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Life @ 45°

Life @ 45 Degrees: Sean Van Loon

Hi Sean, tell us a little about yourself.

I’m an Associate Cloud Architect at the Club of 45 Degrees, which actually is a step to becoming a Cloud or Business Architect. Currently I’m working from a more technological point of view, whereas I hope to grow into a more strategic one to support clients from a helicopter view instead of an operational one. Right now, I look into optimizing a journey from ‘on premise’ to ’Cloud’ solutions. And that’s exactly what I like: talking to clients, discovering their requirements and offering them the best answers from a bigger perspective.

How did you hear from 45 Degrees?

A recruiter reached out to me. Normally I don’t respond to headhunters or bodyshoppers, since you’re easily solicited in IT. But this one’s approach was different, so I decided to listen to what she had to say about 45 Degrees: who are they? What do they stand for? What do they do? And after the initial contact, I quite quickly had a conversation with Diederik and Eline, at which point Diederik’s enthusiasm convinced me to go for it. He shared his vision, which really gave me confidence in what they do. Diederik brilliantly knows how to estimate your qualities and talents and how they’re applicable to what he wants to achieve with 45 Degrees. That way you know you’re going to shine in the organization. 

What did you immediately notice about 45 Degrees?

Well, I hadn’t heard of them before, but on the one hand I was directly triggered by their workflows and approach: the people they have aboard are different from other companies with a comparable core business to 45 Degrees. That was definitely cogent. But, there’s something about the enthusiasm they approach a client with as well. I saw a number of people during my application process and really everyone I talked to knows his or her business. In other companies or bigger companies, you regularly have the impression that some of the coworkers don’t know what they’re doing, whereas 45 Degrees excels in professionalism and expertise. 

However, this doesn’t mean that they’re a rigid or formal company. On the contrary, everyone has an enormous sense of grant about them. They really want to help you succeed and use their knowledge to support you in doing so. And beside the knowledge and expertise, I noticed everyones joking aside to everyone, which is a fun culture to be working in and an easy one to get started out with. 

What are your previous experiences?

I started out as a Network Security Engineer, so I focused on endpoints on laptops or desktops and firewalls. And I think I did that for about 8 years, in which I started with SMB customers before eventually moving on to the fortune 500 clients, meaning you’re deployed in projects that take up several months instead of 2 to 3 days.

That sounds impressive, so why did you switch?

I noticed the rise of Cloud computing, meaning there originated a need for network security in Cloud environments. So I was offered the opportunity to help out in a project in which we had to build a firewall into the Cloud. From then I started to focus more on Cloud cases, built experience, look into devops, infrastructure as code, etc., … up to the point I wanted to shift completely to the Cloud. I noticed I started to get worn-out with regard to firewalls and I stopped learning. Since I love challenge and continuous learning, I reckoned the Cloud as an entirely new front to discover. And then it was just a matter of time to end up at a company with such immense Cloud experience as 45 Degrees.

How are you enjoying life at 45 Degrees so far?

Really well, since everyone is so kind, both at 45 Degrees and Bluu (the cluster which 45 Degrees is part of). We have shared offices, so you automatically get to know a lot of people from other Cronos companies as well and they take you in as if you were their direct colleague. So the atmosphere is really welcoming. Currently I’ve been offered the chance to study a lot, so I’ve really built on  my number of certifications, but since two weeks I’ve enrolled in a project with two other 45 colleagues.

What are your ambitions?

I really want to focus on Cloud Architecture, which one is still unknown. My attitude towards technology is rather agnostic and I mostly want to support clients depending on their needs instead of based on my skills. I’ve done some job coaching as well in the past which pointed out I have a strategic, analytical and solution-oriented mind, set out to help people. And I think these elements are a perfect match with what 45 Degrees offer and what I’ll be able to achieve here.

Does 45 Degrees support you in these goals?

I already mentioned my ambition in the first conversation I had here and Diederik’s response to that was to make me grow professionally as fast as possible. Right now, I’m building practical and technological experience as an Associate Cloud Architect. As soon as I’m comfortable enough in this aspect of Cloud Architecture, we start looking at the next steps. I have a weekly call with Diederik to monitor my progress as well. 

What do you notice about working at 45 Degrees?

Diederik’s strategic approach is very smart. He’s really good at estimating what a client needs without beating around the bush. He makes a fair and pragmatic analysis before looking at whether 45 Degrees might come in handy for a client. He’s not about ‘sales for sales’, but rather really service oriented. Besides that, he’s really curious about new technologies or approaches as well. Take their FinOps offering for instance, I think they’re one of the first in Belgium to be starting out with it. Diederik really supports those innovative perspectives, making him a kind of visionair.

In that respect, I consider myself as a strategic signpost for clients. I talk to people, get to know their needs and offer them the right solutions to fill them.

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