What happens when an incredibly talented soccer player gives up the chance to go pro and becomes a systems engineer instead? I sat down with Jose Sotes, a Project Manager at Making Sense, to find out.
A two-year veteran on the job here at our company, Jose embodies all of what it is to be a great manager. In addition to his technical skills, he is without question the nicest person you’ll ever meet. But more importantly, he’s humble and always looking for opportunities to help.
Let’s start with a quick snapshot of Jose and his background.
A Career Path With a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Jose is a soccer (football) player who’s passionate about engineering. Long before he came to Making Sense, when we was just starting out, Jose came to a fork in the road of life. He was presented with an opportunity lots of kids dream of but never even come close to fulfilling: being as a professional soccer player.
While most people would jump at the chance, Jose faced a tough decision. He was torn between his passion for soccer and his passion for software.
His ambition and passion for software won the game.
Since then, Jose has always tried to find a balance between his two life passions.
He’s been successful at it, too. Why? One of his theories is that the degree of success a player has on the field will carry over into life. Jose considers himself lucky to have many friends with whom he shares his passion for football.
At some point early on, Jose realized that he wanted to become a systems engineer and he started pursuing his goal, graduating from Universidad Tecnológica Nacional, in Argentina.
The Perfect Lineup of Skills and Talent for a Project Manager
Regarding his technical background, Jose has experience working in different fields in the software development industry. He first got to see the industry in action at a bank where he performed as a developer for almost 2 years. He then started working at a company that offers Quality Control (QC) products. After learning the ropes, he then moved on to working more behind the scenes with “meatier” projects. This is where he got an up-close look at the world of Quality Assurance (QA)— their practices, processes, and more. Then it was on to the United States to become a certified Quality Assurance pro. Jose’s career ambitions were coming to life and he seemed to be finding his niche.
Moving on from the QA job, his next step was to one of the most important Health Insurance companies in Argentina, where he started working in the Project Management office. At this point, he got a taste of what it was like to interact with the higher-ups in the company and to make a real impact.
Finding His Groove at Making Sense
Jose considers himself as a very restless person, always looking for improvements and opportunities. He’s actually uncomfortable if he identifies a situation where he feels he’s not providing value to what he is doing. His solution has been to acquire a diverse set of skills and expertise from all the different positions in all the different tech companies where he’s worked.
It’s with that wonderfully rich background that Jose landed at Making Sense.
Here, we’ve put Jose to work on lots of different projects. Throughout his journey with us so far, he has discovered that he loves working on projects related to the public safety industry. For him, it’s the opportunity of doing something that could change people’s lives:
“You are not developing a common app, you are working on something that can save people’s lives and that is rewarding beyond the professional realm.”
Here’s the interview with Jose, where he talks about job satisfaction, the life of a PM, and the industry in general.
What gives you job satisfaction?
I believe a lot in empowerment. I think that you have to try to be a better professional each day and help your team members to do the same, either by providing them the resources or encouraging their growth. I like to share my experience with them. I find that very satisfying.
I am a really blessed and grateful person, for the opportunities that I have had during my life, and I think that it is really important to share that blessing. I feel, and I am convinced that this kind of profession is a bridge for allowing people to become professionals in the industry and thus, a bridge to a good life as well. From our profession, we can help people to have a better life, and that is what is really motivating for me.
What do you feel are the challenges of the industry these days?
I think that there are a lot of them! But as a software provider, one of the main challenges that I can see is the difficulty that we have in finding talent with the standards that we are looking for.
The Argentinian market, which is really very good, is full of people with good education and language skills. We are very focused and persistent in general, and this provides us with value as employees. And the demands of some specific positions are such, that the talent is like difficult to get because of the number of offers that resources receive for the different industries.
What do you like most about Making Sense?
What I like most about Making Sense, apart from the company’s values, is that we have the chance to propose things, to provide value from different sides, not just to deliver value from within our specific roles. It provides a really good opportunity to share our previous experiences, with very open-minded people, and you feel that your suggestions are heard, regardless of whether or not they are applied. The chance to share this is very important.
Do you use PM skills in your daily life?
Always! In my personal life, I am continuously applying these skills. I am the oldest of five brothers so I was responsible for making sure that every brother does the task they were asked to do. So, I kind of acquired all the necessary skills for becoming a PM at the very beginning.
I am also collaborating on organizing processes and structure at a non-profit soup kitchen center in Azul, my little town. I really enjoy helping people to achieve their goals. This is one of the best things about my profession!
He spends his free time playing soccer (football) and fishing in the stream, a half-block away from his home, with his daughter and wife. We are really very happy to share our days with such a good person and with all the good vibes he brings to the office!
Would you like to meet more Making Sensers? Here’s a past interview with our Co-Founder you may find insightful and interesting.