Ali Ok works for Red Hat, Inc. with a strong focus on the cloud, where his work requires the use of a variety of technologies. He has also acquired deep knowledge of Kubernetes, the technology that was his main topic of his lecture “Kubernetes Operators 101” at the Java2Days conference.

Mr. Ok, what do you think of this event and of similar events on the Balkan Peninsula? Do you have any observations?

The event looks good as does the audience. The organizers have done a good job. It was the first time attending such a conference where someone welcomed me at the airport. As for technological communities and events across the Balkans, I don’t know much, even though I live in Turkey.

Certainly what impresses me is that there are many young people. And this makes me think that there will be very good software developed in this country and maybe it is already happening.

Yes, for the last 10 years things have advanced a lot in Bulgaria and many big global companies are positioned here, such as Kaufland, DHL, VMware, Uber, ScaleFocus and many, many more. Could you compare the situation in Turkey?

Of course Turkey is a bigger country and the population is 10 times larger. Logically the IT costs are higher, but there are more people working in this field. What I see here is that there are many proven sponsors who showcase their products. So, it seems to me things are going in the right direction.

What challenges do you face in your career?

Three years ago I joined Red Hat, which is a much larger company than my previous one. I moved from a team of 50 to a team of 10,000, leading to unlimited resources. In Red Hat lots of different technologies are used and it took me a long time to figure out what was going on at that company and what was happening in a particular technology. Definitely this was one of my biggest challenges – to understand the processes by which things happen. New comers cannot help but feel that the company is overloaded with all these new technologies. Over time, you find that you are actually involved in a small part of something very large, which allows you to concentrate on your own work. But reaching this level, you need to figure out certain things about the big picture. This was a challenge for me even after 3 years in the company. Recently I started to work with a new team and new technology, and the same happens – I am learning new things on a daily basis and trying to keep the pace up.

On the other hand, we could say that it could be easier in a larger company because you are focused only on your work. In small companies everyone asks you to do something, and realistically your mind cannot focus only on your assignments…

Yes, that is right. Of course, if working in a small company, you depend on lots of things. But working in a bigger company you experience the same as well.

What are you currently involved in?

What I am currently involved in is Knative. This is a no-server Kubernetes platform, built on Kubernetes. I also use lots of Apache functionalities, e.g. Commons.

What technologies do you use in your work?

I have been working with Java for 8 years and I don’t want to face it right now. Currently I am using Boo, Node.js, Python and others. Working in the cloud as I do, there are many things to be configured and this is why I am developing a lot.

Working with many technologies, do you manage to find separate time for something that interests you in technological terms or is it mostly job-related?

Yes, definitely I find ways to learn new stuff in my free time. I no longer pay attention to a new language or framework but rather to products like Apache Kafka, Kubernetes, etc.


The interview was conducted by Plamen Mihaylov

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