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In the Spotlight 8: benny Vasquez

“My name is benny, my goal is empowerment, and I live for the moment when something previously confusing becomes understood.”

Name: benny Vasquez
Job: Chief @ encylia.com, Technical Analyst II @ cPanel
Favorite website, app or gadget: Periscope and Meerkat are my current app obsessions. They take twitter’s on-demand approach to content-delivery to a whole new level. I’m in love with the idea that with apps like these we make the world just a little bit smaller.   As far as Gadgets? I bought my husband a Raspberry Pi for valentine’s day, which he promptly turned into an old-school emulator. I think we’ve gotten more use out of that than our new XBoxOne. Playing all the old games is such a blast. We were probably most excited for Zelda, Street Fighter, and Super Mario Brothers.
Twitter: @bennyvasquez
Site: bennyvasquez.com

What inspired you to pursue a career in IT?
It really just kind of happened. My dad was the Assistant Technology Director at a small school district during my 8th-10th grade school years, and I spent my summers helping him moving the computer labs around. That meant a lot of running cables, plugging things in to the right ports, and imaging computers. It took a good 5 years of various service industry jobs after for me to get back into computers.

In 2005 I started working for a friend of a friend, which lead to me doing on-site computer/cabling work around Mid-Michigan. That got me in the door of a relatively small webhosting company. I hired in before they were departmentalized and got to build the Monitoring team from the ground up. That experience really helped to prepare me for starting encylia. The marriage of good management and solid technology has always interested me, but running my own company has been the most rewarding thing so far.

What does your working day look like?
Each day is a bit different, but this is the general template going in to the Michigan spring:

  1. Breakfast (always), and I get in a workout if I can.
  2. Clock in at cPanel, and do tech support/bug hunting/documentation for 8 hours.
  3. Take a walk with my adorable pitbull for a good 45 minute break.
  4. Take care of whatever to-do list has accrued throughout the day for encylia. This could be something as simple as running a virus scan on a client’s desktop, or as complex as a website migration.
  5. Watch an episode of $CurrentObsession (Right now: House of Cards).
  6. Sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

What is the coolest project you have worked on and why?
I love every industry-centric site I’ve done. Every site I build that isn’t e-commerce, and actually expands my knowledge of a different industry while I’m working on it makes me all giddy. I’ve done work for accountants, lawyers, benefit managers, construction companies… all kinds of stuff.

The most recent one was a resume site for an educator who is a principal and is looking for a superintendent position. Learning about all the things he’d done and especially about his focuses as an educator was fascinating to me.

Do you have a hero, or someone who inspires you?
Lots of them, but a lot of my inspiration comes from the little notes my husband and I leave for each other, reminding us how awesome, capable, and loved we are. I cannot overstate the benefit of having a partner in your corner, even if you don’t work together.

Why do you love working in  IT/Tech?
It’s so difficult to get bored, and there’s always a new facet of the industry to look at. If you’re a programmer building software, look at how to build a server or build a website for your newest interest. If you’re a webdev, look at how the kernel works or how to build a new phone app. Sure, it’s possible to find a rut and get stuck in it, but that takes a whole lot of focus and blinders.

Do you have a degree in IT? If so, what taught you the most? And if not, did you miss some important knowledge?
The only computer related classes I took were in high school, and were typing and video editing. I feel like I missed a whole lot of the very deep understanding about how computers work by not taking any college courses on it, but those are the kinds of things that I have been able to pick up slowly along the way.

What would be your advice to everyone who is interested in a career in tech? (or learning to code?)
Dive in head first. If you want to get into system administration, try to build your own environment. If you want to get into Linux the quickest way to throw yourself in the deep end is to install Linux on your daily use computer and learn how to use/troubleshoot/expand it. If you want to get into Windows administration, try to get a couple of computers and learn about Active Directory. If you want to learn to code, build something. Your first time out your code will suck, but you have to start making mistakes if you’re ever going to learn anything.

Extra question from Sarah:  If you weren’t in your current career, what would you be doing instead?
Anthropology, for sure. I love looking at how people interact with themselves, each other, and their surroundings. It is fascinating to me.

Thank you so much benny! Do you also know someone who really deserves a place in the spotlight? Get in touch!