[Career Advice #8] Guido Amoruso on career transition and general tips
Guido Amoruso is Head of Engineering at Context Scout, a content-aware web browser assistant for next generation web search. He is from Italy and he received his Bachelor’s degree at Università degli Studi di Padova, major in Computer Science. Prior to his career in technology field, he worked as a professional violinist. This might seem like a dramatic change to most of you, don’t you want to ask him why he made this switch from Arts to Science?
- “I think it was just moving on. Music industry was very tough and I was curious about other industries.”
Here is his story:
1. How do you think your background helped you?
I want to say that both Computer Science and my career as a violinist helped me become who I am today. To break it down, my academic background (Computer Science) provided the necessary knowledge and skills I needed for my current job as the Head of Engineering. On the other hand, my time as a professional violinist taught me how to focus on my tasks through constant practices and trainings.
However, I want to highlight that what influenced me the most is my curiosity.
2. Can you share your experiences before your current job at Context Scout?
Before I started at this firm, I worked as a freelancer for several years. Prior to that, I also worked at 4 different companies. I personally find it easier to work for someone than to run my own, though that’s something that you won’t realize until you try both.
3. Can you walk us through your day to day life at office? Is it different from other companies you worked at?
I currently am working as the Head of Engineering, then it’s a logical question to ask: ‘what’s the difference between being a leader and a team member?’ The main difference is the task; as a leader, I need to be able to make decisions and communicate with other team members. Fortunately, my team is very easy to work with. They are open to new practices, so I don’t have much difficulties with running the team. However, the challenges come related to the product. When the company developes a product, I think the balance between the technical excellence and functionality is the key. And the only way to cope with that is to cooperate, and making sure that the entire engineering team communicates well with each other as well as with the other parts of the business.
4. How about working overtime? Has that been an issue for you?
I honestly think that it’s a matter of time management and organization. Obviously in professional world, overtime may happen, but it’s not my main issue. I know that some people, especially the recent graduates try to work over-hours, but I want you to keep in mind one thing: You will never impress your boss if you are doing too much. It only shows that you are stressed about what you are doing.
I also want to add on to this point; I lived in Germany and Spain so I am used to the change and moving around. I love the possibility to live in a different country and blending into a different culture. Having said that, London’s working culture is very work-oriented, but it’s possible to find a good balance and that’s important. You should work hard during the hours, or only slightly more, to show that you are keen and passionate about your job, but don’t overdo!
5. Any other tips for students who are unsure about their careers?
I know it’s always a struggle to find a job. I have been through different transitions, but one thing I can tell you with 100% certainty is to follow your passion. Do whatever you love to do, then the rest will follow.
One last practical advice I can give is to have a nice CV. By ‘nice CV’, I mean a short, clear and tailored to your focus area. You must keep it clean and recognizable by your employers.