Spotlight: Vicente Yanez

Mar 31, 2020

Vicente Yanez is a Systems Engineer at Kitestring.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work? I like reading a lot and learning new things of all sorts of topics. I enjoy painting, playing the guitar and the piano; currently I am learning how to play the trombone and the cello. I like riding my bike (weather permitting) and hiking just as much as I enjoy a nice afternoon conversation with my wife, or my kids, or my granddaughters, or my family, or with a good book.

What are some of your favorite things about living in NWA? It’s the Natural State for a reason! There are so many things that you can do around here, indoors and outdoors alike. The parks and trails are amazing! As I mentioned before, I love riding my bike on the Razorback Greenway and the ever-growing set of paths and trails over the whole area. The Walton Arts Center and the AMP always have great shows, plays and concerts going on. The Symphony of Northwest Arkansas and the Jazz programs at WAC bring artists from all over the world to our little corner of the state which is fantastic. A bonus is that traffic isn’t terrible compared to larger cities, even at peak hours.

What are you passionate about? I am passionate about learning and trying to understand more about the world, which is why I read so often. I like taking complex situations and trying to figure out how to make sense out of them and if possible, how to provide enhancements through systems, which naturally leads to my career as an Engineer.

Tell us how you started down your career path. -Were you influenced by anyone? I have been working with computers since I was in Kindergarten. My first programming language was Logo which uses some basic notions of math and spatial imagination (although I wasn’t entirely aware of it at the time). In high school, I learned more on the history of the computer, and a few of the parents of computers and computational theory (Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace and Blaise Pascal) became representative about what constitutes to be a Computer Engineer. Later in college, I took a couple of semesters in Quantum Computing which helped shape my perception of what Computing Systems are or what they could be.

Funny thing is that while trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life after high school, it did not occur to me to do anything related to computers; it was my dad who recommended getting a degree in Computer Systems since I had been doing that my entire life. I originally wanted to get a degree in Physics or Philosophy, but after a brief thought, I realized that his suggestion made perfect sense: computer systems are something that (I knew right then) that I would always find interesting.

Tell us about some of your proudest achievements while working at Kitestring. Since I started with Kitestring, I have been in charge of one service since its conception. I have killed this service and rebuilt it many times. I didn’t want to end up with a Frankenstein monster of a service that had grown patched and patched over time to accommodate for changes and new features, I wanted something nice and easy to use, read and code for. I am proud of the platform I have built, and its architecture. It has allowed me to grow my own technical portfolio, as well as enabled me to provide input on other products from the perspective of my platform. I am quite excited to see the next iteration I have planned for it!

What are some aspects of your job that you enjoy most? I am interested in the balance of the systems with the real world and the lives of the people who use them; how out of virtually nothing (a blank space of computer memory), there comes an application that would solve someone’s problems and hopefully, make their life easier (sometimes even my own, when I script something to avoid the hassle of repeating the same thing over and over again).

I enjoy taking part in design sessions about any challenges that our client may have for us, that keeps my work always fun and interesting. I enjoy sitting in front of the computer figuring out how everything fits together to create this big ecosystem of parts that do stuff. Being able to bring those abstract ideas to reality is quite fun.

The internet is so vast that you can always learn something new, and while reading papers and documentation is quite enriching and entertaining I also enjoy working with people who I look up to, and with whom I can discuss technology, architecture, trends and even philosophy of systems!

What are some future goals that you have? In my work, I want to be able to see the next generation of my platform as well as the new project that I am working on. Personally, I really want to learn how to play the trombone properly so I don’t sound like an elephant on a stampede.

What is some advice you would like to share with others? Work part-time if you can, it’s great! There are too many things to do and too many places to visit outside of full-time work. Read. Pick a book instead of your phone! There are a lot of great books, classic and contemporary and all sorts of universes to choose from. Try out a new hobby. It doesn’t have to be something bombastic as long as it is something on which you can set your heart!