Anthony Loera, who has been with HATech since June 2018, got into tech the way some people do: circuitously, with a big helping of serendipity.
“I was into tech from a really early age,” Anthony said. (Think: Space Jam era.) But he didn’t make it a career right away. He has been a wrestling coach, a paramedic, and a college professor. He has a master’s degree in business. But his love of and affinity for technology – or more precisely, for using technology to make things easier or otherwise better in the real world – has permeated just about everything he has done.
See a problem, solve a problem
Right out of high school, many of Anthony’s early career decisions were designed to enable him to care for the baby son he had at home. “I was 17 years old when my son was born, and that’s why I went into medicine,” Anthony said. “When you’re a paramedic you can kind of make your own schedule, and that gave me the flexibility to be around for my son.”
It was, oddly enough, as a high school wrestling coach that Anthony got his first professional coding experience. He explained, “The team needed a website, and I was interested in tech, so I taught myself how to program and develop a basic website.”
A similarly serendipitous opportunity arose several years later, when Anthony was teaching paramedicine at a college. “The college was doing a lot of things in really antiquated ways,” he explained. Including using paper scheduling for student ride-outs – that’s when a student rides along with a team of paramedics to get field experience. “It was so inefficient, having to manually write down who was going where, when. Schedules were always getting messed up.”
In the kind of spirit that makes Anthony a perfect fit at HATech, he decided to solve that problem. “I developed an app for the ride-out scheduling process at the college,” he said. It took off. The fire and ambulance agencies wanted to use the app to schedule students who were coming in from other colleges, as well, in a way that integrated with their own platforms.
“So that was the beginning of professionally developing applications,” Anthony said. And the app has legs; Anthony still teaches at the college, and they’re still using the app he built.
The HATech way
As circuitous and serendipitous as Anthony’s journey into tech has been, he’s not particularly unique at HATech. “Hands down, what I like best about being part of this team is the people,” he said.
“The HATech team is a group of people who aren’t the straight computer-science-degree-into-tech guys. Everyone has a different background, and that builds a certain character. I could sit on a conference call with these guys and laugh the entire time. That breaks up the head-banging stress that comes with solving tough problems. But it’s also the smartest group of people I’ve been around.”
Asked about the coolest thing he’s done at HATech so far, Anthony said it’s been working with GraphQL. “GraphQL is a different way of interacting with APIs,” he explained. It’s an alternative to REST API, which served its purpose, to be sure, but has some significant downsides. A REST API can get one piece of information per request, so getting multiple pieces of information requires multiple request-response cycles (multiple round trips).
“Within GraphQL we can make multiple requests in one round trip,” Anthony explained. “We could do that before with a REST API and backend logic with lambdas, but GraphQL uses resolvers to do it and allows the frontend client (the app) to detail what it wants back. So it’s cleaner and faster. I get all the data I need in the format I want in fewer requests.”
About that picture
The image of Anthony as rescuer of lion cubs has become lore at HATech. (Photo credit belongs to imgur user mvid and some creative Photoshopping.) Anthony explained, “At a recent DevOps on Draft, I was given the job of handing drink tickets out to the guests, with the specific instruction to spend some on myself. I happen to be a fan of whisky (Knob Creek is my #1) and they happened to have a great whisky selection. I don’t recall the precise distribution of tickets, but I had a stack at the beginning of the evening and five at the end. Needless to say, I was not feeling so hot on the way back to the hotel.”
Having had the honor of actually delivering two babies as a paramedic, Anthony decided it would be a plausible get-out-of-work-excuse that he had to rescue a baby lion cub. “It made sense at the time,” he said. He ended up going to work, but while the after-effects of a great DOOD event are long gone, the legend remains.
This is actually Anthony:
Anthony’s son is in college now, studying business and taking computer courses. And he codes with his dad, made possible by the fact that Anthony works from home in California. “When I told the team I was moving from Las Vegas to California and asked if I could work from home, the team leads all got together and discussed it. That kind of open decision making process is a huge part of the HATech way.”
“There are certain people who come into your life and make a huge impact,” Anthony said. “ The HATech guys are definitely it for me.”
About HATech Academy
You’d probably not hear a story like this from a developer at many other DevOps consulting firms. But at HATech, this kind of story is the norm. We hire people who have experience solving problems for their customers. Because that’s what it takes to go into a client organization, dig into the culture, learn the unmet business challenges and hidden obstacles and then help the company transform. So we hire people who are good at working with people, then we put them through the HATech Academy to train them on the technologies.
The HATech Academy is our own custom-built on-boarding, training, and career development program. It’s how we train people in the HATech way. The Academy is available for our clients, as well. They can send their own hires through the 3-month progressive program to hit the ground running, with HATech providing ongoing mentorship, coaching, and educational opportunities. Beyond the formal Academy, HATech delivers ongoing training and development opportunities for our team members, our clients, and in many cases anyone else who’s interested. For example, we have a six-topic series of workshops that we livestream on Twitch and turn into on-demand training videos available for free.