Surtej Sarin always knew he’d work at the intersection of people and technology. “I’ve consistently been fascinated by design, behavior, innovation, and building solutions,” he says. And as a cloud architect supporting clients like the Department of Defense, he does exactly that.
Surtej is a member of the first-ever cohort of Booz Allen’s Cloud Tech Excellence program, where he gained invaluable experience that prepared him for his client-focused work. His current role requires a combination of big-picture ideation, intense technical understanding, and the ability to communicate the benefits of undertaking a technology migration—skills that he honed during his time in Tech Excellence.
From collaborating on cloud migration projects to leading an agile team as a scrum master, Surtej uses his expertise to help clients “unlock decision making through data and communication that impacts large-scale missions.” We spoke with Surtej about how his time in the Tech Excellence program helped bridge his two passions: people and tech.
Why did you choose this career?
I really enjoy being creative and helping people. I get to experience this in consulting, and particularly in managing cloud projects.
At Booz Allen, I work with cutting-edge technologies, by which we provide efficient access to data that clients use to gain valuable insights regarding their processes, users, and businesses. This field also lets me work with a diverse workforce at all levels within IT, enriching my experience and helping me grow.
How did the Cloud Tech Excellence program strengthen your skills?
Going into the program, I had a strong technical background in coding and wanted to apply my skills in a real-world setting. I met like-minded individuals with energy and drive who were excited to modernize their skillsets on cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Jenkins, Kubernetes, and DevOps.
We were tasked with various hands-on projects that incorporated tools and skills I use in my current role. For example, my group’s final project incorporated DevOps principles, high availability, AWS services (such as identity and access management, elastic container registry, and elastic container service), CloudFormation, Jenkins, GitHub, and Docker. We collaborated on presentations for our senior leaders, which helped prepare me for client engagements.
What’s your biggest strength?
I can collaborate and work productively with a diverse workforce and communicate effectively with all levels of leadership within Booz Allen as well as with our clients. I enjoy different perspectives and the opportunity to communicate with many people throughout each day.
I enjoy being able to understand client pain points and then formulate effective solutions to help them achieve their business goals. I also work to digest tech ideas into something people can understand—and then build guides and materials to share that understanding.
What’s an achievement you’re proud of?
During the 2 years of COVID-19, I’ve helped with large migrations for government services, where our remote work tools became popular and scalable. After migrating the clients from on-premise to cloud, I created marketing materials and demos that explained how to use the technology. Recently, I made a video walkthrough on how to use a technology tool that was hosted on a government website.
How has Booz Allen given you the opportunity to take part in interesting work?
Booz Allen allows me to be empowered. I’m grateful to lead client engagements and internal volunteering opportunities which have expanded my perspective and horizon.