Author: Jeff Kelly

What does Dad do?

New job, new technology, new techniques, new co-workers and clients, new problems to solve, new tools to solve them with.

It’s definitely been a great summer spent adjusting to my new role with Arctiq. Stretching my comfort zones and learning new things has given me some victories along with some nervous moments. Put together it sure is looking like the year has been great, and will end on an even better note (with more to come!).

As my family grows (up?) and either my job changes (or my sons do), I get new chances to try to answer the “What does Dad do?” question. In past years it has been as light as “Dad does stuff with computers”, and has slowly gotten more complex. Either due to getting better at it with practice, or my sons’ growing appreciation for all things related to video games (my go-to for making computers relate-able to my kids).

This round of “What does Dad do?” has been fun, as well as the most complex yet. I started off with a generic: “I help people, or teams, or companies make stuff to run on computers”

I got a pretty quick: “Yeah, yeah, we know dad … but what kind of stuff?”

Luckily we had to run out the door to soccer, so I got a breather before I had to answer. I spent the next few days mulling over what “stuff” was, as well as how to explain to my kids something that I feel I’m still (constantly) learning about too?

  • Minecraft robots that build farms and buildings for you (became overly long and felt a bit forced)
  • Farmville (I know.. dating myself) also had a brief spot in my head since they had played that and another like it. But this ended up feeling the same as the minecraft robots did, long and forced.
  • I got a bit desperate and tried the standard “Dockyard and container” spiel with some added robots and factories thrown in. (Their eyes glazed over, interest lost.)

Finally I just laid it out like a video game (again). When you get stuck on a part in any game, and your friend tells you what he did to get past it. Your friend doesn’t have to be an expert in the game, but his advice gives you more ideas for how you can get past it too.

What I get to do now is similar, with just a few more moving parts. I (and the whole Arctiq team) are constantly learning and trying out new software and ideas. By being first through the level, we don’t always have a perfect answer, but we can work with each other and our clients to find a way to get them through to the next level too.

The boys were nodding at me now, both having experienced the friend bump on multiple occasions. Victory! I’ve managed to explain “What does Dad do” and a bonus “Why I love my job” at the same time to a 10 and a 12 yr old.

Next challenge: Explain the what and why of DevOps to the same crowd



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