A Q&A with Renato Losio

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In this Q&A we’re delighted to be joined Renato Losio – A software and cloud architect, digital nomad and slow runner.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Renato has many years of experience as a software engineer, tech lead and cloud services specialist in Italy, UK, Portugal and Germany. He currently lives in Berlin and works remotely as principal cloud architect for Funambol Inc.

Here he tells us more about his career path, being based in Berlin and DevOps culture…

What made you want to pursue a career in technology? 

I graduated in theoretical physics but I never really planned to stay in academia. A long winter as an intern in a research facility in cold Wisconsin confirmed that it was not for me. I really love the quote by Linus Torvalds: “Computer science has a lot in common with physics. Both are about how the world works at a rather fundamental level. The difference, of course, is that while in physics you’re supposed to figure out how the world is made up, in computer science you create the world.”

So a first job in software development and a master in Computer science were the most natural career choice.

What has been your career path so far? 

I started as a software developer, learning and working object oriented languages like Smalltalk first and Java later on, both working in enterprises and startups. I became software architect before focusing in the last few years on cloud technologies and relational databases on the cloud, mainly on AWS. I am currently serving as Principal Cloud Architect for Funambol, a private cloud platform, powering the world’s leading mobile provider. 

But another career goal has been improving where I work: from a traditional enterprise office in Milan to a cool wine cellar in Pavia, from a studio in East London to working wherever I want, with long periods in Lisbon, Malta and Rome. I value the job as much as I value the location and the freedom it gives me.

What made you choose Berlin as the place to settle? 

I have been working remotely since 2008. I lived in London for a couple of years, just a few meters from the so called Silicon Roundabout, but Shoreditch is not the best place to work remotely and grow a family. As I love Europe and I am somehow attracted to large cities, Berlin felt an interesting option: it is an international melting pot and offers an excellent quality of life. If not Berlin, I would probably settle down in Lisbon. I love Portugal.

How much does the structure of a team / organisation have to be considered when moving towards a DevOps culture? 

Probably a lot. But let’s not underestimate how long we have been debating about DevOps culture, Amazon AWS has already been offering cloud services for over 10 years. There is an entire new generation of developers that have started using DevOps and now wouldn’t even think of a different approach. A new startup in Berlin, founded by local young talents in hipster coffee shops, does not discuss a DevOps culture. It is simply the only way they know how to develop and scale up a project. Anything else feels like working with mainframes.

Why does the Berlin ecosystem lend itself so well to start-ups?

The famous Berlin “poor, but sexy” is something of the past. And maybe it is not even true anymore that Berlin is the only capital in the EU with GDP per inhabitant below the national average. But even if rents have been going up a lot, it is still a relatively cheap city and a magnet for young developers and entrepreneurs from other regions and countries. The social and professional networking you can find in places like Betahaus or Factory Berlin is unique, I cannot see that happening in other cities like Frankfurt or Munich.

You joined us at our first DevOps Berlin event and you also speak at lot’s of DevOps meet-ups, what do you like about this and do you have any coming up?

Running around Vilnius at 6am with a Portuguese speaker living in Denmark and discussing the latest features on AWS. Having a beer in Moscow with a guy who wrote a new framework in Terraform . Eating a pizza with a well-known Italian Microsoft expert and speaker, talking about the future of the public cloud. Discussing in Cologne the impacts of technology on society with speakers who really challenge your own believes. These are only a few of the opportunities I had this year thanks to DevOps events. Working remotely and keeping a frugal budget for conferences, I find being a speaker at tech events a great opportunity to discover new technologies and eventually find new ideas to apply once back home. But almost all meet new interesting people.

About next engagements, I will attend the DevOps Pro conference in November in Moscow where I will present the talk “Moving from a Managed Relational Database to a Serverless One”. And in October I will be back in Milan to talk at Codemotion on a tech topic that I care about: software development and territorial disputes.

For more tech articles, visit the Amsource Technology blog.

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