“Faces of the Journey” is a series that highlights individuals in the network engineering community. The journey is the path we take through our careers, and it can be very different for each of us. While the destination is important, it’s all about the journey!
Robin Canela, originally from New York City, is a Unified Communications Engineer for a software company based in Florida. While the company is based in Florida, he has been working remotely in Virginia since 2017. Robin has been no stranger to hard work. At just fifteen years old, he started a part time job at a pharmacy. After three years, Robin ventured into retail, and eventually began training as a pharmacy technician. He had aspired to become a pharmacist, but found that school really wasn’t for him. When he turned twenty, Robin made a bold and risky decision to move to Virginia. There, he went back to retail for about a year with Toys R Us, then became a utility locater for around two years. Robin then decided it was time for a change. He updated his resume, and began interviewing. His break into IT came in the form of a contract position imaging computers, that kept getting extended until he was hired on full time as a Desktop Support technician! Robin was drawn to IT by being an avid gamer when growing up. His enjoyment of video game consoles led to the building of his own computers and getting exposure to programming languages. He began to love technology and became more invested in learning and growing. Robin has an aspiration to become CCIE certified and is currently studying for the CCNP certification (he became CCNA certified in February of this year). Eventually, he wants to design networks and travel the world!
YouTube (under construction)
Alright Robin, We’ve Got Some Questions
When learning something new, what methods work best for you? Hands-on learning works best for me. The method I use when studying:
1 – Read
2 – Watch Videos
3 – Practice/labs
4 – Teach others
What advice do you have for aspiring IT professionals? Hard work, enthusiasm and dedication. Don’t compare yourself with others, and most importantly, believe in yourself. One thing I always remember and hold on to is that “every expert was once a beginner”.
What is something you enjoy to do outside of work? This past year I got into woodworking and I absolutely love it. So far I have built an arbor for my wedding (article about it on my blog), storage compartment in my garage, two dog feeding stations, built-in bench with batten boards, and the list keeps growing for things to do. I also love learning new technologies so much that I have invested in a home lab. I have a couple of servers, routers, switches, etc. Virtualization is amazing.
How do you manage your work/life balance? Haha, feels like a trick question. In my relationship the most important things are communication and boundaries. Letting my wife know ahead of time my plans, goals, and schedule for the day really helps. When I don’t communicate, oh boy. Since I have been working remotely for over three years, setting boundaries between work/life is very important. I make sure to stop working when work is over and stop checking work emails after hours. It doesn’t always happen but I am getting there.
What motivates you on a daily basis? Challenging myself to become a better person today than I was yesterday and coffee, coffee, coffee.
If I had a pick a few words to describe Robin Canela, they would be “balanced” and “well-rounded”. It can be very difficult for many of us to find the right balance between work, professional/career development, and personal life. Robin just seems to have it all figured out, and that is excellent. He is extremely down to earth and willing to carry on a discussion with anyone. Robin also has a skill that I think is very important which is determining goals. He figures out some future direction, sets a plan, and sticks to it. While maintaining and building on his life, Robin takes the time to remain active in the “It’s All About the Journey” community. He is often sharing ideas, providing encouragement, and just being an all around nice guy. Keep an eye out, I’m seeing big things on the horizon for Robin Canela!