Music Behind the Tech: Libni Ortiz-Valles

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!

To be successful in technology, you have to have a lifelong love of learning. Because the technology landscape is constantly in flux, it’s imperative to always be acquiring new skills and new ways of thinking.

For many technologists, this love of learning often bleeds over into other aspects of life, which was true for Rackspace employee Libni Ortiz-Valles, who began learning to play the piano as an adult.

A Racker since 2010, Libni is currently a senior manager of quality engineering at Rackspace, which means she plays an integral role in keeping company IT systems and architectures up and running. But in the middle of her busy career at Rackspace, her two young daughters began taking piano lessons. Watching them practice ignited Libni to learn the instrument as well.

“I’ve always been passionate about music, so I decided I was going to learn too,” Libni said. “The passion was already there, but suddenly I wanted to actually learn how to play too.”

As she began to practice, Libni found great joy in creating particular sounds and moods. She was amazed at how limitless she found music to be, and she kept at it, practiced hard and continued to improve.

“The process of learning teaches you that you just have to be patient about step-by-step work,: Libni said. “What are you going to learn first, how do you put it all together eventually?”

As her team at Rackspace has grown, Libni has developed new skills, notably implementing Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) into her team’s workflow. The move to more automated quality testing has helped decrease release cycles and errors.

Interestingly, Libni found that learning piano has had a lot of parallels with her job at Rackspace, especially when it comes to acquiring a new skill or honing one that she already has.

“With music, you can’t rush it, you have to practice,” she said. “You have to continue working on the things you know you want to improve on, and the same is true at work.”

Libni’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 Libni’s answers and her specialized playlist.

Over the ear headphones or earbuds? Earbuds

Spotify, Google Play or Pandora? Pandora

Beatles or Rolling Stones? Beatles 

Biggie or Tupac? Skip

Miles Davis or Louis Armstrong? Louis Armstrong 

Waylon Jennings or Johnny Cash? Johnny Cash

Deadmau5 or Danger Mouse? Skip 

Song that is stuck in your head? The Show by Lenka

Best concert you’ve ever attended? Christina Perry’s concert because she was so real and unique and she loved her audience.  

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.

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