Life is like LEGO. Built from many parts, which can fall apart from time to time, but can also be a base of solid constructions that last for years. In the whole process of building with LEGO, imagination and creativity are key, and the sky is the limit. You can do “something from nothing”. And just like in life 😉, if you build with others, you improve teamwork, communication, and social skills.
Your self-confidence is growing too, as, let’s be honest, after facing some challenges and thanks to your patience and perseverance, you’re able to solve various problems and create a new thing.
In a way, building extensions is like building with LEGO. You have to find a way to build tailored solutions, so there is no beaten path on how to do it. And it can be satisfying all the same. Victor Balbuena talks from experience, confirming that something challenging can be engaging and exciting at the same time.
Extensions and LEGO are not the only things that @victor_balbuena likes. Read the article and see what else has to show😉.
Can you share some details about your past? What is your story, how did it happen that you decided to work in the IT / APM area, and how did you become a Dynatracer?
As cliché as this may sound, since I was a child, my main hobby has always been video games. I’ve spent most of my childhood attached to a screen, either a console or a computer, which ignited my interest in everything computer and programming related. I wanted to learn how these pieces of art and entertainment were made and how I could contribute to this fantastic world. Some of you might remember one of my favorite games of all time, Warcraft III, which had a map editor implemented. This map editor allowed you to create basically wholly new games, like, for example, how DotA was born as a custom map for Warcraft III. This map editor was basically a very simplified framework to work with the game engine, which allowed you to do unthinkable things. Getting into it very early in my childhood shaped my brain into a very programmatic way of thinking. From there, I moved on to study computer science at university, and even though I was not into video games, I started my job career as a software engineer at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research, where the large Hadron collider is) in Switzerland. After a year, I was contacted by Dynatrace to join their PDP (Professional Development Program), where they pick a young talent to train and teach them all about the consultant job. As much as I enjoyed my job at CERN, the social aspect of being a consultant and getting directly in touch with customers seemed like something I could really enjoy – and I was right! Since then, and after 4 years in Dynatrace, I now work as an Extensions Architect for the extensions team in Dynatrace.
Can you tell us a little bit about your job? What interesting things you’re working on that you can share?
While I was in PDP in Detroit back in 2019 before COVID happened, I was already hearing people talk about the extensions team in Dynatrace and how stimulating it is to work in such a team, getting completely new challenges every day. Ever since it has been my goal to join the extensions team, and after 3 years as a consultant, I managed to do it just a year ago. And I can say, it has been nothing but great. We get to develop software as extensions for customers, with very specific and challenging scenarios, as we're supposed to implement features that break the limits of the Dynatrace product that, as we all know, is already very complete. This kind of job is very fulfilling and complete, as we help every aspect of the business here, from helping out during a POC solving edge cases that help us close deals, to developing any type of tool to help both customers and Dynatrace employees do their job, without forgetting the usual extension just to fulfill a customer’s monitoring need.
What makes you excited about being a part of the Dynatrace?
What doesn’t make me excited? Dynatrace, from an employee’s point of view, is a place where everything you say matters and is heard. Any ideas you bring up will be discussed, and any achievements, as small as they might be, will be celebrated. We matter, and it is seen in great things such as our Wellness Days. On a day-to-day basis, I’m always challenged, and there’s always something new to learn and apply to your job. I love personal interactions, both with my colleagues and the customers, and how that helps us feel closer to each other in a world that is getting more digital by the day.
How is the Community helping you in your job? Why do you think it’s worth being a part of the Dynatrace Community? What best advice can you give someone who just started using Community?
Either as an employee or as a Dynatrace user, we're usually stuck operating Dynatrace in a way that is specific to either our job or our monitoring environment and rarely need to leave that pre-established zone.
The Community also expands your horizons on what you can achieve with the Dynatrace platform. It really helps me find answers to all the questions I have, and I could not recommend it enough. For any beginners out there, if there’s something you don’t understand or don’t know how to do, chances are, it has been asked before in the Community.
Tell us something about you that most people don’t know. What is your most immense joy or passion in life?
Most people know this, but I love video games in all their forms. I enjoy spending my free time playing single-player games, where I can immerse myself in the world of the game that I’m playing. I truly believe video games can be very special and achieve a level of greatness that other pieces of media do not, with engaging and heartfelt stories, relatable character growth, and incredible music, and without forgetting how entertaining it is to play them. But I also enjoy multiplayer games, I like the competitive and social aspects of them and how every single game can feel like a competition against actual people and a bonding experience with my friends.
That’s why I’m also an avid eSports fan and watcher, I have even watched competitions for games I’ve never played just because of how engaging the whole thing is to me. The games I follow the most are League of Legends, Overwatch, Counter Strike, and Valorant, mainly following the Fnatic eSports organization.
I’ve attended multiple eSports events in person, but I’ve still to watch the League of Legends World Championship final, so hopefully I can tick this one off my bucket list next year since the championship is held in Europe.
Apart from video games, I also enjoy any hobby that feels like “building”, like LEGO and models. Putting little things that don't make any sense on their own together to build something bigger and complete is fascinating on its own, not to mention how cool the models look afterward, especially if you’ve built them yourself. I especially love building them with my fiancée, it is an excellent activity for bonding!
What’s one thing on your bucket list? Your dream?
When I was younger, I really enjoyed Hard Rock and Metal. With time, I’ve also learned to enjoy many other types of music, but one that has always stayed close to my heart was Power Metal, keeping bands such as Sonata Arctica very close to me. One thing that really stands out for power metal is the drums, their drummers are incredibly talented and extremely fast-paced. I was always amazed by them. That’s one of the many reasons why I would like to learn how to play the drums. This has been a dream of mine forever, not only since I listen to metal, but the only way I got close to it is through Guitar Hero. It is an expensive, noisy, and bulky hobby, so it’s not easy to get into, but it’s a dream, right
Here’s one of my favorite Sonata Arctica songs, which gives an idea of how fast-paced power metal is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yE8Lrxgh9kc
Victor, it’s a pure pleasure to see that your passion developed in some way into your job, as well as that your job has become your next passion. 😊 Keep going and send us some pictures or recordings of you playing drums 😉.