I sat down with Amy Arnold, a senior network engineer in the public sector, to get her perspective on the conference and the future of technology. Amy will be blogging about the show. Follow her on Twitter at @amyengineer and bookmark Amy’s blog to hear more about her action-packed days as a network engineer in the trenches.
PK: When you’re not hanging out at ATM18, what’s your day job?
AA: I’m a senior network engineer in the public sector. I do anything that touches the network – route, switch, wireless, security and voice. I design, plan and operate, install and troubleshoot. I have a small team, so we work on all the things that touch the network. We also help the server and helpdesk people.
PK: How did you get into networking?
AA: I took the long way. I went to law school for one week, then dropped out. I started taking classes at local colleges and signed up for programming and networking classes. I loved the networking class—and I loved networking, so I got those certifications. In my first job, the company didn’t have real switches, so I helped with servers and worked my way up from there.
I am definitely a nerd. My dad is a software engineer and long-time techie. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
PK: What motivates you to do what you do?
AA: I’ve always liked problem-solving and challenges, and networking is pretty much problem solving all day long. One of the reasons I’m in public sector is that I enjoy giving back to the community, supporting the people who are putting their lives on the line or making our lives better.
PK: What is the first thing you’ll do when you get to Vegas for ATM18?
AA: Get coffee. I’ve got an early flight on Monday.
PK: What’s the coolest part about ATM?
AA: I’ve never been to Atmosphere before. I’m looking forward to meeting new people, taking a deep dive into information and networking with peers.
PK: What part of ATM do you dread the most?
AA: I’m not the biggest fan of Vegas. My allergies don’t like it, and it can be exhausting. There’s always more to see and learn and people to meet than you have time for, so by the end, you’re wiped out.
PK: What technology are you wearing right now?
AA: None. I’m not a Fitbitter. I don’t need the technology to judge me. I don’t have wearables.
I know too much on the IoT security side to have any of the IoT. The “S” in IoT stands for security. I didn’t coin that. So, I only have my smartphone.
PK: If you weren’t in technology, what would your life be like?
AA: If I could do anything, I’d be a starving artist. I’d hope to think I’d be a rich artist, but most likely a starving artist. I paint, I draw, I write and I play a couple of musical instruments.
PK: Who do you see as the undisputed guru of technology innovation?
AA: I’d have to go with Elon Musk. It’s trite. I’m super fascinated with what his companies are doing with all kinds of technology, especially with space technology and space travel. I’m not an astronaut, but maybe in another life, I would have been.
PK: And which one would you want to have dinner with?
AA: I’d have dinner with Elon—because what would it take to build me a spaceship?
PK: What will be the most life-changing technology in our lifetime?
AA: If I knew this, I’d be a rich, rich woman.
I’ll go with life sciences—probably medical technology, combining that with compute and AI. You have robots that can perform precision surgery. You have 3D-printed organs, and contact lenses that are used to treat diabetes. Leveraging how far we’ve come in compute and software and combining that with extending people’s lives, that’s where the most impact is going to happen.
PK: In what market segment will we see the next big disruption?
AA: In the near future, the disruption will be in the service industry, based on the same reasons: AI, compute and software. That sector is going to see real change in what jobs are available and how jobs are shifting.
PK: What is your current favorite (tech) meme/GIF?
AA: It’s not the network. Leonardo DiCaprio. So good.
Amy is a delegate at the Mobility Field Day on Wed, March 28 at ATM18. Watch the live stream here: http://techfieldday.com/event/atm18/