Employee Spotlight: 12 Questions with Justin Smith-Sellinger, Cloud Architect at Verikai
In this month’s employee spotlight, we’re highlighting our expert Cloud Architect, Justin Smith-Sellinger. He’s relatively new to Verikai, being here just shy of 3 months, and is already making great strides. We’re so excited to have him here and know he’s adding immense value to our technology team.
Get to know Justin’s background, his love for technology, and what a typical day in the life of a Cloud Architect looks like at Verikai:
1. How long have you worked at Verikai?
I have been with Verikai for about 3 months now.
2. Where did you grow up, and where are you based now?
I grew up in the capital of Oregon, Salem. Currently, I reside just a little bit north of a small town about 30 minutes outside of Portland. Still, an Oregonian as I love the Pacific Northwest.
3. What brought you to the company?
I previously worked for an insurance carrier, so I am aware of some of the problems they face. Verikai’s product helps to tackle some of that, and their culture helped seal the deal for me.
4. Why did you choose to work in technology, and what led you to work at a startup?
I originally got into technology when I helped a high school implement its automatic timing system. As for my choice to work at a startup, I got used to a fast-paced environment. I can appreciate their flexibility and ability to pivot to important features fast and the ability to work on a variety of tasks and products.
5. What does a Cloud Architect do? Can you take us through a day in the life?
Sure, as a Cloud Architect, I bring a bunch of experience on our Cloud provider to the team. I am AWS certified and help ensure we choose the right services for the job, such as performance, high availability, deployment speed, and maintainability.
A typical day for me might include bouncing around a few different tasks. I might start the day by looking at ways to automate cost savings tasks or ensure we use the correct instance types for high performance. This includes proper alerting, monitoring, and permissions for new features or products. Most of the day is usually spent writing Infrastructure as Code and deployment scripts for any of our services which helps to ensure a speedy, consistent delivery pipeline.
6. What has been your favorite project as a Cloud Architect?
My favorite project in my last three years as a Cloud Architect would have to be a project to build a cloud-native data lake. It was fun designing and building all the AWS server-less services to solve a significant problem with data duplication and maintainability. It included data gathering, streaming, storage, reporting, and more.
7. What advice would you give to other people in your field of work?
My field leans very heavily into a DevOps philosophy. In this field, tools and technologies change constantly. If I had to give anyone a piece of advice, it would always be to continue learning, but don’t be discouraged if you don’t know every tool or service. There is always going to be something new or different that someone else uses.
8. What do you enjoy the most about working at Verikai?
The culture of working for a startup can be a bit stress-inducing. However, Verikai is very good about that balance; everyone is enjoyable to work with.
9. What do you think is the key to success working at a startup?
Flexibility, you aren’t working on the same task for very long so being able to pivot quickly is a strong skill.
Now a few fun questions:
10. Are you currently binge-watching any shows?
I just recently finished the most recent season of The Witcher on Netflix.
11. If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?
Urban Planning. For the last year or so, I have been getting quite engrossed in City Planning, which is fascinating.
12. Tell us something most people would be surprised to learn about you?
I’m left-handed! Not too exciting but surprising, nonetheless.
To learn more about Justin, check him out on LinkedIn!