Currently my role is broken down into 2 separate streams.
My primary function is as part of an AppDynamics Partner team rolling out AppDynamics to a big Telecoms customer in South Africa. My role is comprised of being both a Solutions Architect, and the technical lead for this project’s rollout.
We recently adopted an Agile approach into the customer environment, hence we have our Daily standups, do sprint planning and engage with Stakeholders on prioritizing the rollouts across the Company.
The day’s main workload includes having Technical Sessions, rolling out AppDynamics Agents, creating Solutions, and providing ongoing demos and so forth to provide value to the Customer.
The other part of my role as a SE with an AppDynamics partner is to conduct POV’s with potential new clients.
How did you get involved with this work?
Initially my first job was working 3-4 kilometers underground in a gold mine, and barely had any IT experience. I had no idea I would end up in this line of work . I then got the chance for an internship at an IT company to train in Performance/Load Testing.
The internship grew and I took on other products within the HP (Now MicroFocus) suite of products, ranging from APM, into IT Operations & Service Management, and even into Network Monitoring.
I did the full stack of products across the IT lifecycle for the last 10 years. Just over a year ago, I had the opportunity to join an AppDynamics partner as a Sales Engineer.
What feeds your interest in your work?
Every day is different and brings with it its own challenges. I prefer this over a standard 9-5 day doing the same over and over. Also, in our line of work we get to solve many organisational problems—which even after stressful deadlines and workload, makes it all worth it
What has kept me greatly interested in staying on this path, is that in using software like AppDynamics., you get to engage with all levels within organisations and are exposed to a variety of different software, people and businesses.
This has been extremely helpful in better understanding organisations’ processes and difficulties, and in engaging more efficiently to help them solve their problems.
Why participate in Community?
What first brought you to the AppD community?
Initially, it was while trying to figure out some agent problems I was having. I also did a lot of work with my previous company’s community.
There is great value in having a well organised and engaging community. Most members learn from each other and gain knowledge that would otherwise not be shared.
Can you tell us about a positive experience you’ve had with the community?
I had the pleasure of assisting a couple of people in the community and also found some Knowledge Base articles which I could put to use in my daily work.
Also the moderator team is very active and I can see value in the regular updates, keeping the community informed about AppDynamics.
How do you use AppD in your role?
We mainly deploy and manage AppDynamics for customers. One use case we’ve implemented occurs more often than you would think.
We usually get documentation and architecture of User Journeys and we map them out accordingly in AppDynamics. What we have found is that some customers are under a false impression that they fully understand how their supporting applications interact to support their Business Services, end-2-end.
Customers start using AppDynamics to assist them in documenting and understanding their Application flows and communication between components. This saves them significant time in documenting and visualizing their Business Journey.
What are your top 2 AppDynamics hot tips?
My first tip would be to get immersed in the technology and get as much hands-on experience using AppDynamics and the value you can get out of it. In today’s digital environment, you don’t need to wait for customer environments to instrument applications for the first time.
You can download and install most applications and get used to how they work and how to Instrument using AppDynamics. This gives you a head start as well as making implementation easier once you get to customer sites.
In this sense, you can become as great as you can want to be and become an expert in AppDynamics in the comfort of your own home :-).
Secondly, I would advise Implementers and users of AppDynamics to stick to the KISS principle, "keep it simple, stupid". And also to engage and keep your stakeholders close to the implementation to build the APM journey with them. Enabling and guiding them will keep AppDynamics with them for years to come.
What’s your best way of keeping up with industry news?
I mostly use Twitter, Reddit & LinkedIn to keep up with what’s occurring in the APM area, as well as other Tech sectors. I try to make time on a bi-weekly basis to catch up on what's been happening and attend worthwhile Webexes and online conferences.
What have you learned in the past year that you wish you had known when you started your career?
Definitely to keep a close eye on not trying to do too much at once. Focus on the important things and plan ahead better to where you want to be in a couple of years. That failure is part of growing and also to surround yourself with the right people that help you grow, is very important.
Is there anything you’d like to shout out or elevate?
Just a big thank you to everyone that has been part of my journey over the last 12 years and to everyone that gave me a chance to learn and grow. I would not have been where I am today without some great mentors and colleagues.
What are some of your favorite things to experience outside of work?
Well we do live in South Africa, so we definitely enjoy having a Braai (What you would call a barbeque) weekly, with some drinks and friends, enjoying the Rugby games.
We have a beautiful country, and we like to explore something new regularly from visiting game parks, to new beaches, mountains and so much more.
Also something we do is to go to the track to push your car to the limit, and get some adrenaline going.
How—or where—do you find inspiration?
I have always had a never-ending need for knowledge and I enjoy solving problems. It gives me a great deal of enjoyment to deliver value and solve organisational problems, using whichever method is at my disposal. I want to grow to a place where I can utilize my knowledge and travel all over the world to work in many places and meet other professionals to learn and grow from.
What advice would you give someone who is up and coming in your field of work?
I would say, find a good mentor and learn as much as you can. Constantly push yourself to grow and never wait for anyone to better yourself. Your future is in your hands and you need to guide yourself to where you want to be.