Juan Vazquez is a senior technical solution architect at Mutual of Omaha. He works with businesses to better understand their needs from a technical standpoint, and helps those businesses thrive using technology.
With a strong background in software engineering, Vazquez understands the concerns that go into building software. He is able to take those concerns and communicate them effectively to businesses in need of new technology, or to keep others as agile as possible.
This week, we sat down with Vazquez to talk about his current position at Mutual of Omaha.
AIM: What is the biggest misunderstanding about what you do?
JV: A lot of people think that since I work in technology, or that my title is architect, that [my job] is all about technology. My job is more about people than technology. Technology is the easy part. People are much different. There is no book that you can go to or something on the internet that says how to work with an individual person.
AIM: What skill are you most proud of?
JV: I like to think I understand where people are coming from. If they are stressed, I try to understand why that is, and not add to it. I really try to work with people. Learning a person’s communication style and adapting to it, and still get things moving, is an important skill I rely on quite a bit.
AIM: What would you say motivates you?
JV: Helping people, I have always had a customer service role. Knowing that I get to make a difference in someone’s life is a motivating factor for me.
AIM: What did you want to be in high school?
JV: A number of things… I wanted to work at NASA. I always thought that would be cool. I really wanted to be a gaming programmer and work at Nintendo at one point. Or maybe an inventor of some kind, I always wanted to be an inventor, but I get to do that every day now.
AIM: How do you reward yourself?
JV: I allow myself to dream, and do hobby projects. Anytime I get to learn a new technology for fun it’s rewarding.
AIM: Do you have any side passion projects?
JV: I have a number of them, projects as well as organizations that I support. I help with a number of other folks co-run a Java Users group. That gives me energy, and it is a fun group of technologists that I just absolutely have a great time with.
AIM: What is the best perk of your job?
JV: I have been at places where you can feel like you are the smartest person in the room. To me the best perk of this job is knowing that I am not that person. I may be in a certain area, but I get to collaborate with brilliant people trying to solve non-trivial problems.
AIM: If someone wants to do what you do, how should they get started?
JV: If they don’t have a background in technology, I would say for starters find a group that is in an area of their interest. We have got a lot of them in town and they don’t cost anything. You can join up and follow their news, whether it is through an email or a Slack channel. Network from there and you will find your way along that path.
Are you interested in finding a job like Juan’s? Check out current job openings at Mutual of Omaha here.
Brilliant People of Omaha: A series of discovery.
Welcome to Brilliant People of Omaha. In this series we will sit down with local brilliant individuals who love their jobs, have excellent career advice and are ready to share their story about how they came into their current position.
We will talk to a variety of people in this series including: developers, designers, managers, CEOs, interns, etc. Everyone has a story, and we are here to uncover it and see what we can learn from the brilliant people around us.
Do you have someone you’d like to nominate as a brilliant person of Omaha? Drop Melanie Lucks a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you.