My Name Is Alex Bartlow — This Is What I Achieve at Aha!
What is the best way to accelerate your career? Work in a high-growth company that challenges you and puts learning first. An unwavering motivation to continue improving and achieving is also key. The highest performers constantly pursue new ideas and seek to understand the experiences and motivations of the people around them. We can learn a lot from them.
Curiosity fuels growth — which is why we want to bring you personal stories of achievement from talented people. Our hope is that some of their ideas are useful and maybe even inspirational as you work to become your best.
Meet Alex Bartlow — a director on the Aha! engineering team. For nearly seven years, Alex has helped our engineering team achieve their best, build lovable products, and ship line upon line of beautiful code.
Alex lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife and son. He enjoys woodworking and improving his golf game.
Read on to learn more about how he finds meaning and joy in his work — in his own words.
What energizes you about being an engineering manager?
"I have always been energized by solving hard problems. So the best thing about being an engineering manager is helping my team conquer challenges — finding solutions to problems bigger than one engineer could handle on their own."
What has been the most rewarding thing about joining the Aha! team?
"My teammates at Aha! are the smartest, hardest working, and friendliest team members I have ever had — by far. Getting to work with them and contribute to their success has been incredibly rewarding."
"We have a strong sense of team spirit at Aha! that provides the foundation for meaningful relationships and shared success."
Which recent accomplishment at Aha! are you most proud of?
"Just within the last year, we have changed the way we measure and report on our application performance and user experience. This change lets us focus our optimization efforts on the areas that provide the most value to our largest customers. In fact, we have reduced our average response times for those pages by 30% — a great result that we are all proud of."
What is the most surprising but useful career advice someone has given you?
"I read something recently which, in retrospect, explains most of the advances I have made in my career — 'Do not do more work, do extra work.' For example, if you have fixed the eight bugs you were assigned this sprint and you have extra time, do not jump into fixing a ninth bug. Instead, look at building something which adds extra value and teaches you something 'extra' at the same time. You will continue to build your skills and learn while contributing to the team in a way they may not have thought possible. And that is always a good thing."
What advice do you have for an aspiring or early-career engineer?
"My advice is probably something you have heard before — begin with the end in mind. The last 20% of complex projects tends to take 80% of the total time you spend on that project. So start coding with an eye to how the project is going to be deployed, monitored, and extended.
"In terms of your career — surround yourself with support. A good manager will help you reach your goals, not just help the company achieve theirs."
Think about what you really want to be doing in five years and align your 'extra' work to that vision. Do you want to do more cloud or operations technologies? Maybe you are excited about visualization and UX — or game development or big data. Start working towards your goal right now."
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