2 Years Later As A Solution Architect

2 Years Later as a Solution Architect

Wow! Today marks my 2nd anniversary as a presales field Solution Architect at Dell Technologies! Time flew by in a blink of an eye. I want to take the time to share my experience with everybody, whether you’re curious about how I did it or looking to pivot yourself. I will break this blog into five parts, from why I decided to jump to the struggle during my ramp-up and my final thoughts. Let’s get started!

Embracing a New Challenge

I started my career in IT as a Windows Systems Administrator in 2013 after completing my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Management Information Systems at Sacramento State (Go Hornets!). I worked hard, gained tremendous skills from my colleagues, and transitioned to the dark side as a Linux Systems Administrator. I then joined the Private Cloud team as a Senior Cloud Platform Engineer.

Throughout my career, I’ve always wanted to be a Solution Architect and design hardened solutions. Fast forward to 2022, I was given an opportunity to interview at Dell. I honestly didn’t think much of it because I was doing amazing things, worked with awesome colleagues, and had a great manager. After going through the interview process, I’ve noticed how genuine and intelligent the individuals are. My only fear was not knowing whether my new team would be as good or better than my current one. I took the leap and started my career as a Solution Architect on May 23rd, 2022. This is the role I’ve dreamt of landing since I started my career in IT.

Drinking from the Firehose

Credit: Dottie Di Liddo

Going into this new role, I knew it would be challenging to learn new internal processes, know who’s who internally, broaden my technical skills on products I already know, and learn new products and services. I was drinking through the firehose. For those who understand, you know what I mean.

It was a rough first six months, but with the amazing individuals on my immediate and extended (POD) teams, my transition wasn’t as bad as I envisioned. I was aligned with a mentor from my team (shoutout to Aaron), and looking back, I am so thankful for all the support he’s provided me.

I pride myself on my communication skills, but this new position has really tested me personally and professionally. What I’ve learned through the first six months was that I can’t know everything, but I can learn something new every day and add to my tool and skill set.

Finding My Stride

With anything new, it takes time to find your stride. I thought I found my stride after six months. Then I realized I was struggling, and after year 1, I thought I found my stride. I was wrong. I realized I’m always adjusting my stride by being nimble and flexible.

I’m sure I’m not the only one, but speaking in front of an audience is nerve-racking for me. All the negative self-talk goes through my mind before, during, and after. What I’ve learned is that I will never get better if I let my fear of public speaking get the best of me. I learned that it’s through practice and repetition that I gain confidence in speaking about products or going through a discovery exercise with a customer.

I’ve learned that open communication and constructive criticism are key to growth. I’m all ears when it comes to how I can be better, and I let my colleagues know.

The Ongoing Journey

The journey is ongoing every day. New products and features are released daily, and keeping up with everything is impossible. I’ve learned that being the trusted advisor to my customers defines success for me. My 9 years of hands-on keyboard experience differentiate me from other Solution Architects and Sales Executives, and my customers appreciate the transparency.

I’ve embraced constant change and challenges as opportunities to become the best Solution Architect. After two years, what gives me satisfaction is seeing solutions I helped build, deploy, and use in production. This reminds me of how far I’ve come as a Systems Administrator in my earlier years.

Reflections and Final Thoughts

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Visiting the capybara’s at Izu Shaboten Zoo in Japan (May 2024)

I can’t say enough about how grateful I am to be here. I am forever grateful to Scott, who hired me and gave me my first professional opportunity in IT. I am also grateful for my former Solution Architect, Roland, who opened the door for me and unlocked my fear of trying something new. I am also grateful to Craig, who hired me at Dell, and my current director, Rod, for being the most amazing presales leaders I could ask for.

I’ve been privileged to work for amazing managers and colleagues, and this is only the beginning. A few years ago, I was hesitant to blog, but with the support of my wife Amanda, I’ve rediscovered my passion for sharing and helping others.

I also want to mention that during my first week at Dell, someone in my LinkedIn network through my EMBA program reached out to me and asked me about my journey. At first, I didn’t think I would offer much, but we spoke over the phone, and I talked to Ambuj about my journey. A year later, he contacted me and told me he was now a Sales Engineer (another title for Solution Architect)! It’s amazing to see others succeed, even from a simple conversation.

I’ve also had the chance to mentor at Dell and had the pleasure of mentoring Wilson last summer. He recently started his career at Dell as a Solution Architect. Little things like this make work worthwhile and fulfilling. If I can help, feel free to reach out, and I’m more than happy to chat with you. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog! Here’s to many more years! Cheers!

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