grzegorz chwastarz

Grzegorz Chwastarz

Cloud SRE, DevOps

I am an ordinary guy with more than 6 years of experience in IT industry. I live and work in Cracow, Poland.

I created this website mainly because during isolation, caused by coronavirus,  a few friends asked me to help them move into IT industry. I thought that, if I can explain things to them, I can do the same for other people. They reminded me how even “simple” things may be not that easy to understand for someone who has just started.

Besides that, I thought I could gain some knowledge for myself, in case I would like to improve something. I think anyone who has ever worked with a code, understands this perfectly. I often find myself searching for things I did a few months ago and trying to remember what it was all about.

Finally, I just want to tell you something about myself, if you are interested in getting to know me better (kudos if you went through all of this section 🙂 )

On this blog I am going to share:

1. Problems and solutions I found during development and maintaining AWS infrastructure.
2. My personal opinions about stuff like AWS certifications, courses, technologies etc.
3. Some of my thoughts about working in IT industry in general.

Below section describes how I started, what I have done and where I am now.

Thanks for reading and see you in a comments section!

My Journey

February 2, 2014
Junior L2 End User Support
It was my first experience in IT. I graduated from post-secondary school with an IT technician degree. I knew very little about programming and almost nothing about daily activities inside a big corporation.
I was nominated to take part in the Windows 7 migration project which was ideal for such a newbie. To make a long story short, it was all about installing a new operating system along with applications required for people to work. Later on I visited a few State Street bank offices in Dublin, London and Edinburgh to support users with their problems locally.
February 2, 2014

L2 End User Support
Once things became more familiar, I started to see some patterns of problems. That led me to my first experiments with programming. I created an application, which automated more then 60% of my work.
I spent more than a year on development and upgrading in response to constant environment changes. I must admit, that was the most fun time I have ever had in my whole IT career so far. The more time I spent  coding it, the less time I spent on repeatable tasks. At that moment I understood the soul of IT – automation.

Senior L2 End User Support
Sharing knowledge within a team, automating my work and providing extraordinary quality of support gave me a unique opportunity to visit the USA. I was asked to take part in knowledge transfer, one of the most important applications in the whole State Street from Boston to Wroclaw.
I had only one month to learn as much as possible and use that knowledge after coming back, to train new employees in Poland. Whole project took around 8 months and went really well.
It was especially important that I could use my automation mindset and skills to make things easier to explain and maintain during the transfer.
9 months break…
I was so fascinated by programming and automation, that I made the decision to do it full time. I quit my job and started learning a bit of everything like Java, GIT, Linux etc.
After a few months I was prepared for my first interviews. Sadly, It was really hard to find some openings for junior devs. At that moment there was a flood of people after bootcamps and others that wanted to get into IT industry. Even though I sent a lot of job applications I did not get many answers. Finally, when my savings were almost gone, I knew that I had to change my approach.

Application Support
When I started to answer job propositions that were more related to my previous experience (support of users) I was attracted to this job. The main reason for this was the possibility of using my skills. I was going to become a programmer one day. It quickly turned out that the application release was delayed and I had a lot of free time.
I am not a person who likes to waste time, so I started to discover what I am going to support. Thanks to brilliant people I was working with and my deep interest in how things are connected together I have learned the basics of AWS, Terraform, Ansible and many more.

Junior DevOps Engineer
It was not a secret that DevOps was much more interesting to me than providing support. My supervisor realized that quickly and I was promoted to this position. Finally I had a chance to deal with the production environment and got the most important type of experience – practical one.

I faced many situations, when I had to prepare solutions without any knowledge of the subject. I must admit that I had a really hard time to fulfil all the requirements, but I survived.
At this stage infrastructure was greatly improved in comparison with what I found at the beginning. There was not much space for changes, so I decided that I have to move forward.

DevOps Engineer
Because I was the person responsible for infrastructure, I decided to maintain the contact with this great company. I remembered that they gave me a unique chance to spread my wings.
Our relation is that, from time to time I advise them as a consultant.

Cloud SRE
From the first contact with the Chaos people I knew, that we have something in common.
Passing a job interview was great fun and soon I was thrown into the deep waters of enterprise infrastructure. I had to face many challenges and was exposed to different kinds of issues on a big scale, but as always – I nailed it.
As this is my current position, the story still goes on.

AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
I was surrounded by true professionals, they encouraged me to get some confirmation of my skills. I took advice and started with this one as its scope covers usage of the most common AWS components. I will surely describe my preparation process on this website in the future.
To make a long story short – it was worth it. I learned a lot and passed it with a score of 92%. You can check my badge here.
AWS Certified SysOps Administrator – Associate
I was so excited after my first certification that I could not just stop learning more about AWS. 2 months after earning Certified Solutions Architect I challenged myself with Certified SysOps Administrator and I passed it. I must admit that it was a much harder exam, more detailed, and therefore I am much more proud of it.
Thanks to this I gained another big piece of knowledge that I can use to solve daily AWS challenges.
AWS Certified DevOps Engineer – Professional
One year after getting my first certification I was able to prove my knowledge about AWS for the third time. Whole process of preparation and my final thoughts about it are described here.