Arlen Thurber

Arlen Thurber

Senior Systems Engineer


Datastax

Milestones

Milestones

My road in life took a while to figure out.
First I worked manual labor jobs, but soon realized I had talents that needed to be encouraged.
Made sure to stay in school regardless if I knew what I wanted to do or not.
Took classes to learn basic web skills, and realized I was having fun doing what I liked.
Took a risk and transfered to San Jose State to join their Graphic Design Program.
Realized that my technical training enabled me to use computers as medium to create Art.
Used my success at school as a jumping board to launch my career as an engineer.
Climbed the ladder in my organization to become one of the Senior most members of my team.
Realizing the road never ends, this is just a mile marker as I continue to find myself and my path.
Keep following my journey
Education

Education

highschool
High School
Analy High School
undergrad
Bachelor
BFA in Digital Media
San Jose State University
Career

Career

Senior Systems Engineer

Design and maintenance of mission critical web systems

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Engineering
Engineering
Technology
Technology
Problem Solving
Problem Solving

Day to Day

A typical day is hard to define, there are often problems that arise that need immediate resolution. Things that may never have been encountered before that need to be understood and fixed in a matter of minutes. It is exciting at times, but can get rather monotonous depending on what layers of the job you get focused on. Staying at the forefront of technology means you always get to keep learning, and for me that is one of the best parts of my job.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

In my career, I am the only one in my dept with a BFA. It has worked for me, but a more comprehensive technical background would be an asset in this industry. If I had not gotten my foot in the door of a small company and stuck it out for the long haul, I am doubtful I would ever have become more than a code monkey. Opportunities are all over the place, luck is being prepared for that opportunity when it presents itself. Don't confuse luck for a free pass, you still need to work hard to get it.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for high school students

Dont get ahead of your self. Becoming an expert is an admirable goal, but being able to call yourself one in a landscape that is constantly evolving is not easy. What you knew last week is now old news and the next iteration requires you to rethink what you thought you knew. The best advice I can give for anyone interested in an engineering position is to "learn to love to learn". That and, "dont let go of your hobbies", they are what will keep you sane in the midst of chaotic deadlines.

Recommended Education

My career is not related to what I studied. I'd recommend this path instead:

undergrad
Bachelor
Computer and Information Sciences, General
Hurdles

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Society in General:

"You should get a job that pays you now. You should not focus on artistic occupations. Jobs are not supposed to be fun, they are supposed to pay the bills."

Challenges I Overcame

Financial
Gangs / Violence