Since his entry into Oracle via the 2010 Sun Microsystems acquisition, Bob Belderbos has distinguished himself as a self-taught software developer who relentlessly builds his skills and career, and then translates these efforts into tangible benefits for Oracle’s customers, business, and employees.
“I like to ‘wow’ the customer by creating something that measurably improves their experience,” says Bob, who works remotely from Spain as a principal technical support engineer and software developer.
Bob works for Systems Support Automation in the X86 / ASR team as the lead developer of their RapidSR solution, a Python automation framework designed to increase the automatic handling of service requests (SRs) and resolve customer issues in a fraction of the time previously needed. “The role of automation is a selling proposition for Oracle,” says Bob, who was recognized with an FY17 Customer Service Circle of Distinction Award for this innovation and other contributions. “It gives Oracle a competitive advantage because we can serve customers more consistently and faster.”
As a result, “currently around 40% of all X86 support calls are fully automated, either with a part replacement or a workaround document sent to the customer,” he adds. “The automation of SRs increased efficiency, and the accrued cost savings are more than $200K per month. Apart from the huge cost savings, automation has improved our time to resolution (TTR) significantly, leading to higher customer satisfaction.”
Using Automation to Improve Employee Experience
With an eye toward improving his colleagues’ experience and learning agility, Bob decided to create a Safari Books Online Email Alert Service that enables employees to receive emails when a new book matching their interests is added to Safari’s online resources.
Starting a New Career
Bob’s formal education and early professional work was in Finance, but he discovered a passion for programming and built a new skillset from scratch. Through continuous learning and on the job experience, he “went from being a Storage Support engineer, to System Support, to developing web tools for the organization (e.g. snapshotMiner) to expedite service request analysis, to fully automating SRs.”
By searching Oracle’s internal job postings and networking regularly, Bob continually explores career opportunities and seeks ways to increase his impact and visibility. Recently, he leveraged his brand and network to seek out, interview for, and accept an internal job transfer to a Python software development position in a new organization. When his transfer is completed, he’ll be supporting the Oracle Textura Payment Management product. “This will be a great opportunity for me to grow and contribute to Oracle’s cloud products,” Bob explains.
Continuous learning, coding, and sharing
For programmers and other colleagues, Bob says “to become better, continuous learning is the default. Oracle has a lot of resources for learning, like Safari Books Online and Lynda.com. I have also done training, certifications, attended developer conferences, listened to podcasts, and participated in a Top Talent program in Romania last year.” Bob has gained visibility and more expertise by creating several channels to share his knowledge: collaborating on internal articles (here and here), writing blogs, creating a Python-focused Facebook page, and leading other online communities where he teaches others what he’s learned. Through these efforts, he continues to build his personal brand.
Bob credits his success to:
• “Seeking opportunities, as they don’t come to you automatically.” This includes proactively generating solutions for problems you see, and actively expanding your network.
• Learning new skills, “which means being uncomfortable at times.”
Advice for others
Programming is my profession and hobby, and I’m continuously learning and developing my skills,” Bob explains. “I say always be coding, communicating your results, and building a community to share what you have learned.”
1. Have a clear vision of what you want.
3. Collaborate with your manager, who can help you get the resources you need to grow.
4. Actively network, whether you are on campus or work remotely. If you’re remote, it’s especially important to reach out proactively to engage with colleagues via email or social networks, and to keep your LinkedIn profile current. Maintaining your visibility and creating your personal brand are investments in your ongoing development and career growth.