How Paul Ahlgren from Amazon started his career, what he would recommend to students or how he succeeded in Nagano 1998 find in following interview.
Hello Paul, you work as a Senior Partner Solution architect in Amazon. Could you please briefly introduce me what were your beginnings? How has the “IT world” change since you started?
I started as a computer operator on ICL Mainframes in 1982 at Ericsson in Sweden. I did some programming in school on ABC80 before this but it was my first job. It wasn’t the newest technology even then and we used both punch cards and paper tapes. So you can say I have seen everything that IT has to offer for the last 50 years.
I know you travel a lot and give lectures at the conference. How do you prepare for a live audience? Is it difficult to engage them?
It all depends on the audience. I build the presentations differently depending on the technological level of the audience and if I am allowed to use commercial pitches or not. But these days I do so many that I am not really thinking about it. I see it as a class to be educated and entertained at the same time.
In your medailone, we can find out more about your professional career in IT. But you didn’t mention you also work as a sports commentator and producer. Could you please tell us more how did you get this job? What do you enjoy about it?
Eurosport needed curling commentators for the Olympic Games in Nagano in 1998 and I was introduced by a friend and got the job. They soon realised that I was good at it and since then I commented close to a hundred sports and done more than 5000 broadcasts in total. I like it because it’s a kind of teaching job, I am good at it and when you’re done you can forget about it.
What is your sports discipline number 1? Is it, Curling? Do you do any sports or what is your way to clean your head?
Curling is my main sport and I played it at a national level and was close to qualify for the World’s in ́91 and the Exhibition Olympics in ́92 but close doesn ́t make it. I have also played Boule Petanque at a national level and Football and Team Handball at an OK level. I have done some other sports for fun including golf but these days I normally take long walks.
What is your recommendation to students or young developers and architects? What direction should they take in their carriers?
Be open to multiple technologies, there is never only one way to do things and there is no „best“ technology. Have a favourite, but never believe that it’s better.
When it comes to taking a direction it’s hard to give advice for the long run. I have gone through everything from mainframe, mini ́s, PC ́s, the web and the cloud during my career. Each of these has their own technology stacks, different challenges and each with different things that you have to learn. Today, it’s quite obvious, go for everything that is connected to the cloud and to machine learning in particular. What the advice will be in five years, who knows?
Your theme on DevOps summit 2019 Ostrava is AWS future in the public cloud. Could you please reveal what can we look forward to? What do you want to pass to the audience?
The session will be around where AWS is today, what to expect in the coming years and a bit on our philosophy when creating services for a specific area like machine learning. I will talk a bit about how the cloud is changing business as we know it today as well.