Music Behind the Tech: Major Hayden

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!

Music is a great way to set the stage for an action that’s about to happen. That’s why Major Hayden, a principal architect who works on our OpenStack Private Cloud, listens to music with a strong and uplifting beat when he’s working on software development. When it comes to other tasks, however, the tune changes.

“If I’m answering email or dealing with Excel, things that aren’t as exciting to me, I’ll listen to hard rock or something that’s a little more aggressive,” Major said. “It takes a lot for me to want to work on those types of tasks.”

Prior to becoming a software architect, Major was a biology major planning to attend medical school. He soon realized that path wasn’t going to work out, so he switched things up and pursued his love of computers.

“I started learning all about Linux and ended up at Rackspace as an entry-level tech, helping customers fix their Linux problems,” he said.

Major’s love of learning helped him advance to a manager-level role for Mosso, Rackspace’s first foray into the cloud. After we acquired Slicehost, Major started working as an engineer on the Cloud Servers team.

After a stint in corporate security, Major came to his current role as a software developer and an architect on the OpenStack team. He is also a member of our  Technical Career Track (TCT) and takes it upon himself to help Rackers hone their technical chops, through onsite presentations and his insightful blog.

But when it’s time to really crank out code, Major looks to more uplifting EDM-style music. In particular, he enjoys a podcast called Group Therapy, which is two full hours of songs with melodic music, heavy beats and sparse vocals.

“What I really like is that at the end they usually feature a DJ you’ve never heard of,” Major said. “It’s really uplifting, it’s a great podcast to keep you focused. And when it’s over you feel ready to go and attack the next project.”

Major’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 Major’s answers and his specialized playlist.

Over the ear head phones or ear buds? Over the ear headphones.

Spotify, Google Play or Pandora? Google Play.

Beatles or Rolling Stones? Rolling Stones.

Biggie or Tupac? Tupac.

Miles or Louis? Skip..

Johnny or Waylon? Skip.

Deadmau5 or Danger Mouse? Deadmau5.

Song that’s stuck in your head? Macarena or something like that [laughing].

Best concert you’ve ever attended? The best concert I ever attended was oddly enough one that I thought was going to be pretty terrible. My parents dragged me to see Elton John when I was eight years old. He was doing The One tour and I was like, “Elton John, who is this guy?!?” I got to the Erwin Center in Austin and it was one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen in my entire life… I thought it was amazingly cool and I was an Elton John fan at eight after seeing that.

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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