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Employee Spotlight: Meet Alex

November 26, 2019 in Company Blog

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At Databricks, we help data teams solve the world’s toughest problems and we couldn’t do that without our wonderful Databricks Team. “Teamwork makes the dream work” is not only a central function of our product but it is also central to our culture. Learn more about Alex, our Director of Resident Solution Architects in Databricks’ Customer Success organization, and about what he does here at Databricks!

Alex (upper right hand corner) and his team at a Customer Success Offsite

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I am an aerospace engineer who became a data scientist by accident before the title was popularized and data sets became bigger, faster and more complex. I lived through the (often painful) evolution from data warehouses, to on-prem data lakes, and finally to the cloud while working for a large enterprise. I was a user of the Databricks Unified Data Analytics Platform prior to joining the company and became a believer in the product vision since it solved so many fundamental problems in big data. I’ve been with Databricks for one year as a leader in our Customer Success organization, based in our Midtown Manhattan office. I live in Brooklyn with my wife, baby girl and dog, enjoying the NYC lifestyle.

What were you looking for in your next opportunity, and why did you choose Databricks?

Databricks was a step-change for me both in technology and career growth. I lead a team called Resident Solutions Architects in our Customer Success organization. This is a diverse group of customer-facing big data architects who work across the data engineering and machine learning spectrum to solve our customers’ most challenging use-cases in the field. The variety and complexity of the problems we solve is unparalleled. We are learning and adding value in every business vertical and feeding those insights back into the product continuously. We design massively scalable solutions, write production-quality code and become trusted advisors to the data teams of the most successful enterprises in the world.

What gets you excited to come to work every day?

As an engineer, this is an easy one. At Databricks, we are solving the most challenging big data problems in the world, with an amazing culture of teamwork and customer focus. Let’s do this.

One of our core values at Databricks is to be an owner. What is your most memorable experience at Databricks when you owned it?

Databricks’ 1,000 Employee milestone celebration in the NYC office

Rapidly scaling our diverse team is my number one priority by a wide margin. Inspiring the best people in big data and machine learning industry to grow with our team is how Databricks will continue its rapid success. Our East Coast team in particular has increased by 3X over the last year to keep up with our customer demand. At this pace, owning our team culture becomes a major focus for everyone and my biggest accomplishment is simply enabling our team to learn from each other and continue to do their magic in the field at an ever-growing scale.

What has been the biggest challenge you've faced, and what is a lesson you learned from it?

A great challenge of any field team is sharing best practices across the globe so that our customers benefit from the rapidly advancing state-of-the-art. Here’s the good news: we have an amazing team of industry experts with the answers. Databricks invests time so that our experts can drive initiatives to benefit the company and our customers.  This is a unique aspect of our Customer Success organization, which is time that is specifically carved out of their schedules to build scalable solutions and grow their careers. Our Resident Solution Architects and Sr. Solutions Consultants have designed and implemented next-gen security features, created an Auto ML Toolkit  and ML Feature Factory under our Databricks Labs initiative and we also actively share Apache Spark optimization best practices with the community to name just a few examples. This approach of investing in our experts allows us to scale and ensures we are capturing everything we are learning in the field. Did I mention that we are hiring?

Databricks has grown tremendously in the last few years. How do you see the future of Databricks evolving and what are you most excited to see us accomplish?

We are a product company, and the main driver of our success is aligning people, technology and business value. It’s a very satisfying win-win for our customers and I think that the way we treat our customers is truly an industry differentiator for Databricks. It’s amazing to think that we are just getting started and excited to see our growth globally.

What advice would you give to field engineering professionals who are starting their careers?

There are so many early career engineers that don’t even know that they will end up as field professionals - including me. So, first be aware of all the opportunities that are out there. Whether it’s sales, support, or customer success, there is a place for you in the field if you want to work directly with customers and solve problems in a very dynamic environment. Any field role will simultaneously accelerate your career from both a technical and leadership perspective. Wait, did I mention that we are hiring?

Interested in helping solve our customers’ most challenging use-cases in the field? Learn more about Alex’s team and check out our Careers Page.

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