I first met Chris while working for another consulting firm. I was thrown ass-first into leading a software “packaging team”, for a municipal government customer strung out on crack (the customer, not Chris or I). Well, actually, it was pretty good for the first three years. And then the crack ran out, and a new dealer rode into town with chain-fed, water-cooled douche cannon, and the story turned tragic.
Anyhow, I interviewed Chris (I think, but it might have been someone else) and it was one of those moments like “oh shit, this isn’t a rock! It’s a diamond-encrusted Dilithium Crystal, filled with Kryptonite and free food!!!” Yes. Chris is one of those rare folks who seems like a 50 year sage in a 20-something package. Can find the bugs in things like AdminStudio. Shit, the young man bought a house to fix up, while most goobs his age are blowing it on cheap car rims, flavored lite beer, and Call of Duty tattoos.
An infrastructure whiz-kid. Technical wunderkind. Says he’s not a developer, but has all the good traits of one. Figures shit out like MacGyver on IBM Watson juice. Have I hyperboled-him too much? Sorry. If he knocks on your door, hire him. You won’t regret it. Let’s go…
Name: Christopher DeCarlo
Job Title: Implementation Engineer
1. Describe what you do for a living – to someone who has no idea what it means.
So, I get paid to stare at a screen for hours, sometimes during ungodly hours, implementing and improving automated stalking systems to learn everything I can about people and the devices they use. I then openly share this information to those I deem worthy. I also hit buttons loudly and occasionally I yell while hitting said buttons.
Or, I work with Config Manager in all aspects and also come up with creative solutions to gather new information from a PC or user accounts based on management directives.
2. How did you get into this type of work?
While in High School I was taking every computer class available. Immediately afterwards the same school system I graduated from was doing a migration away from Novell on to AD and Windows XP at the time. From then on I was involved in enterprise management systems and automation of those systems.
3. What area or aspect of technology are you most excited about?
Robotics. And not just robots themselves but even robotic prosthetic limbs and nanorobotics.
4. What gives you the most satisfaction today?
Knowing that all my countless hours of hard work and sweat will be erased of all evidence in about 3-5 years……… oh, you said satisfaction, um… honestly, the act of taking something that is completely broken and fixing it. You get that bit of satisfaction that us IT people understand when you resolve a major glitch or identify a bug.
[edit: my fault. I accidentally curmudgeoned him with that “3-5 years” doomsday view. My apologies]
5. Name the 3 most inspiring people in your life or career?
My parents would be #1 as they’ve shown me what hard work truly is, and to have the pride not only in your work but in how you do that work.
#2 would probably be this character I met named Dave Stein. I can honestly say that, intentional or unintentionally, he helped me not only realize my potential but also the potential in others with his rare ability to teach without talking down to people and his constant humbleness.
#3 would have to be Neil DeGrasse Tyson, his infectious charisma and honest love of what he does…… should inspire us all to do what we love.
[edit: I swear on a stack of plastic, wood-burning hotel Bibles – I didn’t add that or bribe him… yet. He makes me sound like a decent person].
6. If I hadn’t gone into this field, I’d probably be… ?
A woodworker. My earliest memories are always the smell of freshly cut wood as my dad would be building a deck, a fence, or even a garage. The idea that even after 50 years the things that you can build would still be remaining and can probably even illict [sic] great memories from people such as a handmade crib that multiple generations have been raised in, or a favorite chair of a passed away relative. Those are things that very few fields can truly capture.
7. Favorite place to travel?
When I’m trying to completely zone out to gather my thoughts I like to load up Google Maps and drop the little street view yellow guy in random spots. One such spot which is always beautiful no matter where I drop him is Iceland. So I’d like to travel to Iceland one day.
8. What 3 books, movies or other works have influenced you most in life?
9. There’s never enough …
10. There’s way too much …
11. What’s your favorite sound?
Thunder. It’s such a powerful sound from nature and yet also beautiful.
12. What would you say to those who insist that technology has only made life worse?
I probably wouldn’t say anything. Technology is everything, the wheels on your car is a technology. The “invention” of fire is technology in use. There is no escaping it.
13. How do you feel about the importance of college degrees, and certifications as it pertains to IT careers? Do those credentials mean as much, or more, than they use to?
My opinion is to do what you feel is best for your path. Getting a degree in the Liberal Arts is not going to help you in IT, you were better off saving your money and getting a few certifications and spending your time in a job gaining experience. Also, certifications can be a good tool to show your knowledge if your just starting out and don’t have much experience (or money for college). While I was in high school I had my MCP in Windows 2000 and MCDST in Windows XP, they both showed employers that even without experience I have the ability and potential. As you start to get 10+ years of experience then certifications don’t matter as greatly as you have the years of experience that companies look for. BUT you should still be getting a few that are relevant to your path as they can separate you from other candidates that have similar experience as you. And you might actually learn something while studying.
14. You’ve crashed on a remote island along with 4 other engineers, and 5 sales people. There’s only enough food for five people total to last a week. What do you do?
Meh, they all taste the same so why bother complicating things with rationing the supplies, drawing straws, or figuring out a pecking order.
15. If you could go back in time and change one piece of technology to end up better today, what would it be, and why?
Batteries. A power source that is more efficient, more powerful, smaller, cheaper, and quick to charge should already exist today and would have dramatically changed all the technology we see now. Battery powered cars would be old news by now. Society as a whole would be much better off as well (think countries with limited to no access to a reliable power source).
Shameless plug – I have a site PushDeploy.com that I use as a sort of note-taking/article dump to remind myself how I fixed something when I run into the same issue again. Check it out.