E23 - James Freeman at AWS13 July, 2023
On today’s episode of the Security Vendor spin-off series, our host and Head of Cloud Security Matt Ayres was joined by James Freeman, Senior Technical Account Manager at AWS. During the episode, James delves into more about how he became a published author and some of his short-term plans for the future. James also shares with us how he got into his role as an empowerment coach, his story, and the transformative effect it’s had on his life.
James’ career in the tech industry began right after his university graduation. Unsure of his path but driven by his love for computers and electronics, he found his first role as an electronic engineer. He soon realised that his true passion lay with IT. This led to his transition into system engineering positions.
After working in various system engineer roles for a few years, he was presented with an opportunity at a company called Quru. This organisation specialised in open-source technologies, particularly Red Hat. Joining Quru marked James’ first introduction into customer-facing positions, as opposed to internal roles. This was a significant turning point in his career.
James was at Quru for seven to eight years, before being approached by a LinkedIn message and it turned out to be a game-changer. AWS had approached him with an opportunity. He decided to embark on a new chapter in his career by joining AWS.
The best route into the industry?
When asked about his degree, he admits that if he were to do it again, he wasn’t actually sure whether he would take that route again or not. While recognising the value of problem-solving and analytical skills gained during his studies, he acknowledges that the technical aspects of his degree played a limited role in his career path. He highlights the importance of problem-solving and analytical skills. These skills have served as the foundation of his career and enabled him to excel in various roles.
Recognising the evolving nature of the industry and the increasing demand for proof of skills, he stresses the value of certifications. Certifications act as badges of validation, demonstrating your expertise in a specific domain. Many employers now prioritise certs as a means of assessing candidates’ suitability for roles.
One of James’ biggest personal achievements is becoming a published author. This accomplishment was not something he consciously set out to achieve. In a fortunate turn of events, he found himself writing his first book, “Mastering Ansible,” when he stumbled upon the third edition of the book. James embraced the opportunity and poured his knowledge and expertise into the project, leading to the successful publication of his work.
Just over ten years ago, James experienced a significant change in his life. It was a time of turmoil; he reached a critical turning point. With no one else left to hold responsible, he confronted the realisation that he needed to look within himself. This moment of self-awareness was the beginning of a transformative journey towards personal accountability and self-reflection.
Determined to embark on a path of self-discovery and personal growth, James sought guidance and support from a coaching organisation. Witnessing the transformative effect in his own life, he felt compelled to share this empowering journey with others, leading him to the Empowerment Coach position.
James shares some advice to those starting out. While technical expertise is crucial, don’t underestimate the importance of interpersonal skills. In the tech industry, collaboration and effective communication are essential for success.
Tune in on the 20/06/2023 to hear the full episode!