Self-taught coder Tom Wright makes sure Google products like the Cloud are running in top form globally in his job as an engineering manager at Google.
Although he’s never formally studied CS, Tom taught himself to code and got his foot in the door as a customer support officer for an internet provider in his home town of Adelaide.
He worked through different roles in the organisation, before taking on a network engineering position. This led to his first role at Google.
Network engineers are technology specialists who manage the complex digital networks which control data exchange between personal computers, phones, servers and other hardware.
“These systems are highly diverse,” says Tom. “You need to understand network protocols and equipment so you can design infrastructure and troubleshoot faults.”
Working on large-scale networks, Tom was continually drawn into software automation projects.
“I noticed a lot of patterns and repeat issues that could be solved with code: building software is a lot of fun and frees you up to solve novel problems.”
Specifically, Tom is a Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) Manager for App Engine Storage SRE, which means he works on ensuring Google products, like the Google Cloud, are functioning smoothly.
“People are my first priority, but I’m also on-call as a first responder for incidents affecting our services. We don’t just react and maintain: we look at the system critically and engineer solutions.”
Tom loves that he still has the opportunity to write code wherever he can and he enjoys the frequent travel that the SRE role often requires. The most important part of his job? Communicating complex ideas to others.
“Everybody needs to learn to write so they can explain and document concepts well – it’s as important as coding,” says Tom.
And the best thing about working at Google?
“I’m surrounded by people from different backgrounds, each of whom brings a unique perspective – every day is a learning experience and a privilege.”
– Larissa Fedunik
>> Customer Support Officer, Internode, Adelaide
>> Corporate Support Officer, Internode, Adelaide
>> Network Engineer, Internode, Adelaide
>> Site Reliability Engineer, Google, Sydney
>> Site Reliability Engineering Manager, Google, Sydney
This profile is brought to you in partnership with Google.
“I’m surrounded by people from different backgrounds, which brings a unique perspective – every day is a learning experience and a privilege.”
Author: Larissa Fedunik-Hofman
Larissa is the editorial assistant for Careers with STEM and a Chemistry PhD student. Larissa’s goal is to promote public engagement with STEM through inspiring stories.