What is your role at Big Switch, how did you end up at the company and what factors lead to you joining the company?
I work as an Engineer in the Big Cloud Fabric team, which makes up about ¼ of the engineering team in total. Prior to Big Switch, I worked at Force10 and Brocade, in both roles I worked on their switches. I joined Big Switch about two years ago, I was drawn to the company because I thought the products were designed incredibly well, I thought they solved key problems and provided really innovative solutions for customers.
I also liked the technologies that are used to build Big Mon and Big Cloud Fabric, which include automated unit tests and a virtual environment for code testing. At my prior job we had to reserve physical switches to test our code, which often was a bottleneck for meeting deadlines. Additionally, the development team is based at our HQ, which puts all of us in the same time zone. This is a key contributor for the engineering team to have work-life balance as we are all based out of our HQ, so not working with teams spread across multiple time zones.
What projects do you work on, what is your day-to-day like?
I am responsible for ideation, design and creation of multiple features for Big Cloud Fabric. Right now, I am working on the integration of the Free Range Routing (previously Quagga) protocol suite with BCF. I am also working on enhancing the Analytics capabilities for BCF. On a day-to-day basis, I am involved in design discussions, reviewing and whiteboarding use-cases of various features, lots of coding and if needed, I help our QA team provide support for customer issues.
What is your favorite part of your job / team?
As we are still a small company and team, I am able to provide a ton of input into the direction of the product and design of it. I love that I constantly have opportunities to come up with innovative solutions and design features, which are really rewarding challenges to work through. The Big Switch engineering org is a really collaborative environment, everyone provides input in a respectful way, and helps one another work through challenges, there’s a lot of whiteboarding involved!
What do you think the biggest challenge(s) for a prospective employee stepping into a role as a member of Technical Staff might be?
The biggest challenge will be to keep pace with everything going on. Our products are constantly evolving to continue to disrupt the status quo in the industry and further push the boundaries of innovation. Being part of a small team, engineers wear multiple hats, from identifying market requirements to defining the product strategy all the way to the actual execution of product creation.
Who would do well at Big Switch? What sort of disposition and experience are ideal for the open roles within engineering?
Anyone who is innovative and likes to push boundaries in design and who is able to translate ideas into a real product that works and most important, is solving a real challenge for our customers. All of our products are designed with the goal to provide our customers ease of use and simplicity in an effort to help remove the challenges faced by network IT teams today. We want individuals who can work on many facets of the project and juggle multiple responsibilities at the same time with a focus on building a product of the highest quality, all while delivering on-time.
What does the next 12 months look like for Big Switch? What are you most excited about?
This is a very exciting time for the company. Our company is growing in size, revenue and our product portfolio is expanding. There is so much opportunity for anyone who joins this engineering organization to make their mark by contributing products replete of innovative design. Having previously worked at larger organizations, I see this as a once in a lifetime opportunity to really make an impact and to be directly responsible for the delivery of cutting edge technology that is being used by customers around the world.
For a candidate interviewing for an open role on the your team, what advice would you offer them?
Understand why we are solving a given problem, provide a few solutions and discuss the pros and cons of each option. Understand the differentiated technology we are developing and be able to articulate what interests you about Big Switch and how you think you will be able to add value to our team.
Anything else you’d tell a prospective candidate about the opportunities currently within Big Switch engineering or about the company?
While this is a fast-paced environment, there is a good work-life balance and culture. As a parent, I am able to juggle those responsibilities with work responsibilities without feeling like it’s one or the other and I’m stretched too thin. If you want to be part of a great engineering team, building cool products that will have a long-lasting impact on the shape of the networking industry, Big Switch is the place!