A Face In The Cloud – Amy Negrette, Cloud Software Engineer Lead

Hi Amy! Tell us about your career journey so far. How did you end up at Cloudreach?

I started my career in the start-up grind in Silicon Valley, working for a small sports media start-up that would eventually get acquired by Yahoo! Fantasy Sports. I was able to not only meet some of the best engineers I know but also work the best ‘first job’ for a sports nerd. Eventually, I ended up working at ASRC Federal, a contractor in support of NASA Ames in Mountain View, CA. While both jobs were great and full of people I’d love to work with again, I was looking for something that would let me spend more time with my family and less time in my commute. I also wanted to move back to Chicago. Cloudreach gave me that opportunity and my manager at the time set me up with the skills and direction I needed to get into team management and the technical speaking circuit. Here, I really get the opportunity to try and do everything.

Can you tell us a bit more about your role and what a typical day in the life of a Cloud Software Engineer Lead is like?

I am an individual contributor with an option to life-coach. Most of my day is handling client work, including application systems design and implementation, data validation, and other technical support. The rest of it I spend with my team, helping them out with the non-technical needs of their projects. I keep an eye on how much work they have, if it’s within their skill set, and find them assistance when they need it. Also, I check in often to make sure they have time for things outside of their project, such as professional development, hobbies, and sleep. This way the skills they bring aren’t just from their project, but they’re able to contribute other perspectives.

What about Software most excites you?

I like knowing how things work. I’m less interested in the mechanics of things, but more about the logical processes behind the system. Software development is about the design and implementation of those processes in the things I enjoy most like the internet and video games. When I build an application, I’m creating something out of those logical processes, which is extremely exciting.

We hear you’re speaking at the Chicago AWS Summit later this month and at RevolutionConf in June. What topics will you be covering and why?

At the Chicago AWS Summit, I’ll be presenting ‘Serverless ETLs Three Ways’, showing different serverless architectures that perform, very generally, the same task which is moving data. ETL, or Extract-Transform-Load, is a standard application that is either built or otherwise used at any software development company. Building it serverless has the benefit of being built cheaply and scaled automatically. It’s an easy concept for most application developers to visualize making it a low-friction entry-point into serverless development. 

The Revolution Conference in Virginia Beach is a more generalized conference attracting different types of developers on different platforms, so I’ll be speaking about transitioning a traditional application developer’s skill set into a serverless one. Having spent a few years in the public sector, I know how quickly one can feel left behind. Showing how traditional skills translate will demystify something that looks a little too different

Ultimately, the goal of these talks is to make serverless approachable and accessible to get more engineers into this community, especially of under-represented backgrounds.

What do you enjoy about speaking at events?

I love what I do, so I especially love sharing the things I’ve built with an audience who appreciates and understands it. Even something as mundane as an ETL is extremely exciting when I get to build it in a way that is new, stable, and useful. When I started my career, no one looked like me or came from a similar place. When I give a presentation as a subject matter expert, I know that’s changing. 

What advice do you have for anyone who has considered standing up and presenting their ideas at conferences?

If you feel you can talk too much about one thing, you should definitely present it with slides! When you share your experience, someone in the audience will connect with that. They’ll come up and ask questions or share similar headaches. If starting conversations at large conferences is difficult for you, it really is the best ice breaker.


Want to join Amy on the Cloudreach team? We are currently hiring Software Engineers across multiple locations. Check out the latest vacancies here.

Want to see Amy’s talk ‘Serverless ETLs Three Ways’ at AWS Summit Chicago, register to attend here.

….how about her talk at RevolutionConf on transitioning a traditional application developer’s skill set into a serverless one? Register to attend that event here.

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