infrastructure with Azure. The list of skills I picked up is not limited to the technical ones: at Cloudreach, I learned how to work in a team, deliver engaging presentations and how to manage my time effectively.
What was your biggest takeaway from the FastTrack Program?
FastTrack was an amazing opportunity for which I am so grateful. One thing I still keep with me as a motivational thought is that, no matter how much you do not know about something, if you are surrounded by the right people, you can learn much more than you think! Our FastTrack program was organised by great engineers with plenty of experience and knowledge. These people are still our reference in our daily work and their help is essential for our personal career development.
What did you find most surprising and/or challenging about transitioning into a career in cloud technology?
Terminology! I came across all these new words and acronyms that I was not used to...at Cloudreach, we also have many of our own!
What skills from your civil engineering background do you think give you an edge in your career today?
Civil engineering is very practical and is all about problem solving. It is about making things work first, then making them pretty once we totally understand them. I feel like this way of thinking really helps me in my job today and gives me an attitude to approach things in a more efficient way.
Tell us about your current role at Cloudreach and what are your responsibilities? What’s your typical day as a Cloud Systems Developer look like? What part about your role do you find most exciting?
Being an Associate Cloud Systems Developer (CSD), I mainly spend my days building up skills by either doing my own tasks or helping more senior CSDs with their tasks. These include Terraform coding, research about deployment of specific resources, running pipelines and reviewing other colleagues’ work. We also have daily standups to check on the work we are doing and to highlight any blocker that we might face. Personally, I love when I am assigned a new task: it is the most exciting part of a project and it allows me to do a bit of research on the things I have to deliver.
What types of projects do you find most interesting and do you see having the biggest impact?
I believe that, although being tougher, projects that start from scratch give the opportunity to learn the most. For example, designing and deploying a landing zone can be a great chance to be involved in the discovery phase, which you might not experience if the project is already well consolidated by the time you join.
What are your tech specialties & super skills?
My tech specialties are Microsoft Azure and DevOps. I have been building up my knowledge on a daily basis to feel confident about my work. My super skill is my ability to learn quickly and efficiently.
What’s your favorite Cloudreach Slack channel?
#chat-dogs of course!!! I miss my dogs so much and this at least allows me to enjoy some very cute pics of my colleagues.
What are you passionate about outside of work?
I love sport! I like running, cycling, dancing and boxing. I signed up for my first triathlon (to happen in August 2020), but, now with the COVID-19 situation, I might be doing it in my flat.
Give us your TSR (ten second recommendation)?
Running is a great way to release stress and produce endorphins. We sit all day, every day and most of us barely walk to take the tube. If you dedicate some time to this great activity, you will see a great improve in your focus and productivity.
What advice do you have for others looking to make a career change?
Be curious and spontaneous! Try as many things as you can because you never know which opportunities you might find and a great one may just be close to you.