Hi everyone, my name is Nicolas Vazquez and I have been working as a software engineer at ShapeBlue for about 5 years now. I live in Uruguay, in Latin America, and as a fun fact I have always lived in the same city. I have a degree in Computer Engineering and outside work I am a husband, a proud father of a young lady and I enjoy playing tennis and exercising.
Life before ShapeBlue
Before joining ShapeBlue I worked as a Java developer in various fields. But it wasn’t until 2015 that I got into cloud computing as part of a development project for the company I was working on. One of the company customers was needing a small development for their cloud platform based on CloudStack with the Vmware hypervisor and I got assigned to it. At first, it was all new to me and I had a great learning curve. Armed with my Java development skills and the networking basics learnt in college I soon discovered that I had a lot to learn before being able to produce any fix. Those were some months of hard work and a lot of learning. My manager by that time has pointed me to the CloudStack documentation and had a lot of patience in answering my doubts while I was learning and teaching me how to use CloudStack from an administrator point of view. After a big learning curve, I was finally able to provide a very small fix for CloudStack which felt like a huge milestone.
Initial Stages with Apache CloudStack
Then the contribution process started. I had never interacted with an open-source project before so this was also new to me. I immediately felt welcomed after opening my first pull request and was amazed at how people I didn’t know took the time to review my work and patiently guided me on how I should improve it. I remember my first pull request was not the neatest and needed a lot of work from me to get accepted into the codebase. I really enjoyed the interaction with the community since day one, and as I was the only one in my office working on CloudStack. I started interacting more with people around the world who were very keen on it and started learning from them as well. After some successful iterations, the customer project became bigger so I kept learning and producing fixes and some new features for CloudStack for more than one year until I was invited to become a committer and happily accepted it.
I kept working in CloudStack until one day in 2017, I received a job offer from ShapeBlue and had to make a decision whether to keep the job that I really enjoyed in an office environment or to move to a remote position with a distributed team. I took the decision to accept the ShapeBlue offer and immediately most of the people I had admired and had been interacting with for more than one year became my colleagues and was proud to be working with them. But I knew I had a lot to learn. Most of my CloudStack experience was around the Vmware hypervisor – not around other areas, so I kept learning more and more about CloudStack, but this time with the help of a lot of experienced colleagues. I found a great place to work, with amazing people and I immediately loved the way of working and their culture. After many years working at offices I found the remote work a bit challenging, specifically with the time zones, but have found out it works great.
Reflecting on the Last 5 Years
After more than 5 years working at ShapeBlue, I can say I took the right decision on accepting their offer. I have met lovely, smart and inspiring people and their professionalism and hard work pushed me to try to become a better professional. During these years I have learnt a lot and met wonderful people, attended and given talks at conferences, became a PMC member of the project, and have been a release manager for a couple of releases. I am very thankful to ShapeBlue and happy to be part of their team, and look forward to keeping improving and learning!