Thoughtworker Spotlight: Thien-An Mac
March 3, 2023
Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes
Inquisitive, intelligent and inspiring are how most people would describe Thien-An Mac, whether referencing his expertise in cloud applications and infrastructure or his ability to elevate the developer experience while doing it. When he’s not helping upskill his fellow consultants at Thoughtworks University, you’ll catch him out and about, or rather, “up and above” rock climbing, snowboarding, cooking and traveling.
If Thien-An isn’t in the clouds (literally or figuratively), you’ll find him watching Star Wars (4, 5 and 6 specifically) that is, until hunger strikes and it’s time to cook or enjoy some of the local cuisines wherever he is. And his favourite product helps! Can you guess what it is? Hint: It can take you on many culinary journeys and requires some Force.
Check out this week’s Thoughtworker Spotlight to find out.
Tell us about what you do in 50 words or less.
I help teams design, configure and automate cloud infrastructure (i.e. AWS) and deploy their applications on an application runtime system (i.e. Kubernetes) so teams can easily deploy their applications and make it as easy as possible for development teams to add additional cloud components on demand.
What’s the most interesting challenge you’re working on?
Creating a good developer experience for other development teams. There is a fine balance between building a sophisticated platform that is both fast and easy to use for a development team but easy to maintain as well.
What inspired you to have the career you have today?
One of my first managers explained the importance of being able to bridge the gap between the development world and the operation world (this was before the DevOps movement existed). It allowed me to understand the pain points as a developer to efficiently deploy your code to production with a lot of confidence and how to also configure a production machine as well.
What achievement are you most proud of in your career to date?
Being a Thoughtworks University trainer (Batch 53 and 54). Being able to give back to Thoughtworks by training consultants that are starting their career in technology is fulfilling. It also allowed me to work on my coaching and presentation skills as well.
If you could go back in time and give yourself career advice, what would it be?
Asking for help isn’t a weakness. If you’re working on a task that seems to be too long or complicated, it might not be the right solution and ask for help to solve it. Also don’t sleep in the database class, writing SQL queries are important!
What do you love to do outside of work?
I love rock climbing, snowboarding, cooking and eating (especially while I’m traveling).
If you were stuck on a deserted island, what album, movie, and book would you take with you?
Album – Greatest Hits: God’s Favorite Band by Green Day
Movie – Star Wars Trilogy (4, 5 and 6)
Book – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
And finally, what’s your favourite product and why?
A carbon steel pan. This is a must for any home cook as it has the lightness of a stainless steel pan, non-stick of a teflon pan and the heat conductivity of a cast iron pan. It is a jack of all trades pan to allow you to sear any piece of meat, fry an egg or even bake a tarte tatin.
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