This week we have the pleasure of spotlighting Annie Cheng. Annie is a Software Service Analyst for RCS specific to the XL C++ and Fortran Compilers space and has some great insights to share about debuggers and what she sees as vital skills to success. Plus, don't miss some of her favourite websites as well; you may find them quite useful and enlightening in your own space! And, of course, check out our previous interviews too!
Tell us a little about yourself: who are you, what is your role in Rational Client Support?
I am a Software Service Analyst for IBM Rational XL C/C++ and Fortran Compilers Support team located in Toronto, Canada. Our team help clients around the world to resolve complex compilation technology problems ranging from language standards, coding problems, compiler defects, linking, debugging, parallelism, optimization to questions and best practices on various platforms such as AIX, Linux, BlueGene and z/OS. We collaborate with clients and various system components across IBM to get to the root cause and solution. We also contribute in product release life cycle, product features, testing, documentation and process improvements.
Before joining IBM Canada, I worked in Silicon Valley as a developer on emerging mobile technologies after my graduate school study. I currently live in Vancouver, Canada with my husband and 4-year-old daughter.
How long have you been working for IBM and Rational?
I joined the IBM Rational Compiler team in Toronto in November, 2005.
Describe a normal day for you.
I live on the West Coast, my teams are mostly on the East Coast and my clients are worldwide. To get the most overlap, I start early. The morning is usually packed with meetings and discussions with clients and development teams all around the world for problem analysis, brainstorming, collaboration and issue tracking. After a late lunch, I turn to individual investigation and a lot of the heavy work such as emails, mining data, gathering information for knowledge sharing, etc. I also check emails at night sometimes.
What is your favorite part of working for Rational Client Support?
Overseeing our clients to succeed and realize their technical investment from using our products is my favorite part. Understanding client's pain points built my knowledge about their diverse industries. The complex nature of our client's problems makes everyday challenging and fulfilling. Working with a global team with incredible talent is also very rewarding.
What inspires you in your work?
The problems we face everyday and the people around us. I am learning something new everyday.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about helping clients to succeed and realize their technical investments.
In your spare time, if you have any, what hobbies or activities interest you?
I love running. In summer, I run outside in the neighborhood or in the parks; and in the winter, on the treadmill. I participate in local fund-raising running events. I also enjoy hiking and skiing in the mountains.
What type of gadgets do you use?
I am not a gadget person. My cell phone is 8 years old! But I love Amazon Kindle. When we moved from Toronto to Vancouver, we donated a lot of books. I now keep many titles and PDF files in the Kindle. My home is a lot cleaner now! No more half opened books scattered around and the space for the bookcases was replaced with a treadmill which I also love so much!
When did you first become interested in technology?
Maybe at 6 years old, when my 12-year-old brother was building a model ship with remote control circuit boards from scratch. I helped by passing him the tube-like transistors (It was more than 20 years ago and those things are still very bulky!). I sorted them by shapes and colors. I was scorched by the welder and I still have a scar on my wrist. But it was so cool to see the little ship sail in the pond with the remote control later!
What tools / skills have you acquired that you feel are vital to your success in this field?
Problem solving, thinking out of the box and maintaining a high level of curiosity are important in technical fields. However, communication, interpersonal skills, business skills (aka, soft skills) are the ones that make the difference in the long run.
What is on your nightstand with regard to reading?
In my Kindle, I am currently reading "Delivering Happiness" by Zappos's CEO Tony Hsieh. Tony has given some interesting insights about exceptional customer service.
What are you doing to make the planet smarter?
I work from home and do not commute.
How are you using social networking today?
I use Facebook to connect with friends, families and colleagues. I use LinkedIn to connect with colleagues and clients and share product and support news. I also contribute to our C/C++ Cafe blogs for proactive support and knowledge sharing with clients. I am starting to use Twitter to follow interesting people that I could learn from.
What are some of your favorite websites/feeds/twitter accounts to follow?
There are too many to name. I found a lot of the IBM Lotus Connections blogs interesting! Among them are C/C++ Cafe and Notes from Rational Support, of course. And outside of work, I like watching minimalist chef Mark Bitman's cooking videos on NYTimes, and reading on marketing guru Seth Godin's blogs.
Any other fun tidbits of information about you, your job, or RCS that you'd like to share?
Many people may not know that the C/C++ compiler for AIX also ships a GUI debugger called IBM Debugger for AIX. It's a great tool for your debugging needs! And with Rational Developer for Power, it combines the whole edit-compile-debug experience together!
Also, I work remotely, so I don't get to see many of my colleagues face-to-face, so don't be afraid to call and don't be surprised if I call you to catch up!