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  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Kevin Nguyen

Help/fix/build something/someone, it’s a lot easier to share authentically about an experience where you’ve tried to “get your hands dirty”.

What's your job about?

Appian is a low-platform software company that enables businesses to develop their ideas to applications quickly. We’re a software that makes software. My responsibilities as an Associate Solution Engineer include resolving customer issues with the platform. This involves progressing cases, checking monitoring alerts and following up internal processes (mostly JIRA). Day to day looks like reviewing cases that can range from analysing heap and thread dumps, investigating SMTP related issues, go through application and web logs to look for clues, missing symlinks, database locks, recreate Appian reported bugs on a development site etc...

While I’m not doing case work, I’m being trained on more concepts so that I can begin to take on a more independent role. This has been learning about how to troubleshoot issues on the cloud, how VPN works and recently I’ve been learning about Work Poller threads and how they interact between the Java application and K engines.

In the future, I’ve been told that there’s something called indie time where for a few hours a week you’re allowed to develop something that you like to help with Solution Engineering. I have a few projects in mind [I’d like to create a dashboard that centralize all the moving parts of a role called Triage]

And when I’m not at work, before COVID I got to play soccer and basketball with some of the Appian guys [which was really cool]

What's your background?

I grew up in Vietnam until the age of 8, from then I moved to Australia and have been a Sydney boy ever since. Moving to Australia was a big change in my life, I was fairly different [bold hair kid with shirt tucked in] and struggled with making friends.

Throughout high school and university, I would help my parents out at their shop making furniture and installing kitchens. I’ve also been a youth leader at St John’s Parramatta church throughout my university time, I really enjoyed getting to know kids and sharing how I came to know Jesus with them.

I also really got into music production as a passion project. I first heard my favorite producer Porter Robinson and every then I’ve been trying to recreate his sound and hopefully one day find my own sound. On the side I also been trying to learn full stack development (MERN), I want create an app so that if I ever find an organisation that is not tech savvy. I can enable them to be more technically capable [I’ve been trying to redesign my church’s website for sometime.

University was when I became much more comfortable in my own skin and began to be more chill. Nearing the end of my degree I took up a part-time job as a System Admin for a small merchandising company. I applied for Appian through UNSW careers and got through. I am three months into my job and it’s been pretty fun.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

I’d say yes. My manager came from Civil Engineering and my senior had a background in Mechanical Engineering. Although the job is closely related to computers, servers and command lines. I reckon you can pick it up if you like solving problems. I also find being able to communicate with people is really beneficial. You talk to all range of people and being able to communicate well makes a lot of difference.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

I love learning every day. As a Solution Engineer, your understanding of how things work keeps growing since you get to fix a diverse range of problems. This means I never really stop learning and have ample opportunity to keep my out for something that I’ll enjoy doing/creating/learning. Another thing I enjoy is that when something gets fixed, the customer is genuinely relieved and being able to add direct value in resolving issues for customers is something I really enjoy.

What are the limitations of your job?

Sometimes, a problem comes your way and you don’t have an answer and can’t fix the issue. And it’s rough because it feels like you’re not good at your job. There’s also quite a learning curve since to fix something, you have to know all the possible ways it could break. Which is a lot and sometimes again it feels like you’re not good at your job when a concept isn’t that clear or easy to grasp. [But my manager and team really supports me throughout my journey so it’s not all bad]

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  1. Help/fix/build something/someone, it’s a lot easier to share authentically about an experience where you’ve tried to “get your hands dirty”.
  2. Try to be good at one thing, it can be anything. But spend time, energy and effort in being good at that thing. It’ll make it easier to share your experiences.
  3. It’s gonna be okay, I know it can feel so daunting thinking about jobs and security. But I wish I could tell myself that in 6 years time, I’ll be okay. That would have allowed me to enjoy life a lot more.