In this edition of “Inside Globant Studios” we talk with Tech Directors Alejandro Stornelli and Santiago Hernandez.
Tell us about yourselves: your passions, hobbies, Globant team. How long have you been part of the Globant’s team?
Santiago: I’m 31 years old and it’s been six years since I started working at Globant. I live with my wife and my daughter who is 1 year old. They are the people that are always there supporting me, in my career and also in my life. I’m passionate about technology. I love trying every breakthrough and play with whichever gadget I find. Software is also one of my passions. At Globant I found a place where I can do what I love. I am always working with the most relevant companies in the industry and learning new things all the time.
Alejandro: I live in Tandil, I’m 39 years old and I’m married to Belén, another glober, for 12 years ago. We have two children: Nina, who is 5 years old and Felipe, who is 1 year old. I have been at Globant for more than eight years. After graduation, I worked in Buenos Aires since that was where I had attractive job offers. I always wanted to live in a friendlier place, similar to the place where I was born and where I went to school.Globant gave me the opportunity to work in a challenging environment and career development opportunities while being in a comfortable place. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and being in touch with nature. I love traveling, good movies and books, and playing sports. I also like to stay current with the new technologies and how those developments will have a positive impact in people’s lives.
How was your career path at Globant? What have you changed along the years to adapt yourselves to new roles and projects?
Santiago: I started working at Globant for a project where I did manual testing. As I’m always looking for new things, I started automating every testing case that I had to run everyday, so then I had time to break down the app and do other things. Six months later, I had the opportunity to become a Technical Leader on a new project. All of a sudden, I watched myself on a plane heading to Chicago with my boss. I was really nervous and motivated because I had never been out of the country before. When we started, we led four people and, by the end, we led more than thirty people in a project that grew a lot and gave me a good bit of training in different fields, such as technical, management and language fields.
Motivated by change and always searching for new things, I traveled to Scotland to work three months in a new project at a bank. It was a great experience where I also made new friends. When I came back, my focus changed to my actual role as Tech Director in the Studio, where I found great opportunities like working for awesome accounts. To do this, I had to learn a lot from change. The good thing is that I have always had great mentors and advocates that always knew how to guide and give advice.
Alejandro: I studied engineering because I liked the idea of adding value and working on something that had to do with an intellectual challenge and I feel that at Globant, I have the possibility of doing both things. I started working in Katari, a framework (fwk) for the development of apps that Globant was currently using. I, then participated on some projects that JAVA developed. At some point, I had the opportunity to start working on automatized testing, something that was not well-known back then. With the help of some guys that had worked at Google with similar technologies, we built a fwk of testing automatization of Front-end that we used on some successful projects. After that, we had the opportunity to build a big team for automatizing tests on a US market online travel agency leader. Because of that opportunity , I focus on these types of projects.
I particularly enjoy working on the automation of tests because testing is a key process in software development, that is really time-consuming and done correctly could turn out to be a blocker for a development project with an adequate time to market, which is unacceptable nowadays.
By testing automation, I mean, building softwares capable of testing other softwares (executing app’s code on development of anyway, for example, simulating as robot a final user doing actions upon UI or invoking back-end services). Consistently and reliably, is an interesting challenge because it removes repetitive work in agile projects, which allows a better testing of products finding errors early and reducing uncertainty. Finally, it allows a better quality for the software we have created.
I have worked on almost 20 projects like these, with different clients and technologies and in teams of different sizes. I have always enjoyed building teams that contribute to the achievement of our client’s business goals starting at the appropriate usage of tools, technologies and processes. I have met excellent professionals on the way and have learnt a lot from them.
Which was the biggest challenge or most innovating project you had to face along with your teams?
Santiago: I love doing new things. Once we had to automate testing cases for an important satellite TV company, it was a really innovating project different to what we were doing everyday. It was great to see that working, being able to change the TV channel from my PC being miles away and work with image recognition so we could test the decoders’ software, it looked like we had come out of a movie. After that, I used what I had learnt to participate on a similar project but with videogame consoles, then I learnt a lot about Internet of Things and Gaming and it was really satisfactory to watch the results of making crazy stuff like sending a command to a console thousands of miles away, that moves between the game’s menus and validating a result.
Alejandro: I would say that the most challenging task I have had professionally speaking, was leading a team of more than 80 TAEs working across 20 teams for Orbitz, an ODC model. The app’s architecture that we had to test was really complex: a lot of software components individually deployable, various communication protocols, a lot of external applications and dependencies. To build the strategy for the different types of testing along that suite of applications was a great challenge: set processes, choose tools, implement frameworks and train groups’ members (between Globers and client’s members) and also check the progress. It was a lot of work and we learnt a lot along n the way. Through that project I realized the importance of trusting young professionals with a lot of potential: even though they did not have the ideal previous experience, they made the difference and led Globant to a really well position in front of a really demanding client.
In which ways of your daily work do you see Globant’s culture expressed?
Santiago: I see it in a lot of things, what’s first is flexibility. It’s a company that measures you about your results and know that you know how to make them happen. For example, if in a moment you are stuck and want to go and breath some fresh air, there’s nothing best than a ping-pong match to go back with your mind refreshed. Teamwork culture is also very common, we are a big company and we work with people all around the world. It’s incredible to see how well it works, the constant collaboration that we have altogether. All this is possible because of the company’s’ philosophy that promotes teamwork and employees’ excellence. Regarding the professional, I love that each one can do whatever he/she likes the most. Globant is a really horizontal company, so if you are curious you can help different areas and your same area, labs, or do different things around the site, etc.
Alejandro: Where I see Globant’s culture the most is in the quantity of opportunities that appear every time to have new challenges, learn something new and gain experience in some new technology. Being permanently in touch with business opportunities that appear with our clients (our actual clients and potential clients too). I see that the opportunity of designing solutions for problems really different in complexity and in volume is always right in front of you. In general, our clients have high expectations of us. They expect us to add value, not only doing what they ask us to do. Innovating is something that comes naturally in front of the different knowledge areas that we cover and the available tools are infinite. There’s almost no routine, but the constant sensation of what will come next is totally new and challenging. The goals we achieve are not only satisfying, they are a rewarding experience that you’ll gain which will empower you as a professional.
How has your job changed in the last few years after the technological changes that have taken place?
Santiago: The biggest change has been how software automation has gone from being something desirable to something that if you don’t have, you don’t grow. Ten years ago, when I started automatizing we were one of a few companies doing it. Today, everything is continuos-delivery-oriented and then automation is a key role. Mobile has also changed a lot, when I first started working on this there were no apps. Today everything is focused on mobile, apps, websites, etc. So I had to learn what I already knew but with mobile phones and tablets.
Alejandro: The multiplicity of tools that the market offers to design more and more customized solutions, have influenced how close we have to be to our clients, to understand exactly what they need and help them figure out how to make their way there. The possibilities are almost unlimited, there are no restrictions with technology. The conceptual manage of technology is becoming key for the field, understanding the tool as means and not as end is really important for not repeating what one already knows assuming that that works for every case. Sometimes is difficult for us, technicians, to achieve that business vision and abstraction. We are used to go quickly to the solution implementation. There is nothing more frustrating than to develop a technically really good app that does not help the client’s business goals because there was not a correct understanding of the client needs. Today we have to assume that if we design conceptually an appropriate solution to the challenge posed by the client, we’ll surely have tools or technologies that we would be able to use as support to implement that solution.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Alejandro: I would like to highlight the importance of being properly trained and to take the correct and safe steps in your career path. In the long run, it’s really important to have a solid base of knowledge and experience, even more important that great success in a specific project. Allowing oneself time to learn, consolidate, gradually take on greater responsibilities, testing and polishing errors is the basis of a sustainable career. Open yourself to new fields of knowledge. In this profession it is important to be prepared to train continuously. In my opinion, the most important recognition you can get is that of your peers; becoming a referent for those people who work side by side and spend most of their time doing something similar to what you do, they are the ones who know best the complexity of those tasks. Helping others to grow, improve and learn is an ideal way to outdo yourself and become a leader of tomorrow, as there is no better leader than the one that naturally emerges based on trust.