Meet the Bees: Félix Belzunce

At CloudBees, we have a lot of seriously talented developers. They work hard behind the scenes to keep the CloudBees Platform as a Service (PaaS) and our on-premise Jenkins solutions up-to-date with all the latest and greatest technologies, gizmos and overall stuff that makes it easy for you to develop amazing software.

Félix’s main role at CloudBees is to improve the user experience on the CloudBees platform. He is native of Cartagena, Spain, where he attended the Polytechnic University of Cartagena. While at University, he researched the synchronization problem for Wireless Sensor Network (WSN), which helped him to develop a WSN localization application.

After graduating, he worked as a Java developer coding some modules for a healthcare management software. He also taught technology in Andalucia for three years helping students to improve both their knowledge and their work methodologies. He educated his students about the benefits of living in a multicultural society, in which everybody can make positive contributions.

Who are you? What is your role at CloudBees?

I work for CloudBees as a developer advocate, helping users to be successful in leveraging the services we provide. If we help them, they should be happy and then we will see an increase in the number of active users on the platform.

In my opinion, one of the most interesting things about this position is that you really need to be able to understand how all the services work, which means I get to multi-task and not just do routine work. For that reason, the developer advocate team is usually in touch with most of the development teams on the platform, so we have an understanding about what is happening throughout the company.

I also like that most of us do not have a really fixed role at CloudBees, so we can spend some time in other roles we like. In my case, I use this time to take a look at some support tickets, design some funnel processes or to improve some of the services we provide. Specifically, I have been contributing to the runtime environment by updating some ClickStacks and creating new ClickStarts. Next step will be to develop a simple Jenkins plugin.

In my spare time, usually on the weekend, I am currently developing a small cloud Java application, which is helping me to improve my skills on CCD (Continuous Cloud Delivery).

« Félix likes cinema. Here, he gets to watch original version English films with French and Dutch subtitles at the same time. 

What does a typical day look like for you? What are CloudBees customers like?

I get up really early in the morning to avoid the disgusting traffic jams in Brussels, so I usually arrive at the office when the building is closed and the cleaning lady is finishing her job at our office. Sometimes I take advantage of having a short conversation with her to improve my French language skills.

Being serious now, the first thing I usually do is take a look at StackOverflow and at the support platform to see the new customer questions, so they can receive an answer as soon as possible.

Also, I usually get some emails from customers who need help in achieving their goals, and this takes me some time, as most of the time I need to reproduce a specific Jenkins configuration or need to recreate a similar environment. Sometimes, it is just a frequently asked question which doesn’t take me a lot of time to answer.

As a member of the pre-sales team, I also help sales out with the technical questions they have or that they receive from their prospects. This is also a really good way to learn, since all the pre-sales engineers participate in the discussions, so at the end we create a forum where we discuss what is the best approach for user issues and questions.

What suggestions do you have for someone who is just starting to use CloudBees?

On runtime, one of the most common mistakes is to think that the file system is persistent on a multi-tenant environment, so users expect to be able to store files there.  Instead, if you really want to have your application ready for the cloud, you should use a persistent file-system like Amazon S3 in the same datacenter where you plan to deploy your web app.

I also recommend to use some add-ons which will help you to know how much heap memory your application needs, or to alert you when your app is down for any reason. These kind of automations are really easy to set-up on a PaaS and will help you to get information about how everything is going.

For the development environment, the answer is pretty easy: just use Jenkins. Jenkins will allow you to get feedback every time your team pushes a change into the repository, so you can quickly fix the issues and deliver your software faster. But Jenkins is not only about delivering faster. It is also about improving some other aspects such as the quality of the code. With the great quantity of Jenkins plugins, you will for sure get an idea of the grade of customization you can get.

« Enjoying a Belgian brew. “Drinking a Leffe with summer clothes and eating mussels in a terrace is priceless in this country.”

Do you have any advice for someone starting a career in the cloud space?

If you plan to work as an engineer for a cloud company, the best idea is to start contributing to open source projects related to the cloud: Jenkins plugins, cloud projects like jclouds, or even coding your own stack for the CloudBees Platform.

It is also a really good idea to have your own personal blog in which you can talk about topics related to the cloud.  Nowadays, on interviews, managers may start asking you for your GitHub/StackOverflow profile and also for any link where they can read something you wrote where they can have you answer questions about it.

What is your favorite form of social media and why?

I like Facebook as it is a simple way to be in touch with your friends, sharing what you are doing and what are your thoughts about a topic.  Obviously, I am talking about “real” Facebook friends and not the ones you have, but have never met in your life ;-)

It is true I use a fake name, with a fake location and a fake email address to guarantee my personal private information on Facebook. Also, I could in this way add the people I want without receiving so many friend requests. I was working as a teacher in the past, so maybe it explains why I didn’t want to receive 300 student requests every time I was moved to a new school.

« What is better than eating a waffle with chocolate in Brussels after a great bike ride?

Vanilla or chocolate or some other flavor, what’s your favorite ice cream flavor and brand?

Definitely it is chocolate. I eat chocolate almost every day. Belgian chocolate is especially good, so it seems I am in the right place. I also like drinking hot chocolate and I have discovered that hot chocolate in Spain is much different than the one is served in the rest of the world. If you like chocolate and you come to Spain, you should taste it.

If you could eat only one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Difficult question. I don’t have a favorite food as it depends on the day, if it is summer, winter or if I ate too much the day before. What I can say is that it would probably be a Mediterranean meal.

 

 

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