Snowplow Spotlight: Joe Paravisini

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Joe Paravisini – Site Reliability Engineer

How would you describe what you do in a nutshell?

As a member of the TechOps team, a major focus is running highly available instances of the Snowplow Analytics pipeline on behalf of our customers. Additionally, we run a collection of internal services to support some of Snowplow’s business and employee needs. 

What does an average day look like for you?

An average day might be chipping away at whatever current engineering project I am currently working on (usually some kind of elimination of toil), answering questions for customers or providing recommendations and reports, or deploying a new pipeline. Though it’s not too often, all of this could immediately be put on hold if a customer is experiencing a major traffic spike or some unforeseen issue in their infrastructure, and then we rapidly switch to incident management mode, looking for ways to mitigate and resolve anything that may have come up. Though it’s not for everyone, I appreciate a certain level of unpredictability each day! 

How did you get to do what you are doing?

I got into building and running *nix servers and writing code as an early teenager. I was pretty much hooked right away and knew that was the career I wanted to get into, though I could never really decide between code and infrastructure. My first full-time tech job was creating  Flash websites 🤮, and I eventually moved into running the servers themselves. That was back in the days of driving physical hardware to a local datacenter. After a few years, I moved back into software engineering, where I stayed for a decade, bouncing between programming and managing programmers. A handful of years ago, that starting morphing into the wonderful world of SRE, where you never have to choose between writing software and running infrastructure! 

How does working for Snowplow compare to previous roles?

Though I’ve had a handful of years at large companies, most of my career has been at mid-stage startups, so there have been many great similarities that Snowplow embodies – faster decisions and tech, more creative solutions to problems, a more relaxed culture with people you just enjoy working with. But there are also some cool things I have yet to experience before Snowplow. This is the first role that I’ve had at a company that maintains Open-source software. Being someone who has benefitted from and believed in Open-source since I can remember, it feels really meaningful to be able to be a part of something like this as part of my day job and give back to the community even in small ways. 

What has kept you motivated and sane throughout lockdown?

My wife and I have six kids, so “sane” isn’t exactly a concept I remember much of, but we have been enjoying going on local hikes most weekends. I’ll certainly be thrilled when traditional city life is back, with all of the concerts and festivals and all that, but I know we wouldn’t have experienced as much of the local natural beauty just outside our city if it wasn’t for all of the lockdowns. Also, like so many, long overdue home improvement projects have become a normal rhythm of our life. Not sure if that is helping the sanity either, but the results have been great!  

How do you make the most out of remote working? 

This is the first fully remote job I’ve held, and I honestly don’t know if I could go back to the full-time office life. I initially had dreams of working from coffee shops and parks, but since my first full year was under lockdown, I settled for putting some effort into making my desk a place I really wanted to be at. Getting a good set of speakers, a plant or two, and some good lighting go a long way.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

My first day at Snowplow was one of our infamous “Away weeks”, and I’m hoping for the possibility of another one by the end of the year 🤞 On a personal level, I am looking forward to getting back to the beach! I live in a coastal state where you are never further than 30 minutes from a body of saltwater. In a normal year, my family and I are out at least once a week in the warmer months. COVID-19 lockdowns here limited our state beach capacity while everything was getting sorted out which hampered that, but it’s looking like there will be some normalcy in that area this year.

If you could see yourself working alongside Joe, head over to our careers page and get in touch today.

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