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[People of Bigstep] Dragos Baldescu – Finding and Fixing the Root Cause

Have you ever thought of making a career change? Dragos has, and has also went through with it, succesfully. He has switched from journalism to system administration, and is now Level 2 Support Team Lead at Bigstep. Let’s find out which area of system administration he likes the most, which is his favorite operating system, and which is the most memorable place he has travelled to, in this new People of Bigstep interview.

Hi Dragos, please tell us a few words about yourself.

I used to be a journalist, but the world doesn’t need journalists anymore, so I had to look for something else. Since I was always interested in computers, I learned Linux and became a system administrator, which is actually a job as diverse and exciting as journalism used to be.

What’s your position within the company and how does your work day look like?

I’m currently the team leader of the level 2 support team. Our main job is to solve customer tickets, but we also have various other tasks such as server maintenance and updates.

What made you switch from journalism to system administration?

Media today is not what it used to be, the days when journalists had to dig their own information and find exclusive stories are long gone. Today, the content is either sourced from press agencies or copied from social media and published under misleading clickbait titles. I did not enjoy doing that.

Which area of system administration attracts you the most?

I like fixing difficult issues, it can be frustrating but also very rewarding, especially when you finally succeed after working on a ticket for a few hours.

What do you do when a customer asks you an unexpected question?

They actually do it quite often and it’s no longer unexpected. I try to answer in detail, since many customers do not have a technical background and it is our job to speak their language and make them understand our message.

Can you tell us what differentiates Bigstep Metal Cloud from similar products on the market?

Bigstep Metal Cloud is a unique platform, a hybrid between the classic dedicated servers and the public cloud. It offers both the power of dedicated servers and some of the most useful cloud features. It is possible, for example, to replace a server with a more powerful one, in just a few minutes, which is extremely useful for some use cases such as big data or e-commerce.

How would you explain what a server is to a five-year-old?

“It’s just a bigger and noisier mobile phone.”

What do you think the next big thing in the server industry is?

There are many exciting trends right now, but I expect servers based on the ARM architecture to become popular in the next few years. They are cheap, energy-efficient and can be virtualized into many small machines that are in high demand in the hosting industry.

What’s your favorite operating system and why?

The ideal operating system would be very stable yet offer the latest features and packages. I think Ubuntu is the closest to that standard.

We know you love to travel and discover hidden gems. Which is the most memorable place you’ve ever visited and why?

This is a hard question because I’ve visited many interesting places. One of them was Wadi Bani Khalid, an oasis in Oman. Imagine a canyon with palm trees in the middle of the desert, with cold and crystal clear waters where you can swim. But there are so many other beautiful places, such as Cenote Dos Ojos in Mexico, or Gibraltar, with the monkeys and its unique history.

Where do you plan to travel next, after the pandemic ends?

I have plane tickets to Jordan and I plan to go regardless if the pandemic ends or not. Next, I would love to see more of Asia, so maybe somewhere like Vietnam, Sri Lanka or Samarkand (Uzbekistan).

You’re also a gamer. What’s the game you’ve been playing most in this pandemic? Tell us a little bit about the character you’re playing with.

I mostly played DotA 2 and World of Warcraft Classic. My main hero in DotA is Razor, he’s not a very popular choice but he fits my aggressive play style. I currently play a mage in WoW, but my favorite class is still the druid because it’s extremely versatile and can beat any other class when played right.

What's your favorite hobby?

I have many hobbies and I like them all: travelling, history, reading, watching rugby, collecting military awards and researching their stories, and so on.

What common challenges have you encountered in your work as a sysadmin and in your hobby?

They all require research and dedication. I’m a very curious person, so I always have to know more about everything. After I fix an error in Linux, I always try to understand and fix the root cause as well, to save time in the future. Same goes for my hobbies, when travelling, for example, I hate resorts and fixed schedules because I want to see how people really live in those countries, to taste their food and understand their customs.

What do you enjoy most about working at Bigstep?

I like the people most of all, I learned a lot from them and there is always a very relaxed environment.

What is your biggest work and/or hobby achievement?

I once discovered an exploit that could have had very serious consequences if not detected in time. As for my hobbies, I’m proud of some articles I’ve authored on royal Romanian military awards, because they were based on a lot of research and included information that was previously unknown.

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