Five questions with Jose Arvelo
Learn about our newest board member, Jose Arvelo! Jose serves on the Van Dalen board as business strategy advisor. We chatted about his favorite aspects of his job, potential impacts of AI and what kind of technology advancement he sees approaching in the future.
1. What do you love most about your job?
I like being able to deliver meaningful customer outcomes, provide strategy and ideas and help solve my customers’ business problems. My job is to help bridge the gap between business needs and a technical solution, so I get to merge those things together to bring meaningful impact to the customer.
2. You have an uncommonly diverse technical skill set. What is your favorite part of working on the network, in infosec, and end user computing?
My skillset is definitely diverse, but I actually feel that the traditional engineer is going to morph into a technical professional with a broader skillset – more like me. People are going to start adapting themselves with a better depth of skills and experience rather than solely focusing on one area.
Working at a small organization has allowed me to take on more responsibility. I have had no choice but to wear many hats, and I feel that more people in my field will follow suit.
I started my career as a network admin, and I really liked being right there with the end customer. I got a lot of exposure to different lines of business and how IT impacts organizations. I was able to step in as a technical resource and play a role in the direct influence and impact on issues as they came up, which is where I got a lot of satisfaction.
Moving into information security, I had to develop a very different mindset from my beginnings as a network admin. I went from being people focused to risk focused. I went from being on the front line supporting end users to being the guy who looks at the technology that can help strengthen the security posture and network, implement new solutions, analyze the risks, determine how a hacker would attack this, etc. The relationship with my customers really changed when I took on this position.
Finally, I switched to end user computing, which brought back a lot of the passion that I had when I was working in support and I was again having more of a direct impact on the front line. When done correctly, it can be a force multiplier for business, and the best part is that I actually use the technology that I recommend to the customers. I truly believe that I can help people “work smarter not harder,” and give them the ability to be successful. This position makes me feel like I have more of a direct impact than cybersecurity.
3. Everyone has an opinion on the positive and negative impacts of AI on the world. What are your thoughts?
First off, AI is not a new concept. It has been something that’s been around for decades. We’re starting to hear more about it because it’s “trendy” and I have to state that AI and machine learning are here to stay. The amount of computing power becomes more affordable every day and will have an increasingly greater impact. We don’t think about the aspects of machine learning in the tools we use every day…think about Gmail. It introduced a functionality where it completes sentences for you as you start typing. If we can use AI to simplify something like our email typing tendencies, imagine what we could do on the macro level. Another example is our iPhones: Every time I hop in my car, my iPhone gives an estimate of the time it will take to get somewhere because it’s been tracking my behavior, recognizing my patterns, etc. There are so many ways AI is helping us every day.
4. What is your most unique technical skill?
I wouldn’t say that I have a unique technical skill set. My most unique skill is my approach to problem-solving. A lot of people struggle with ego and pride when they’re going through a decision-making process. They typically make a decision and they become apprehensive to change their minds.
A lot of people also take negative feedback to heart, but I try to be cautious of my ego getting in the way. It’s important to remember that changing your mind is okay! It’s a marker of intelligence when you’re giving something continuous thought because you want the best outcome. I think that my approach to problem-solving has reflected in my career and relationships with people.
5. What area of technology advancement are you most excited to witness in the next 5 years?
There is a lot going on right now. I would say the area I’m most excited about is the application of AI in the next five years. The underlying thing that makes your smart devices work (Alexa, Siri, etc.) is AI. That is what makes them helpful – they learn from you and your habits.
I see the future as being a Star Trek type of world where people can make things happen and get access to data through voice like Alexa. We can streamline everything through voice and we won’t have to go through a convoluted process. Streamlining the amount of time doing things will allow us to focus on more important things.