Meet the talent: Engjëll Hoxha, Senior DevOps Engineer

Place of residence: Tirana, Albania

Position: Senior DevOps Engineer

Please describe a day in your life

Since I work for a US-based project, my day starts a bit later, allowing me the luxury of enjoying a relaxed morning coffee while planning my tasks for the day. This quiet time is essential for organizing my thoughts and setting priorities. On some mornings, I catch up with the latest technology news; on other days, I use this time to explore new techs, continually expanding my skill set. Around noon, my workday officially begins with a team stand-up meeting at Limestone Digital (a software development company), where I work as a DevOps engineer.

This collaborative session sets the tone for the day as I transition into supporting team members and managing the infrastructure for a US logistics startup. My working day usually ends around 20:30 – 21:00, wrapping up a fulfilling problem-solving day. But after work, I always try to do something fun and relaxing, as a treat to myself, by spending time with family and friends or playing sports.

How many projects are you currently working on? Please describe them

Currently, I am engaged in an interesting project as a DevOps engineer at Limestone Digital, which involves working for a fast-growing US-based startup specializing in last-mile delivery. This project is filled with unique challenges and goals. I am spearheading the development and implementation of advanced DevOps practices, providing strategic oversight on system integration and deployment to ensure optimal performance and scalability. I automate scalable infrastructure using Terraform and Terragrunt and design fault-tolerant systems for cloud environments. My role also involves creating and automating CI/CD pipelines, maintaining and monitoring projects in cloud environments, and investigating new technologies like Kubernetes and Argo to optimize our processes.

In your opinion, who is the most influential person/company in the world of technology these days?

In my opinion, one of the most influential entities in the world of technology today is OpenAI. OpenAI has been at the forefront of artificial intelligence and machine learning advancements. Their innovations, particularly with the development of the GPT series, have revolutionized natural language processing and AI capabilities. Their work is not only transforming industries but also shaping the future of human-computer interaction.

If you could choose one application/product/project that you would like to be involved in at the moment, what would it be?

If given the opportunity, I would love to be involved in a project that integrates AI with DevOps to create an innovative, automated DevOps platform. This platform could leverage machine learning algorithms to predict system failures, optimize resource allocation, and streamline continuous integration and delivery pipelines. The potential to use AI to automate complex DevOps tasks, enhance system performance, and ensure security measures is incredibly exciting. Working on such a project would push the boundaries of what is possible in DevOps and contribute to making development processes more efficient and reliable. This combination of AI and DevOps represents the future of technology, and being part of its development would be both challenging and highly rewarding.

What are the three most important lessons you have learned in your career?

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is always to be ready to shift. Technology moves fast, and adapting to new roles and technologies is crucial as older ones become obsolete. Another vital lesson is the necessity of continuous learning. Knowing how to search for the right information and applying logical thinking to solve problems is essential. The ability to learn constantly keeps you relevant and effective in a rapidly evolving field. Lastly, I’ve realized the importance of diversifying your skill set. People should have more than one skill or ability in life. For instance, if you’re a DevOps engineer, you should also understand the business perspective, learn new things, and stay active in the broader ecosystem.

How do you see technology, especially in DevOPS, evolving in the next ten years?

In my opinion, DevOps is more than just a set of practices; it is a mindset, a way of living and doing. People should start adopting this perspective because I believe DevOps will transform significantly in the next ten years. Everything is moving towards greater automation and coexistence with AI, which I see as the future of DevOps. It will likely evolve into a role with a different title but one that is broader and more integrated with various aspects of technology, particularly in security. This evolution will make DevOps even more critical in ensuring technology systems’ efficiency, reliability, and security.

What is the most challenging thing you had to deal with during your career?

Every day presents a new challenge, which is something I embrace, especially when you like what you do. However, one significant challenge I faced was shifting from being a Network Engineer to a System Administrator and then to a DevOps Engineer. Each transition required adapting to new roles and learning new skills to stay relevant and grow as an individual. These shifts were not easy, but they were necessary for my professional growth and to keep pace with the evolving technology landscape.

What is your next goal?

My next goal is to create a community of DevOps professionals in Albania, my home country. I aim to be more involved in emerging tech startups as a way of giving back and contributing to the growth of the tech ecosystem here. I see myself as a tech entrepreneur soon, helping foster innovation and support new ventures. Furthermore, I want to drive technological advancement and provide valuable resources and mentorship to aspiring tech professionals in Albania by building a strong DevOps community and engaging with startups.

What tips do you have for people wanting to start in the tech world?

Firstly, committing to continuous learning and staying current requires an ongoing dedication to education. Secondly, keep up with the latest news and trends in technology. This will help you stay informed about new developments and opportunities. Lastly, be present and get involved. Show passion and enthusiasm for your work. I often see young people viewing their jobs merely as tasks to complete, missing out on the chance to grow and reach their full potential. Embrace your work as a pathway to personal and professional development, and let your passion drive you to achieve great things.

If you could say something to your younger self, what would it be?

Having studied at universities such as Webster University, Swinburne University of Technology, and the Polytechnic University of Tirana, I would tell my younger self not to focus too much on the degree. Instead, get deeply involved in technology earlier and think bigger. In this world, you can achieve great things if you see yourself on a larger scale. Start being part of the workforce at a younger age to gain valuable experience. However, remember to enjoy life as well. Give yourself time to breathe and appreciate the journey. Balancing work and personal life is crucial for long-term success and happiness.

Which famous person would you like to have dinner with and why?

I would like to have dinner with Elon Musk. In my opinion, he’s an impressive innovator and marketer, and I would be interested in understanding how he thinks and approaches challenges. His ability to push boundaries in technology and bring transformative ideas to life, as seen from the outside, is truly inspiring. I would like to hear about his experiences, his thought processes, and how he manages to stay ahead in such competitive industries. I really want to see if he’s all that brilliant or just a show stunt.

Where would you like to travel next?

I would love to travel to Japan next to experience its unique technology, lifestyle, and rich culture. The blend of advanced technology, work style, and traditional customs is fascinating. Additionally, I’m planning a vacation to Vietnam. The country’s beautiful nature, rich cultural heritage, and the opportunity to find peace of mind make it an appealing destination. Both places offer diverse and enriching experiences that I am eager to explore.

Do you have a person who influences or motivates you?

Rather than a specific person, I am driven by a personal goal that keeps me motivated and helps me improve daily. My goal is to have a happy and healthy family and be present with them every moment. To achieve this, I aim to create something meaningful, like a business or a management/consultant position, where I can work more by doing less. This means being available and involved without constantly being tied to a screen, embracing an entrepreneur’s lifestyle. For me, that balance and freedom are the true measures of success and richness, motivating me to work hard and stay focused.

What did you dream of creating/inventing/doing as a child?

As a child, I wanted to be a football player, since it is most little boys’ dream. However, when I realized I wasn’t that good, I began exploring new interests. I discovered my love for creating things and automating processes. I was a bit of a lazy child and always looked for the simplest way to get things done, which naturally led me to a passion for technology and automation. This early interest set the foundation for my tech career.

Meet the talent: Engjëll Hoxha, Senior DevOps Engineer
Meet the talent: Engjëll Hoxha, Senior DevOps Engineer

What do non-tech people around you (family, friends) think you do?

Most of my family and friends have no idea what I actually do. They just believe I can fix anything remotely related to electronics or technology. I constantly get asked to solve issues with everything from air conditioners to blood pressure devices! It’s like they think I’m a tech wizard who can magically fix anything with a power button.

Last thing regarding which you told yourself, “how come no one has ever thought of it”?

The last thing that made me wonder, “how come no one has ever thought of it?” is the idea of big tech companies like Microsoft, AWS, Apple, and Google setting up operations in Albania. The Balkans have a wealth of untapped resources and potential, and it seems like a missed opportunity for these tech giants not to have a more significant presence here, especially in Albania.

Kristi Shehu is a Cyber Security Engineer (Application Security) and Cyber Journalist based in Albania. She lives and breathes technology, specializing in crafting content on cyber news and the latest security trends, all through the eyes of a cyber professional. Kristi is passionate about sharing her thoughts and opinions on the exciting world of cyber security, from breakthrough emerging technologies to dynamic startups across the globe.