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iKala Young Talent

Cloud Customer Engineer: A Great Combination of Technology and Communication

Willie Chiu, Customer Engineer, iKala Cloud

I studied Computer Science back in university, but I realized very early that the work of general software engineers is not my favorite, so at that time, I thought that I should find a job that can make good use of what I have learned at school, fit my personality, and is not about coding all the time—that is why I started my career as a cloud customer engineer.

Cloud Customer Engineer as a "Bridge"

A general software engineer may be familiar with the part he is responsible for, such as the programming languages he wrote or the modules he developed, but he may not have a comprehensive understanding of how the system or architecture is designed. In contrast, cloud customer engineers can look at the customer's engineering structure more comprehensively. They really play the role of a bridge. As a customer engineer, you need to first understand your clients' engineering structure, figure out what their requirements are, transfer them into action items, and then connect them with our solutions.

Therefore, in this work, I think soft skills are very important. Take "communication" as an example, when pointing out the mistakes of others, some people may offend others, but some can use questions to let the counterpart aware of his problems. This skill must be accumulated in the process of both external and internal communication. I think this is why the cloud customer engineer role is very different from general software engineers.

A Work Beyond My Expectations

A cloud customer engineer's job covers pre-sales, architecture planning, system maintenance and technical support, and this is way beyond my expectations. The reason why I call it "beyond expectation" is also related to the atmosphere of the working environment, which I personally feel extremely lucky.

When I first joined the team, I didn't understand anything, but this is a very open environment where everyone can ask questions freely. I won't worry about being discriminated against by other senior colleagues for asking questions, or if my manager will doubt my ability. It can be noticed that people in the team express themselves in a very different way, compared to normal software engineers. They will pay more attention to your feelings and your emotions. You can clearly see from everyone the personalities that are suitable for the job, which might be the reason why we can form a strong team together.

Another thing I think is great is that everyone in our team keeps their innocence, and is very enthusiastic about learning and sharing. In terms of professional skills, we have formed a study group since last year to discuss the latest cloud technology or the frequently-asked product inquiries. In our daily work, we regularly share the problems encountered in work, and everyone will come together to brainstorm and discuss how to solve them better. In addition, we often share methods that can improve our quality and efficiency of work, such as Trello, Notion, or other productivity tools, so that the entire team can improve together.

Learning Ability Is My Greatest Strength

During the interview, I was asked what I think my strength is. I said it was "learning ability" because I had nothing at that time. I didn't have rich internship experience like others when I was a student. And the research field of my Bachelor's and Master's Degree has nothing to do with my current work, but I know very well that there is an inevitable gap between learning and using, and my advantage is that I am very willing to learn, and I can learn quickly.

In addition to cloud technologies, I think the so-called "learning" involves external and internal communications. For instance, I have the sensitivity to feel the effect of languages, so I will pay special attention to how everyone expresses when communicating with different people, and remind myself to have better communication with others. Another example is project management. I used to think that only one good plan was enough, but in the process of working with other members of the team, I realized that one should always have backup plans. I think this really relies on practical experiences—you have to accumulate different experiences to come up with a comprehensive solution.

Most importantly, I am very grateful to have such a great team and working environment, so that I can have so many opportunities to learn, and I will continue to grow on my way of pursuing a cloud customer engineer career.

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