From Chile to Dublin, multilingual Miguel shares his transatlantic Groupon journey. Find out why he feels joining Groupon was one of the best decisions of his life.
What was your first role here? How did you get to where you are now?
When I first started at Groupon, I was an SOC Engineer in Santiago de Chile where I supported the Needish platform. The short answer to how I’ve moved around is perseverance and passion. The long one is that I love technology and open source, I love what I do, and like to learn and challenge myself constantly. Since I have joined, Groupon my main focus has been Python and it’s going pretty well so far.
Tell us about your job! What do you do exactly? What do you love about it?
Our team is responsible for the reliability of production. We are the first point of contact when there is a production issue. We have a 24/7 team spread across the globe and we are always available to help. We have several monitoring tools which allow us to quickly identify problems that can lead to or cause outages, which ultimately affect the business. We are the main point of contact for anyone who needs assistance or has questions related to operations in engineering. We are also responsible to engage the correct teams to troubleshoot any kind of production issues.
What I like about my role is that we get to have a good understanding of how each one of the parts that constitute the site is connected and how they work together as a whole. I also love the schedules, they are on the mornings and nights and sometimes weekends, which give me a certain amount of flexibility that I wouldn’t have on a normal job.
What’s your favorite Groupon memory?
My first SOC Summit in Berlin when I finally met the teammates with whom I had been working for about a year and a half remotely. Best summit ever!
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve worked on?
The most challenging part of my job is production outages; you can not predict them and they are never the same. We always need to be super focused and react almost immediately to them. Every minute counts because every minute we lose the company loses. I am also the owner of a chatbot which helps the SOC and some other teams to execute quick chat commands, which make our lives easier.
What was your first impression of Groupon?
The first day at the office I asked myself: why is everything green here? I was very nervous because it wasn’t just a new job but also was a new country for me. I was wondering all the time if I really made the right choice because I left a 9-year job behind and moved to a new country, but after meeting some of the people, I felt immediately welcomed, comfortable and at home. Three years later, I can say for sure that this was one of the best decisions I have made in my life.
What do your parents think you do?
My mother thinks that I travel the world fixing the “cloud” through that black screen I have always open. My father says that I am a modern age technology nomad.
Where can we find you outside work?
If I am not traveling somewhere, I am in the kitchen cooking something. I also like boxing and play squash, and sometimes I roller skate.
Ready to build awesome things?
How does your work connect to Groupon’s mission of building the daily habit in local commerce?
We are responsible for site reliability. This means (among other things) that a customer has to have a good experience when surfing and buying from Groupon at any given time. If the site is up and working properly, customers are happy and happy customers are the best ones to have. They will refer us to their friends and also keep buying more deals, which at the end translates in trust for our brand.
Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
I am an animal lover. When I was 12 years old I had a cow as a pet named Fortune. I visited her every day in the field, and every time I came to see her, she would come running from the top of the mountain just to say hi. I currently have two cats who have been accompanying me for about eight years now. They are originally Argentinian, but also lived with me in Chile and crossed the Atlantic to come to Dublin. I was born in Ecuador and am fluent in four different languages: Spanish, English, German, and Russian.
What’s unique about Groupon’s Engineering culture?
Here I have learned what it truly means to be a global company and have a distributed team in different parts of the world. Production is not lost and because it’s so diverse, you get to enjoy so different skills and mindsets.
What’s been surprising about working here or what do you think external folks would be surprised to learn about Groupon Engineering?
You get to say what you think, your opinion always has value, and you have the power to make changes.
Where were you before joining Groupon? What brought you here?
I was a Unix System Administrator at IBM. I was on that company for nine years and needed to see what else was out there. Not a bit disappointed that I left and joined Groupon.
Have you made any contributions to the tech community?
I have made small contributions to an open source bot.
Quotes: “Adds support for jinja custom_filters in the @rendered_template decorator, thanks to chillipeper.” “Improvement: V2 API calls for multiple rooms now properly uses max-results and doesn’t hang, thanks to chillipeper.”
Vim or emacs? why?
VIM, VIM, VIM. I love to work on the shell, and I even program in vim. The community support is awesome, and this gives a huge opportunity to see at other peoples code. I am fascinated by the level of customization one can achieve when knowing how to properly use vim and vimscript, which at the end directly impacts to your productivity.
Name your favorite programming language.
Tabs or spaces?
Don’t care as long as they don’t mix.