Jesus Aguilera is one of our Engineering Managers on ALICE's Engineering team. Jesus is originally from Venezuela and has been living in Bogota, Colombia for the past five years. He joined ALICE in August 2018 and has since been working remotely with our team. Because he’s been working for ALICE remotely, he has been able to travel to different countries and pursue one of his favorite hobbies, surfing.
During his time working remotely from Costa Rica, our People team sat down with Jesus to discuss with him what it's like working on the Engineering team at ALICE (and where he plans to travel to next).
What is your role at ALICE? What does it entail?
I am an Engineering Manager at ALICE. The role at ALICE is somewhat different than a typical Engineering Manager position; I am more focused on executing projects as well as focusing on the non-technical components of the team. I manage the “human part” of the Engineering team at ALICE, meaning I make sure the team feels happy and motivated, and that they have all of the tools they need to be effective in their roles.
What drew you to ALICE originally?
The initial thing that drew me to ALICE was the opportunity to use the things I have learned over the past few years and apply them to a larger team and larger operations than what I was used to. Previously, I was using my leadership skills with a non-technical team, and with ALICE, I was really excited to use those skills and apply them to a technical team.
Not only have I had the opportunity to use and grow my leadership skills, but I have also been able to continue using my technical skills.
During my interviews I spoke with the different Tech Leads and managers at ALICE that are part of the interview process; I was very drawn to ALICE by the talent the team has and the learning opportunities available.
How has that changed since?
The learning opportunities are greater than I originally expected. For example, when I went through the interview process, I met only a handful of team members. Since joining ALICE, I have been able to get to know the rest of the technical team. I have realized that there was a lot more that I learned technically, and even more that I am eager to learn from our team.
On the management and leadership side, there was a lot that I wanted to learn and areas where I wanted to grow as a leader. Rafael, our VP of Engineering, and Dmitry, our CTO, are very open to teaching and sharing their own skills and views, and I have learned a lot more than I originally expected.
I also had a unique experience joining ALICE. I thought my role would be different, more of a traditional Engineering Manager role. My first week at ALICE, we had an issue in production, so instead of the traditional onboarding for an Engineering Manager at ALICE, I ended up working in different areas. I stepped in to help with other things like release management, working with the QA team, etc. It was a lot to process my first few weeks, but I actually really liked and really appreciated the opportunity to work in different areas.
That is one thing that I really like about ALICE -the flexibility that anyone can help do something, even if they don’t belong to that specific department, they can just jump in and help out. It was a huge learning opportunity for me, and I was able to learn all about the QC team and all the tech processes in my first couple of weeks just because of that.
Something else that I wasn’t expecting was the feeling of remote work at ALICE. I was expecting to feel more siloed or disconnected from the rest of the team, but in reality at ALICE you are always on video calls and chatting via Slack with other team members. It doesn’t feel like you’re siloed or disconnected at all.
What do you like most about ALICE?
The team is what I like most about ALICE. Of course, we have a great product with huge potential, but we really have an amazing team. We have a lot of people who are very passionate about what we do and always trying to find ways to do it better.
For example, our CTO, Dmitry, is always pushing back and debating ideas with you. It’s helpful because we’re all trying to find the best outcome and the best idea. Having people on your team who push back and debate is very helpful. While it can be annoying at times to have people debating your ideas, everyone on the team realizes that it’s necessary; because otherwise, we could fall into the trap of doing things a certain way without questioning why or finding different viewpoints.
I also love the flexibility ALICE gives me in my personal life. Working remotely with ALICE has allowed me to travel to new places and work from anywhere in the world.
Where are all of the places you have worked remotely since you’ve been at ALICE?
Since I started at ALICE, I’ve worked all around Bogota (where I live), Cartagena, Miami, New York, Moscow, Minsk, Helsinki, and Costa Rica.
Which has been your favorite remote spot to work from?
Costa Rica has been my favorite spot by far. Because of the time zone difference with New York, I start working earlier, and when I end the day, I still have time to go surfing in the evening.
I think it will be a 2- or 3-month trip to Turkey.
What advice do you have for new ALICE engineers joining the team?
Try not to feel overwhelmed by the knowledge that others might have on the team. We have such a huge thing happening that it takes a long time to actually know and understand all the pieces.
Also, do not hesitate to share your thoughts and ideas. Sometimes people can feel like they do not have enough context or knowledge to share and we can miss out on some truly great ideas because of that. We have a very safe environment at ALICE for sharing ideas; we do not judge and we appreciate any ideas.
Interested in working with team members like Jesus? Explore our open careers opportunities!