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  • Writer's pictureThiago Assuncao de Faria

Laura Caicedo: Woman in Cloud joining The Lovelace Series

Welcoming Laura Caicedo to the Lovelace Series! And with a fantastic announcement/twist:

This is not just a guest interview... Laura will be joining the Lovelace Series as a co-founder and will help take it to the next level! Keep tuned for more announcements!
Laura Caicedo smiling with the Eiffel Tower in the background.
Laura Caicedo

Laura's expertise in AWS Solutions Architecture and her innovative spirit are set to elevate the Lovelace Series to new heights... her leadership and technical skills, in addition to her incredible D&I work (highlighted by co-founding AWS Cloud Women), made me so proud to welcome her into this Lovelace effort!


Laura's journey in tech began with a degree in electronics engineering in Colombia, followed by a role at Cisco working on real datacenters, with real routers and real switches! (Sorry for my excitement. It has been too long in the cloud). Her curiosity about the cloud led her to AWS, where she has flourished for nearly seven years, evolving through various roles and industries.


And that is Laura in a nutshell: humble curiosity! Her move from data center infrastructure to cloud solutions exemplifies a career driven by a desire to explore and master emerging technologies. As she joins the Lovelace Series, Laura brings a wealth of experience and fresh ideas that promise to enrich the platform and inspire its audience.

 

Q1) Can you share a bit about your background and your current role?


I am currently a Solutions Architect Manager for Startups on AWS. I graduated with a degree in electronics engineering from a university in Colombia. I started my career working with routers and switches at Cisco.


Then I moved to work with data center infrastructure, assisting companies in building and configuring their on-premises datacenters, including installing rack servers and blade servers, and setting up network routing. While doing this, I started to hear about the “Cloud”, which sparked my interest, and I decided to check what it was about. I started learning about it.

Eventually, I ended up at AWS as Solutions Architect, a role that helps customers design, build, and migrate their applications to the cloud.

I have been here for almost 7 years and have worked in different roles with different industries.


Q2) How did you first become interested in technology, and what led you to your current role?


When I was around 12, one of my mother's friends told me about nanotechnology and its potential to revolutionize healthcare, including the possibility of performing heart surgeries through ingestible devices. This conversation sparked my curiosity about the power of technology and its potential to improve people's lives.

Since then, I've known that I want to work in technology that can positively impact society.

Q3) What main challenges have you faced in your career, and how have you overcome them?


We all encounter numerous challenges throughout our careers. Recently, I faced two significant obstacles: being passed over for a promotion I had hoped for and wanting to transition into a managerial role, but AWS wasn't hiring then.


Instead of dwelling on these setbacks, I try to focus on what I can control - my mental well-being, my perspective on the situation, and the bigger picture. It's easy to feel overwhelmed and assume that challenges will persist indefinitely without a solution.

Still, the truth is that most issues are temporary and forgotten within a year or less.

To cope, I prioritize maintaining a healthy lifestyle, engaging in physical activity, practicing mindfulness, and spending time with loved ones. These habits help keep me grounded and have enabled me to overcome adversity.


Q4) Who or what has been the most significant influence or support in your tech journey?

Early in my career, I had a sponsor who believed in me and saw my potential.

He hired me for a role for which someone else was better qualified and provided a platform for me to learn and thrive. That early sign of trust boosted my self-confidence, making me believe that I was good and that there was space for me in technology.


Q5) How have you seen diversity and inclusion evolve in the tech industry throughout your career?


Yes and No. When I started my career, there were almost no conversations about diversity and inclusion. Nowadays, I see many more companies discussing the topic; however, I see very few actually investing in creating change.

The number of women in tech remains relatively low, and it's still disheartening to see so few women in senior leadership roles.

We require more role models and women in influential positions to motivate others and demonstrate that advancement is feasible.

Q6) How do you manage the work-life balance in the tech industry?


It’s all about setting boundaries, prioritizing correctly, and knowing yourself. It’s about saying ‘no’ more often and saying ‘yes’ only to the side projects that you are really passionate about. It’s about knowing what your priorities in life are and living according to your values.

For me, bringing more women into tech is a passion, along with spending time with family and practicing self-care, which are my non-negotiable priorities.

I can manage my time and energy more effectively by organizing my work-life balance around these non-negotiables.


Laura at AWS re:Invent 2023 with the AWS logo behind her.
Laura at AWS re:Invent 2023

Q7) What skills are most important in today's tech world?


  1. Learning on demand - Tech evolves so rapidly that the most important skill is to be able to learn on demand and keep up to date with the latest trends and changes.

  2. Translating business needs into tech solutions - Tech only exists because there is a business need that it is trying to solve. Being able to do that mapping and communicate with both business and tech audiences will set you apart.

3. Soft skills and/or emotional intelligence.

Q8) Can you share a project or accomplishment you consider the most significant in your career?


Technically, it would be when I worked with a football team during COVID-19 to re-imagine their fan experience and create new ways of interacting. It was about understanding the business challenges and presenting how tech could solve them.


As for not directly technical, I am quite passionate about increasing diversity and getting more women into tech.

I co-founded AWS Cloud Women, a community that aims to close the gender gap in cloud-related jobs. The community has grown to 2000 members, offering certifications, boot camps, mentorship, and networking events.

Q9) What are your future goals, and where do you see the tech industry heading in the next few years?


Of course, I have to mention GenAI – We have already witnessed how it’s streaming our daily lives and jobs. I believe that this is just the beginning, and GenAI will change significantly our lives and our roles will have to evolve.


Q10) What advice would you give other women considering a tech career?


First, go for it. There are plenty of resources and tools that will help you to get the required knowledge.


Second, get a mentor. There are plenty of people who are willing to help and provide advice.


And third, there are a variety of tech roles. Tech doesn't necessarily mean coding in a basement wearing a hoodie. Working in tech can involve being a Product Manager, Salesperson, developer, or engineer.

To make the world a place more inclusive, we need more women who bring diverse perspectives. Tech is waiting for you.

Q11) Let's continue the flow... who would you like to read on the Lovelace Series?


Yuri Niño Roa: she is a very knowledgeable SRE and chaos engineering advocate.

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