Music and tech make a perfect pair — coding, troubleshooting and focusing on projects are often accompanied by a soundtrack for many in the IT industry. Whether it’s getting into that “flow state” or simply dialing in on a complex problem, listening to music seems to be the method of choice for IT employees looking to unlock creativity.
In this series, called Music Behind the Tech, we’ll help you get to know Rackspace employees, their stories and the relationship between the music they love and their work. We’ve even embedded their playlists at the bottom of each post. Rock on!
At Rackspace, we like to think of our employees as heroes. By providing Fanatical Support, Rackers often save the day for customers experiencing a technical issue or looking for a better solution to fit their IT needs.
As every good hero knows, the right soundtrack is key. That’s one of the reasons Ashley Brooks, a SAN storage engineer at Rackspace, turns to heroic/epic playlists while she’s helping customers.
Ashley got her start in the service industry, where she worked as a general manager for a popular San Antonio hotspot. When her father (who also works at Rackspace) told her about an upcoming job fair, Ashley decided to jump at the opportunity and make a career change. In 2011, she joined Rackspace as a support specialist, helping manage the ticket queue for our direct-attached storage engineers.
Ashely thrived in her new role, and after a brief stint, her manager offered her the opportunity to become an engineer herself. She began to train with her colleagues and studied all the ins and outs of storage. After a lot of learning and obtaining key certifications, Ashley took on her new role as a storage engineer.
“At Rackspace, there’s no hoarding of knowledge,” Ashley said. “Everybody freely shares what they know with each other. We do a lot of cross-training and learn each other’s specialties. It’s a very open and friendly place.”
When it comes to helping her customers, Ashley likes to pump herself up by listening to music found in movies and television shows.
“It’s not a problem of a dragon attacking your village, but it’s a problem nonetheless, and I’m there to solve it,” she said. “When I’m working the ticket queue and it’s an all-hands-on-deck, heads-down kind of day, I like to listen to these epic-heroic instrumental pieces.”
Ashley added that she enjoys this style of music the most (at the right times) because it gives makes her feel heroic and gives her the motivation to dig into even the trickiest of problems.
“I like it when I get something that’s hard to understand, it’s convoluted and I can break it all out, separate it, get it organized and present solutions,” she said. “That gives me personal satisfaction.”
Ashley’s Liner Notes
We end each of these profiles with some musical questions so you can get to know the Rackers a little bit better — here are Ashley’s answers and her specialized playlist.
Over the ear headphones or earbuds? Earbuds
Spotify, Google Play or Pandora? Pandora but I’m switching to YouTube Red now.
Beatles or Rolling Stones? Beatles
Biggie or Tupac? Tupac
Johnny Cash or Waylon Jennings? Johnny Cash.
Deadmau5 or Danger Mouse? Danger Mouse
Song that’s stuck in your head? Well, now I’m singing “Ain’t Nothing Gonna Break My Stride” because we talked about it!
Best concert you’ve ever attended? The best one recently was the Game of Thrones symphony that came to San Antonio in March. That was really cool.
Stay tuned for our next Music Behind the Tech profile and visit Rackspace to find out more about our experts and the ways they’re helping customers tackle their toughest IT challenges. And whether you like smooth jazz or hard rock, if you’re looking to start your own career at Rackspace, be sure to apply online today.