I’m Sam Rudek and #IAmTheDataCenter

This is the first profile in a new campaign for 2019 called hashtagIamtheDataCenter, where we interview folks from the data center industry about their career paths and advice they'd have for others in the industry. If you're interested in becoming a data center star, shoot me an email at brian.gillooly@informa.com.

Sam Rudek,
Title: Regional Director for US Data Center Operations
Company: Schneider Electric

What's your role in the data center? “Over the course of my career in the data center I've done everything from rack servers to lead global operations. My current role is the Regional Director for US Data Center Operations for Schneider Electric.

How did you decide to establish a career in the data center? “When my career in law enforcement ended due to injuries, I went back to school to obtain my degree in computer science. They didn't teach us too much about data centers so when I applied for my first ‘Raised Floor Operations’ position, I thought I was applying to be a network administrator at a large financial institution. Somehow they hired me and my first day on the job was quite eye-opening! After that, I couldn't get enough. I soaked up everything I could and spent extra time with the facility engineers learning about power and cooling. Throughout my career I've had the opportunity to work with and train under some amazing managers.”

What motivates you most in your role? “When I first started it was the technology and massive scale of each data center. Throughout my career I've done everything from installing servers to running global data center operations teams. At each step I've found new and exciting things I love about this industry. At my current role my biggest motivator is the people and growth of the team. Developing future managers and leaders in the data center industry to see them take on their own sites and build their own teams is truly amazing.”

How do you see the evolution of the data center itself impacting careers in the data center? “As data centers continue to evolve so will the people and skills needed to operate them at peak efficiency. Server technology, network architecture, data analysis and performance metrics are all constantly changing. With AI and predictive analysis, data accumulation and analysis play a much bigger role than they ever have. I don't foresee data centers moving away from the human factor, but the roles of the operations technician are very different than they were 15 years ago.”

Do you have any advice for anyone considering a career in – or a change in career within – the data center? “I think they best advice I could give would be to take the time to educate yourself as you build your career. Don't just focus on one side of the business. If you like operations, make sure you understand critical facilities. If you like server administration, take time to educate yourself on the infrastructure and networking. Hybrid technicians with a well-rounded background understand not only what they are doing, but how it will effect downstream systems.”