In this week’s staff interview we speak with Andre Faca, a veritable Linux expert from Portugal, who is currently a Senior Support Manager with Site5.
Where are you from?
I was born in Barreiro, Portugal and this is usually the place I refer to when I’m asked where I’m from. I did however move quite a few times before becoming an adult and returning back to my origins, so I still have strong ties to other countries/cities. Belgium could be an example, where I still retain quite a few friends and family members.
Where do you currently live?
I live in a small town in the outskirts of Moita, Portugal.
What’s your position with Site5 and how have you found it so far?
My official title is Senior Support Manager and my primary role is to manage one of our technical support teams on a daily basis.
This means mentoring and guiding technicians, being ready to resolve complex issues as they arise along with other very common management responsibilities.
I can honestly say that I do love what I do. It’s definitely been a challenging position as it does require great communication, leadership and technical skills to be up to task; but it’s very rewarding because you’ll end up invariably expanding your technical skillset and also developing your social skills much further than you would on a 100% technical job.
Tell us how your typical day goes!
My day starts at around 6:15AM (localtime). I normally get up and I go directly to the kitchen to get my 2 espresso shots. Once my caffeine habit is taken care of, I turn on my workstation and log into the various intra/extranet sites that I need on a daily basis.
I then start my actual workday by quick-scanning my mailbox to check for & reply to anything important that requires my attention or intervention.
Usually when I’m done with the mailbox, I get an instant message from the manager that is going to pass on the department to me, in order to discuss ongoing events; as well as anything interesting that occurred during the night.
Then, it’s time to assign tasks and queues to everyone on my shift in order to ensure that everything is balanced within the department (this includes phone support, live chat, helpdesk and migrations).
Once that part is complete, I go through the usual administrative work and attend any meetings that I might have scheduled for the day (quite a few per week!).
By 2:30PM (localtime), it’s time to start to “pack my things” just like you would at any physical office.
For me that would be to submit my daily report, follow up on any dicussions going on in our internal network that require my attention and a last check on everything/everyone under my supervision.
I can then clock-out and enjoy the rest of the day!
How do you approach your job?
I’ve always approached my career as the number one priority; as I don’t think I could be happy in the real sense of the word without being (at least somewhat) successful professionally.
This hasn’t changed and I could very well be considered a “workaholic” by some as I do have a difficult time to “disconnect” at times.
I usually keep a close eye on how everything is going on my department (even if I’m off shift) and checking my work email is one of the last things I do before putting the phone down and falling asleep.
How did you come to be a Senior Support Manager?
That’s quite a long story but I’ll try to shorten it to a few lines.
It all started about 12 or 13 years ago, when a friend of mine asked me to help him out on his support operations in exchange for “free everything.”
He told me the company was really small and I’d respond to about 3 to 5 tickets per day if that much (I’d just be there to cover for my friend when he went to sleep).
Even though I had absolutely no experience in Linux at the time, I was pretty experienced in web development and also knew the control panel very well; so I decided to take the offer and help him out.
From there I started to learn more and more about the systems and how everything worked. It didn’t take long before I was running my own self-managed servers and selling web hosting as a complementary service to my web development services.
I was later hired by a US based company to help them to monitor their servers/network along with providing some technical support to their clients as well.
With that, I had “officially” become a full time System Administrator, while still continuing to do some freelance web development work on the side every now and then.
Do you have any spare time to work on your own projects?
Definitely. One of my personal projects is to simplify the initial installation as well as the auto-installation & configuration of per-designated applications for Fedora and CentOS/RedHat Enterprise Linux.
What’s your most satisfying experience at work?
Hard to choose, I could number a few — but one of the best feelings in the world is accomplishment. That great feeling when you “save the day” for someone (or much more than that) .
How do you like working remotely?
I am probably not the best person to respond to this, as I’ve always worked remotely (and probably always will) so I’ll always advocate for it. 🙂
Advice for people aspiring to your role?
Learn. Knowledge is power, but also an eternal journey. Stay humble and try to evolve constantly. If you can’t remember the last thing you’ve learned, it’s time to start learning something new.
Any trends at the moment worth following?
The rise of “smart” devices and artificial intelligence is certainly something to keep an eye on as it’s growing exponentially — and I’m sure we haven’t seen anything yet 🙂
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