Tell us, who is Wim?
Let’s keep it short and simple. I am Wim Schepkens, 43 years old, from and living in Diest. What do I do at 45° Degrees? I’m a Cloud Solution Architect, currently working for Umicore. At Umicore I primarily focus on Azure, overseeing migrations and new things they’re putting in place, as well as sketching them out. Aside from doing hands-on work, I also assist other engineers along the road. When there are more technical questions, I’m the point of contact.
Let’s dig a little deeper. A Cloud Solution Architect does …
When it comes to explaining my job, at a bar or something, I normally just answer, ‘I work in the Cloud.’ (laughs) But, let’s give it a go. I actually play around with some sort of virtual datacenter on Microsoft hardware. For instance, I configure servers in a similar way as they are configured in a normal datacenter, better known as IaaS or Infrastructure as a Service. Cloud providers, like Microsoft, also provide services where they take care of all the management of virtual hardware and we, as Cloud Architects, can focus on the use of the service itself. For example, I also configure databases as cloud databases instead of a database in a virtual machine, or in other words: Platform as a Service. Additionally you have identity providers like Azure Active Directory, management structures, security controls, policies, etc. All of which you need to integrate and work with.
“Cloud providers, like Microsoft, also provide services where they take care of all the management of virtual hardware and we, as Cloud Architects, can focus on the use of the service itself”.Wim Schepkens, Cloud Solutions Architect
A Cloud Solution Architect is a mix of what I just described, with the added responsibility of designing and putting it all together in an enterprise context. Within a corporate context there are several requirements for security, firewalls, networking, and so on.
Essentially, I am a technical connection for the team as well as a communication link between the team and the various stakeholders. You must be able to comprehend business needs, advise and create a solution, implement it and involve other teams to do so, and explain the solution to stakeholders.
What drew you to working at 45° degrees?
At that time, 45° Degrees just started out and they were looking for Cloud Architects. I was already heading in the direction of becoming a Cloud Architect, but at my previous job my career path was not quite heading that way. There I started as a .net developer, what they later started calling a full-stack developer, and slowly grew more into the architecture of software development.
My previous employer was one of the larger consulting companies worldwide. However, in a large corporation, you rapidly become a minor number. I missed being in a dynamic workplace. 45° Degrees features a smaller, more dynamic staff of roughly 40 members. Furthermore, I had long considered shifting to an independent position. Following an interview with Diederik, I jumped right into the 45° Degrees tale.
You work with a number of experts of a fair level, from whom not only a junior profile, but also a senior profile like mine, can learn.Wim Schepkens, Cloud Solution Architect
At 45° Degrees, we now meet with the entire team on a regular basis to go over the status of affairs, accompanied by a much-needed slice of pizza. (laughs) We also went to Brasschaat to play field hockey together last year, which was a lot of fun. The team environment is very friendly and open. Because our sense of humor is on the same wavelength, we occasionally nag each other. Finally, there is always space for improvement and self-growth. You work with a number of experts of a fair level, from whom not only a junior profile, but also a senior profile like mine, can learn. You’re always learning and getting better because of the people you work with. They’re not the simplest projects, but right there, is where you learn things.
When you work in the Cloud, you will keep on learning.