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Check how to perfectly combine work as a Senior DevOps Engineer and Operations Manager with extreme hobbies! Meet Arek from the Krakow branch of Sii Poland and his passion for development and adrenaline 

Arek from Sii Kraków has been working for one of the largest clients of Sii Poland since 2017. Thanks to his work and great commitment, he has developed the team he leads and the scope of its activities in Operations and DevOps area. He approaches the development of his passions equally systematically and with great enthusiasm, which he has been consistently pursuing for years, deriving a lot of joy from them. For one of them, he received a grant from the Sii Passion Sponsorship Program. Meet Arkadiusz Antosz and his unusual passions! 

How did your adventure with Sii start and what do you do?

 I started working at Sii at the end of 2017 as an Operations Specialist, working on several applications implemented by one of the leading companies in the field of automation, robotics and electrification. The team in which I worked grew steadily and after a short time, we took over additional areas. Thanks to my commitment and the scale of the project I was soon delegated to support the new one. Currently we take care of a large number of applications, and in January 2022 I was promoted to Operations Manager and Team Leader for our Operations and DevOps team at Sii. My team has grown from 2 to 7 people!

What interesting things are you currently working on?

We mainly deal with the maintenance or modification of infrastructure. We take over new environments, verify and migrate from old Data Centers to e.g. Cloud or convert to PaaS (Platform as a Service) – if it is of course possible. We also manage several Azure subscriptions. Due to having our own Azure subscriptions we have a little more space for maneuver so we try to use the best possible solutions. In this area, probably my most interesting project also happened: the first migrations from On Premise Data Center to AZURE, which I carried out completely on my own. This is what turns me on and inspires me: the ability to act freely, independently. Quick and efficient closing of the entrusted topic gives me great joy, which is the best motivation for further work and development.

You really like new challenges – we can come to this conclusion by looking at how many active passions you have! At Sii, we got to know you primarily as a paraglider, because 3 years ago you applied with this hobby to the Passion Sponsorship Program. Tell us about your project.

I started my adventure with paragliding in 2016. In May I went with my friends to Macedonia to take a break from Krakow and celebrate my birthday. During the event at Lake Ochrid I received a gift which was a paragliding course of the first and second degree. And so it began! 

After completing the course, I gathered the necessary equipment and started taking my first independent steps in paragliding. It wasn’t easy at first. In May 2017 I went to Croatia to try my hand at Makarska (in the Biokovo mountain massif), but due to the weather conditions I made only one flight. Then I also took a few flights in Poland and Slovakia, but in fact I started flying from October 2018, when I decided to go on a package tour to Spain to the town of Algodonales. 

After some time I gained the right confidence and started to organize mini trips on my own for our paragliding group of friends. We went together to Macedonia (Ohrid), Albania (Llogara Pass) or even less popular Serbia. 

In my private trips I look for non-obvious places where we have very little chance of meeting organized tour groups. During flights I try to take the best photos and then I am happy to share them with my friends. However, this is not an easy task, because I cannot always afford to let go of the command lines and pull out a selfie stick in order to capture a cool moment.

Has the Passion Sponsorship Program helped you develop your hobby?

Of course, this is a concrete benefit! Thanks to the funding in last year’s edition I could afford to replace my previous wing Advance Epsilon 9 with Advance IOTA DLS. Switching from Epsilon to IOTA can be compared to changing from a slower car to a faster one. In addition to – of course – speed, I also gain a number of other possibilities that allow me to explore the air more and take more interesting photos. 

At what altitudes do you fly? 

It’s a little more complicated than you might think. In Poland, the flight altitude in a given place is defined by zones designated by the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency, which we should absolutely comply with – the maximum flight altitude has been set at FL095 (Flight Level). This is a value specified in feet and is equal to 9 500 ft, or about 2 895 m. In other countries we have to adapt to local regulations. For example, in neighboring Slovakia, the limit is 2 500 m which is slightly lower than in our country. 

A longer flight at high altitude, however it is not very pleasant due to a significant drop in temperature with increasing altitude. Usually it is from 0.4 to 1 degree for every 100 m. Therefore, despite the summer heat the vast majority of pilots before the flight dress in a lot of warm things not to mention even flights in winter. 

What was your biggest adventure with paragliding?

In January 2021 we went to Colombia. It was my most exotic experience related to paragliding. We were flying in the beautiful area of Valle del Cauca, which delighted us with nature and conditions allowing us to fly almost every day for the period of two weeks of our stay. These were not the best times for such a long journey due to the large number of unknowns related to the COVID-19 restrictions, but despite initial concerns, everything went smoothly. I would definitely like to go back there again! 

Apparently, you also have other interests – you play bass with a band! Tell us more about this passion! 

Yes, that’s right. In 2006 together with my friends we founded the Drown My Day band in which I play to this day. Over the years we have managed to play in many Polish and foreign clubs, share the stage with more and less known bands and record several albums. If anyone would like to get acquainted with our music, we are of course available on popular streaming platforms. We play heavy music bordering on Deathcore/Death Metal but we don’t close ourselves only in our circles. Together with the Poznan rapper Słoń, we recorded a music video and an alternative version of the song Mitsukurina, and our vocalist often appears on his albums. Despite a few line-up changes, the band has been operating continuously for over 16 years. During this time, I met a lot of interesting people and visited many clubs. We have some exciting events coming up next year, but I cannot reveal any details yet.

What about the passion for motorcycles? 

At the end of 2010 I passed category A driving license, bought a motorcycle, and in July 2011 I set off with friends on a month-long tour around the Balkans. The trip was quite ambitious and was not fully approved by our parents… The route led from Krakow through Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia – quite a lot for motorcycle novices. Before the tour, I spent every free moment on developing my motorcycling skills and on removing defects in a newly purchased motorcycle from ’85. It was a totally unsuitable for such tasks, uncomfortable Yamaha Virago 750, which after a year of use was replaced with Honda Shadow VT1100 C2 ACE. In turn, already in the next season I decided to change the vehicle to the class of motorcycle suitable for me, that is a touring enduro. When choosing a travel route, I usually avoid highways, expressways, big tourist cities and focus on exploring countries “from the inside” with a strong emphasis on nature. That is why I headed for a more undiscovered part of Europe, which is the Balkans. Of course, a lot has changed there during these last 15 years but I still really like this region of our continent. Since 2011 I have been regularly going on “motorcycle holidays” and to the previously mentioned countries, I can also add Bulgaria, Moldova (including Gagauzia or Transnistria), Ukraine and Kosovo. I also visited western countries by motorcycle: Corsica, Italy, Germany and France, but this only confirmed my belief that these are not destinations for me. For some time I have also been interested in Central Asia and the “States of Asia”. Unfortunately, the pandemic and the current war in Ukraine successively postponed my plans to go to Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan or Uzbekistan. 

Have you always been drawn to extreme challenges? 

Absolutely! I’ve never liked typical sports such as popular football. It all started in elementary school when I became interested in cycling in a slightly different way than my peers. Together with the kids from the neighbourhood, we started building our own obstacle courses. We spent almost every free afternoon digging pits in the ground and modifying the equipment. 

The last, perhaps most difficult question: how do you find the time for all of this? 

Finding time is the hardest part, but I try to use it as much as I can. If in my area there are currently no conditions for flying, I always have a few other options up my sleeve. I definitely avoid sitting at home in front of the TV and I’m always ready to get in the car and drive 200 km to find good weather. That’s just me. Very often I get carried away and after each trip I am already planning the next one. 

Do you also want to pursue your dreams and develop your passions with the support of the Passion Sponsorship Program? Check job offers and join us!

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