"Three years ago I was working in a biscuit factory stacking biscuits, today I work on some of the largest, most complex infrastructure in the world – all because I had a supportive environment to help me push myself."
- Kayleigh Rix, DevOps Engineer
What is your role at Cloudreach?
I joined Cloudreach back in April as a DevOps Engineer to become part of their new AgileOps team. As a DevOps Engineer at Cloudreach I advise on the technical design and best practices for enterprises. I help them build scalable & resilient infrastructure: identifying areas for optimisation in a continuous improvement phase by helping our customers adopt and harness the power of cloud computing.
Where were you before Cloudreach?
Not everyone knows this about me but three years ago I was working in a biscuit factory. I worked the graveyard shift 8pm-7am and worked 50-60 hours week stacking biscuits and packaging them for a great family owned company.
I remember my pain trying to pick up biscuits as fast as my colleagues and joked that it’d probably be faster for me to design a robot arm than it would be for me than to keep up with them. I also remember my delight when I learned how to pick up 6 biscuits in one hand, and then 8, and the occasional 12 – they seem like silly goals but they were epic achievements for me.
Had you always been interested in technology?
I have always been passionate about all things Tech: from collecting robotics magazines as a child to finally graduating at Heriot-Watt University with BEng in Robotics & Cybertronics. I have always gravitated to STEM topics but always was more of a jack-of-all-trades. I loved being dynamic in my learning which I think is why DevOps is so appealing to me.
What motivated you to pursue technology as a career path?
When I was working as a factory worker, getting back into Tech hadn’t even occurred to me yet. It was only when a friend of mine bullied me into learning Python and invited me to a PyLadies meetup that I actually began to re-engage and envision a future career.
You’re now very involved in the women in tech community. You’re organizing the first Edinburgh Women in Technology Meetup and are also hosting a seminar at the European Women in Technology conference in Amsterdam. What has inspired you to take on such a large role within this community?
Back in September, Cloudreach invited the company to Lisbon for our Annual Kickoff. It was pretty much an all expensed long weekend trip to Portugal, staying in a beautiful 5 star hotel. I was in my hotel room getting ready to jump headfirst into the pool when I noticed the biscuits. Seeing that familiar purple box of biscuits had miraculously followed me to Lisbon gave me the opportunity to reflect on where I am, what I had accomplished and how I got here. It was important to me to get more involved with the community because I owe all of my success to meetups like that first PyLadies one that I’d been reluctantly dragged to by my friend.
Three years ago I was working in a biscuit factory stacking biscuits, today I work on some of the largest, most complex infrastructure in the world – all because I had a supportive environment to help me push myself.
What motivated you to join Cloudreach?
I joined Cloudreach because of the team identity, I really responded to the company values and mission. Cloudreach stands for what I stand for: I wanted to be part of the team driving the future of technology forward, recognised for innovation and putting people first. When I got in touch with Cloudreach they didn’t strictly have an opportunity that matched my skillset and interests but I knew I wanted to speak to them. And when we found the right role for me, I was delighted to join the team.
How has Cloudreach contributed to your personal and professional development?
Personal development is important to me and it was essential that I found a company that shared the same values. Cloudreach has given me free reign over my own learning – limited only by how much I want to invest in it. One of my most recent accomplishments includes passing the AWS Big Data Specialty exam, making it my 6th AWS Certification in only 8 months. Whether it’s access to endless learning materials, organising a local meetup, or the opportunity to travel abroad to give a seminar on something you feel passionate about – Cloudreach is there to help you out.
What advice would you give others looking to pursue a career at Cloudreach?
If you have any interest in pushing yourself, meeting amazing people and kicking butt at doing the thing you love most (especially if the thing you love most is eating pizza) then get in touch with our amazing Talent Team! I’m serious. Do it right now!!
What about technology excites you the most?
I’ve only been in the industry for a couple of years but my introduction into the world of DevOps has been a true baptism of fire! It inspires me how quickly technology changes and I want to be part of that change.
What is your personal philosophy?
“A day without laughter is a day wasted” – Charlie Chaplin
I think one of the most important things is to always remember to laugh, especially at ourselves. I try not to take myself too seriously and find the joy at everything I do – there’s no point doing anything if it doesn’t at least make you crack a smile
Kayleigh is organizing the launch of the Edinburgh Women in Technology Meetup series, hosted at Cloudreach on 2 November.
She will also host a seminar at the European Women in Technology 2017 conference in Amsterdam on 8 November. Her session, titled “Afraid of being ‘Found Out’: Kicking Imposter Syndrome in its Stupid Face!” will discuss the tendency for women in technology to feel their successes are undeserved, and how we can free ourselves from the fear of being “found out” by recognising our own accomplishments.
European Women in Technology, one of Europe's biggest conferences dedicated to women in tech, returns this year. To download a brochure, click here.