Cloud Native, Digital Identity, and Universal Control Plane with Andrew Baker

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Andrew Baker

Cloud Native, Digital Identity, and Universal Control Plane

When today’s guest thought about what the future held for him, culture fit was top of mind. It matters greatly that our value systems align with that of the companies we work for, especially in terms of not being domain-driven and learning from and collaborating with other teams.


In this episode, we interview Andrew Baker, Director of Engineering, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) at AWS, about the rigorous interview process, what attracted him to AWS, and why culture was a major criterion in his decision.


Join us as we discuss:

  • What happened at Barclays with algorithmic trading
  • The draw to be a part of an organization
  • Andrew’s views on cloud native and no code

Andrew Baker, Director of Engineering, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), at AWS.

Your attitude toward lifelong learning is probably more critical than the accrued knowledge with which you enter a new organization.


Do you agree?


Amazon does.


Andrew Baker discovered a culture of learning during his own journey to becoming the Director of Engineering, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), at AWS.


Andrew’s brilliance struck early on — during his AS level in Statistics, in fact, when he got the best score in his county.


It’s no surprise, then, that he has come this far, and has some brilliant advice for you, which he shares candidly on the latest episode of The Agile CTO:


✔️ Embrace the creative freedom that comes with maths.


✔️ Be willing to apply yourself in constantly improving existing solutions, as well as in developing new ones.


✔️ Work alongside customers and fellow teammates. Eradicate the ‘us vs them’ mentality.


✔️ There’s a time and place to use low- and no-code. It’s not all the time and it’s definitely not every place.

Key Insights

The draw to be part of an organisation

Technologies come and go. What you specialize in today may be obsolete by a not-so-distant tomorrow. For Andrew, the transition away from a bubble and niche-specific focus was important. He found culture to be of utmost importance, and the ability to enter a team and make a difference where it’s needed rather than being tied down to one particular area. His key advice, here, is for CTOs to think about the human aspect of change and change management. Move away from the ‘us versus them’ model when implementing change, whether that’s a company-wide system or a new feature. If everyone experiences progress together, as a unit, it creates an inherent strength and culture within the organisation.

Andrew’s views on cloud-native and no-code

At all times, the goal is to ensure that developers don’t need to switch between different complex environments to execute work. Anything that stands in the way of speed is problematic. Another key tip from Andrew: developers shouldn’t create waste for others to deal with. No-code Andrew doesn’t pull his punches here when he says that he’s not a fan. At best, he’s reserved. No- and low-code have specific contexts and applications to be considered successful. ETL is a good example where Andrew has seen such automation add immense value to an operation.

Parting advice from Andrew

✔️ Every engineer is going to want their own Kubernetes cluster. Don’t do that. Consider a cloud provider instead. ✔️ If you’re running on-premise, consider a hypervisor. ✔️ Look for opportunities to reuse things and apply a degree of standardization within your business.

Episode Highlights

  • “Find a company where the culture matches your value system and how you would like to work. I would say that’s probably the most important thing.”
  • “From a cloud perspective, the thing that's really interesting to me right now is digital identity and a universal control plane.”
  • “My view is that you work with the customer, always with the customer. Don't sit off on a side and try to build something. I'm not a fan of that at all.”

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