Rewards Through Time-Saving Projects: Meet Sandeep Sidhu

Feb 23, 2024 10:00 AM ET

Originally published on GoDaddy Resource Library

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your role.

My name is Sandeep Sidhu and I've been fascinated by computers for as long as I can remember. I always encourage my kids to pursue what they love. Initially, I started studying to become a chartered accountant, just like many others in my year group. However, during my final year of before graduation, I happened upon a summer project involving computers and fell in love with it. Despite the odds and familial expectations, I decided to deviate from my initial path. I dropped out and taught myself computer programming using books and magazines, as there were no local computer courses or colleges available at the time. Eventually, I pursued a master's in computer applications while working as a system administrator. Since then, I have never looked back.

Throughout my career, I have held numerous roles including System Admin, IT Manager, DevOps, and Site Reliability Engineer (SRE). Each role has contributed to my personal growth. I consistently update my knowledge of new technologies, primarily because I enjoy working with systems and technology.

At GoDaddy, I am part of the Recomm SRE Team as an SRE-V. Our team oversees the infrastructure for multiple EMEA brands and reseller teams. This infrastructure consists of hundreds of micro-services hosted on Kubernetes clusters and numerous on-premises servers. We ensure everything operates smoothly and carry out all necessary maintenance and improvement tasks. We handle a multitude of services used by various EMEA brands.

What project has been the most rewarding throughout your career journey?

Over the years, I've been involved in numerous projects, the most rewarding of which involved saving time and effort for multiple teams.

During my tenure at my previous company, I worked on an internal project that allowed several teams to check the status of customer VMs without the need for calls or waiting on other teams. It also enabled them to perform some diagnostics directly without providing full access. This meant that support staff at all levels could quickly check, report, and assist customers. This project saved countless hours that would otherwise be spent making calls or navigating multiple portals for the same information.

Within my team at GoDaddy, I had the opportunity to automate our certificates rotation. We manage hundreds of micro-services which we support, and they have hundreds of internal/external URLs across all environments. All these URLs use HTTPS and require regular certificates rotation, and some of those steps required manual intervention. To address this, I developed an internal operator compatible with our internal systems, automating the entire process of certificates rotation. This saved considerable man-hours and effort, and eliminated potential outages of missed cert rotations.

How has GoDaddy helped you grow as an individual?

GoDaddy has fostered my growth by allowing me to be myself. The company cultivates an environment where engineers are urged to do what's right. This ethos, which is embedded in our core values, always prioritizes the betterment of our customers. When you propose valuable ideas, team members support you in advancing them. Working on such projects enables you to grow, learn new things, and collaborate with colleagues globally.

It's beneficial that GoDaddy has roots as a servers and systems company. It houses many talented engineers, many of whom have ascended to management roles. Having managers who comprehend your technical challenges significantly aids project delivery.

Since joining GoDaddy, I feel I've grown not only technically but also in interpersonal skills through interactions with other exceptional engineers from various teams.

What advice would you give to an individual who is interested in a career in Site Reliability Engineering?

Being an SRE is a rewarding and fulfilling role. It guarantees that no two days are the same. You're always looking for ways to enhance existing infrastructure, designing new systems, and aiding developers with your systems engineering knowledge.

If you're interested in an SRE role, my advice would be to learn to have a holistic view of the infrastructure. In your daily tasks, don't just focus on the current task at hand. Start thinking about the broader impact of these changes. Consider questions like: How will this infrastructure be maintained? Who will maintain it? What's the backup plan? What happens if it fails? How will it be monitored? Do we have the necessary skills within the team for this new technology? Can all team members support this?

As an SRE, you're constantly asking these types of questions when designing, implementing new solutions, evaluating existing solutions, or addressing new requirements.

With an SRE role, the lines between being a developer and an engineer are even more blurred than in DevOps roles. Don't limit yourself to just the systems area. Venture into frontend development and explore new technologies in Node.js, React, or Vue.js. Understanding the language of the people you work with every day makes it easier for them to convey their issues and for you to understand those issues. Knowledge of UI and frontend tools can also help you build internal tools for the engineering team, resulting in a win-win situation.

Finally, strengthen your systems/networking fundamentals and develop a pragmatic approach to problem-solving. I strongly believe that solid fundamentals are crucial and will help you in the long run to become an outstanding engineer. Good fundamentals enable better debugging, troubleshooting, and even foreseeing potential problems before they occur.

What's your motto or personal mantra?

Stay Hungry and Stay Foolish. In other words, stay curious, keep learning, and keep growing. Always strive to be more interested than interesting.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Beyond work, I love cooking. I enjoy preparing various dishes for my family, including all kinds of Indian dishes, perfectly round chapatis, and parathas (Indian flatbread).

I also enjoy cycling with my children and visiting local parks on sunny days. We often have picnics, or I'll lie on the grass, listening to their stories.

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