Humans of Wizeline: John Sánchez

Humans of Wizeline: John Sánchez

Navigating the Data Ecosystem: John Sanchez’s Inspiring Journey

As a Staff Data Engineer at Wizeline, John Sanchez has been knee-deep in data for the past year and a half. But for him, data isn’t just a job title — it’s a passion that propels him forward daily. Still, John isn’t just about bytes and bits. At the core of his world are his cherished wife and their two enchanting daughters. Their love and the adventures of fatherhood serve as his daily muse, pushing him to reach greater heights.

Join us as we journey further into the life of John, unveiling the experiences that anchor him in the dynamic world of data engineering.

John’s Serendipitous Path to Systems Engineering

John’s story begins in his youth in Soacha, a lively city near Bogotá, Colombia. Picture a childhood filled with vibrant times and exploration in the bustling local “barrio.” Here, young John’s curiosity soared, drawing him toward mathematics, chemistry, biology, and even a sprinkle of philosophy. Those formative years in Soacha aren’t just memories — they have been fundamental in shaping the dedicated professional John is today.

Sometimes, our interests are more than mere hobbies — they’re signals pointing us toward our destiny. For John, the first signal flashed during his early school years when a fascination with mathematics and logic began to take root. There were pivotal moments when he stood out, like when he clinched the top score on the Instituto Colombiano para la Evaluación de la Educación National (ICFES) exams for both High School and University .

Yet, the path of life is filled with unforeseen twists. Fresh out of high school, John was set on pursuing either chemistry or industrial engineering. But sometimes, when one door closes, another opens. Financial constraints and the fierce competition for public university spots guided him to the Escuela Tecnologica Instituto Tecnico Central.

Initially intent on enrolling in a program for process engineering, an unexpected feeling made him switch to systems engineering. The reason behind that decision remains a mystery to John. But in that fleeting moment, his trajectory shifted, setting him on a course he would never regret.

Juggling the roles of being an employee by day and a student by night, he became part of an innovative study method known as propaedeutic cycles. By the end of 2011, he was the proud recipient of two degrees, qualifying him as a professional systems technician and systems technologist. But his quest for knowledge didn’t stop there. His academic journey continued at the Universidad Central de Bogotá, culminating with a degree in systems engineering by the end of 2014.

From Support Technician to Data Engineering Leader

Shortly after acquiring his first degree, John embarked on a four-year stint as a support technician. This phase, which centered around technical hardware, infrastructure, and networking intricacies, was one of growth and determination. Frequent delays caused by the lengthy commutes while balancing work, study, and personal commitments underscored the early years of his career. However, this intense period instilled a profound respect for his profession and taught him the delicate arts of meticulousness and responsibility.

Seeking a fresh challenge in 2013, John stepped into the healthcare industry in a role integrating software development and database administration. Delving into extract, transform, and load (ETL) processes and utilizing tools like PHP, JavaScript, Ajax, and PostgreSQL, John was happy to learn as he went. As he traversed the unfamiliar world of ETL, this role solidified his passion for data engineering.

The following years saw John on the move, both professionally and geographically. He traveled through Colombia and ventured into countries like Mexico, El Salvador, and Guatemala, perfecting his expertise in ETL processes, reporting, and dashboard development.

It was in late 2018 that the winds of change blew his way again. The promise of cloud computing and the allure of the big data trend called him. John responded by immersing himself in Colombian communities — especially in Medellin and Bogotá —, expanding his network, and feeding his ever-growing appetite for data engineering. The key turning point of his journey was in 2019, when a startup came calling and prompted him to leave the security of a well-established company.

John’s pursuit of innovation took precedence in his startup experience, where growth and learning were emphasized. Facing multifaceted challenges, collaborating with C-level executives, navigating the fintech labyrinth, and leading a remote team during the pandemic are just a few of the myriad tasks John undertook.

Juggling communication in English and navigating the vast expanses of cloud computing (AWS, GCP) added to the learning curve. Indeed, John’s present belief that one year at a startup equates to 3-4 years in a traditional job is a testament to the intense and enriching experiences to be gained in these spaces.

The Power of Alignment: Professional Transformation at Wizeline

Navigating the expansive universe of LinkedIn in late 2021, a particular update caught John’s eye — Wizeline had onboarded a colleague from his previous company’s Data Science team. While LinkedIn often buzzes with job transitions and industry news, there was something inherently captivating about Wizeline.

Their reputation as a cradle for innovation, their culture of collaboration, and their significant imprint on the technological sphere were irresistible baits. These were more than just company attributes; they were values he deeply identified with. So, when destiny came knocking in the form of a message from Wizeline’s recruitment team, it was a no-brainer for John.

John’s journey at Wizeline has been transformative. The internal and external projects he’s contributed to have consistently redefined his skill set and perspective. While the projects have been stimulating, the company’s nurturing ecosystem has driven him to innovate. According to John, every brainstorming session and collaborative project feels like a refreshing gust of wind, compelling him to think outside the box and venture beyond his comfort zone.

Professional growth is a two-way street. It’s as much about imparting knowledge as it is about absorbing it. At Wizeline, he has been privileged to wear both hats — that of a mentor and a mentee. Engaging in workshops, diving into conferences, and indulging in the sheer joy of knowledge exchange with his peers have been monumental in his journey.

Yet, what elevates these experiences most is the community with whom he shares them. The Wizeline team, full of dedicated professionals, has transformed work into a quest for excellence. Together, they motivate, challenge, and support one another, turning their professional voyage into a shared adventure of growth and self-discovery.

Pushing Through: Rising Above Professional and Personal Challenges

John’s professional life has been punctuated by significant challenges and milestones, shaping his approach to work and the world around him. At the heart of one such defining period was the task of centralizing data from a conglomerate of hotels spread across various countries.

This was no mere technical endeavor. The complex challenges included the geographical diversity of the hotels, many nestled in remote coastal areas with precarious network connectivity. More than just a technological hurdle, it involved physically traveling to these locations, retrieving data from the source, and devising inventive strategies for seamless migration. This journey of discovery and innovation marked John’s first foray into cloud services, the versatility and adaptability of which became a game-changer for him.

But life, as is often the case, throws both professional and personal challenges at us, testing our grit and resilience. For John, a heart-wrenching personal trial came in the form of an unimaginable loss — the tragic passing of he and his wife’s first child. Such profound grief can be incapacitating. Yet, with unwavering faith and the love and support of those around him, John and his wife found the strength to push through the darkness. The subsequent birth of their daughters brought them renewed hope and a new zest for life. Their names embody life and grace and are a testament to the couple’s healing and rediscovery.

Meanwhile, John’s aspiration to be recognized as a thought leader sees him continually pushing boundaries, stepping out of his comfort zone, and embracing risks. His ambitions don’t just rest with achieving professional recognition; they extend to his entrepreneurial vision of integrating advanced data processing and AI for meaningful causes.

John’s holistic approach to growth is what sets him apart. His recent interest in theology, a path he’s chosen not just for personal gain but to contribute to the larger good, speaks volumes about his commitment to professional excellence and personal enrichment. Through these endeavors, he seeks to expand his technical prowess with aid from a deep sense of spirituality, aiming to leverage this unique blend for the betterment of society.

Final Reflections on Growth and Purpose

John’s journey reminds us all that life combines challenges and triumphs. From his early days in Soacha to his present-day pursuits in data engineering and theology, his story is about finding purpose, pushing limits, and learning from every experience. John has remained committed to his personal and professional growth through both highs and lows. His adventures in the technology world and his perseverance show that it’s possible to effectively balance career aspirations with our passions and personal lives.

As he continues to learn and grow, John shares the following advice for fellow tech professionals looking to escalate their career:

  • Embrace continuous learning: The tech world is ever-evolving. Stay hungry and stay updated.
  • Seek out diverse experiences: New internal or external challenges are hidden treasures. Seek them out and let them shape you.
  • Forge strong bonds: Relationships within and outside the company are your bridges to opportunities. Cultivate them.
  • Welcome feedback: Growth lies in introspection. Constructive criticism is your mirror. Embrace it and evolve.
  • Stay proactive: Don’t just wait for opportunities; create them. Your ideas and initiatives are the driving force behind team and company success.

Maria Jose Rodriguez de la Garza

Posted by Maria Jose Rodriguez de la Garza on August 14, 2023