PTSC Staff Spotlight: Alex Huang

This story is the second in a series featuring members of PTSC who are on their second round with the company. In this instalment we feature Alex Huang, who has rejoined PTSC again after a 7 year hiatus. The reader should be reminded that our company has undergone a rebranding effort, so some of the acronyms for the company’s name may be challenging to follow at first glance.

Alex enjoys taking the time to travel and discover the world around him, both on his own, or with his wife and son.

When I first met Alex Huang, I thought he was a brand new employee with PTSC. He never fails to have a certain type of curious nature sparking from his eyes, and there’s a genuine smile that beams forth, giving every encounter with him a sort of fresh innocence. I can tell that he’s an attentive father and husband, even though I’ve never met his family. Although he refers to himself as “shy,” he has an approachable and friendly nature, and I can see that he is someone who desires to share with others as well as being someone who enjoys being on the receiving end of learning from new challenges. I sat down with Alex recently at the Louisa Coffee across the street from our office where we chatted about his previous journey with PSC (the name of our company before rebranding) and how he came to rejoin our company after being away for 7 years.

Alex and I both sit down with our beverages. Outside the weather is stormy, perfect for sitting in tea or coffee shop to enjoy our drinks as we reminisce about past journeys and look forward to hopeful future adventures.

What did you get today for lunch?

小鳥不吃肉 (Veggie Birds).”

I know he is particularly fond of this restaurant, as he was the one who introduced it to me one time when we ate together previously in the office.

Could you give me a timeframe of your journey with PTSC?

“Firstly, I’m employed by PDC. PDC is a subsidiary company or sub-department of PTSC. PDC primarily deals with IBM solutions and works as a distributor for IBM products. My first stint was with PSC from 2011 to 2012. After this time I worked with a company called Neweb Information from 2013 to 2020. I returned to work at PDC from 2020.”

When you worked with our company before, what was your primary area of focus?

“At that time I was more focused on IBM hardware as a system engineer, tech leader, and project manager.”

Why did you decide to leave the company at that time?

“I was rather new in the field, and I knew that there was a lot that I wanted to learn. The IT industry is changing all the time and moves at a really fast pace. At that time, I wanted to move faster and learn more than I thought I was able to at PSC. I felt that the company was moving at a slower, more methodical pace than I wanted as a ‘young and hungry’ guy in the tech industry.”

Tell me a bit about your time with Neweb and why you decided to leave.

Neweb was, indeed, working at a different pace from PSC. I felt like when I moved over to Neweb, it really pushed my limits during the time I was there. Although I learned a lot at Neweb, I really didn’t have any sort of work/life balance. I remember that I would often get off work around 7 or maybe 8 in the evening, and then I would come home, have a bit of dinner and time with my wife and son (now ten years old), and then as soon as my son went to bed my laptop was open again. I’d be getting messages from my boss at all hours, as I was expected to answer questions at the drop of a dime. It was very very busy.

That must’ve been difficult. So what was it that brought you back to our company?

“Probably one of the most important things is that although I still have this desire to learn, I don’t need to chase that break-neck speed that I was facing day in and day out at Neweb. Work/life balance is really important. I kept in contact with my former employers at PSC, and there was a position opening up with more of a focus on IBM hardware/software solutions’ pre-sales. Besides being able to have a job where I knew I would be able to spend more time with my wife and son, there was also this opportunity for me to move into a different field (from hardware to software) than I was working in before. I spent a lot of time during my previous job teaching myself knowledge through online courses and working with different colleagues. Now I can continue to apply this knowledge and continue to work in what is now PDC to help as an IBM pre-sales distributor. This is totally different than what I did before, and I’m getting to learn and apply what I learn directly.”

The conversation with Alex was not just one-sided, and he also asked me about my journey with PTSC and how I came to work with the company. I expressed my own reservations and lack of knowledge about IT and asked him what he hoped that I could do and learn as a CLO with the company. He mentioned that he hoped I would be able to grasp a basic knowledge of the foundation of IT concepts and structure. I mentioned that I would love to learn as much as I could, and he said that he would be willing to teach me. When I asked when we should schedule some time, I was surprised to hear his reply.

“This afternoon is fine. I have some time.”

I didn’t know where to start, so I just took him on a tour of some of my recent work projects, and he helped me with some basic excel shortcuts. Afterwards he shared a basic diagram that he made which outlines the overall structure of IT in an easy-to-understand format. All the pieces come together to create a strong foundation.

A diagram Alex put together that illustrates the basic puzzle pieces that make up the foundational structure of IT. During his first few years he focused on infrastructure, network/platform/storage, backup, and monitoring. Now he’s entered a new phase of his IT journey focusing more on database, security, and application.

To wrap up this conversation with this IT journeyman, I asked him one more question. I wanted him to leave his colleagues some advice, and perhaps inspiration. Below, I provide his answers both in his native tongue of Chinese (so as not to miss anything), as well as in English.

What advice would you say to anyone who is wanting to change their career path, but stay with PTSC/PDC at the same time?

“多嘗試去瞭解與你共同在專案裡合作夥伴們的工作內容,藉由瞭解他們的工作,來增加彼此的合作默契,更可以拓展自己的知識領域廣度,或許這將會成為你下個階段的參考依據。Try and have a better understanding of the work content of your colleagues in the projects that you are involved with. Through understanding their work, you can increase mutual understanding of how you can cooperate with one another, and you’ll open your mind and eyes to a wider breadth of knowledge. Perhaps through understanding your colleagues’ work, you’ll have a tangible reference point for your next phase of professional growth and development.”

American residing in Asia since 2004. Blogs focusing on life observations, improv, food, creating a learning organisation, management, and stretching time.