Matthew Ahrenstein has joined Pixafy’s staff and will be supporting Chris Deneen on the DevOps team. His background’s ecletcic, and his knowledge set makes him a great addition to the team. Here, he tackles Pixafy’s version of a welcome wagon: the dreaded Pixafy interview questions.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Originally I’m from East Islip, N.Y., but I moved out to Shoreham when I was 10. I’m currently living with my parents. My father is a Cat Scan Technologist, and my mother is a Registered Nurse. My brother is in school to become a lawyer (not law school yet) and my sister is following the same path, but is 4 years behind (she’s 4 years younger than my brother). I’m in a relationship for 2 years come November, and I have a Terrier-Poodle mix named Shadow. He’s 12 now, but still acts like a puppy.
Q: Where did you go to school, and what did you study?
I went to school at Suffolk County Community College, and was studying Cisco networking before being recruited to work at Brookhaven National Lab. [Editor's note: Matthew spent more than four years there before recently joining Pixafy.]
Q: Any mentors/other people who’ve been particularly instrumental in your direction to date?
My C++ teacher in high school gave me some advice that stuck with me. He told me that you should follow the path that makes you happy, but only if it seems a little crazy. That means it’s worth it.
Q: What is your first impression of Pixafy?
I love it! This seems like a great environment to work in, and I’m excited to be a part of the Pixafy team.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish at Pixafy?
I hope to grow my skills as a Systems Administrator, and to learn as much as I can in my field. I’d also like to tackle a programming language or two down the road.
Q: Hobbies/interests outside of work?
Outside of work I enjoy nature walks, hiking, and swimming (but I don’t care for the beach or the ocean). I’m also into amateur radio (HAM, GMRS) and once every few months I like to spend a day at the range target shooting.
Q: What kind of music do you listen to?
I mostly listen to classic rock, and foreign music. I occasionally listen to heavy metal, or piano concertos.
Q: Qualities you most admire in others?
Honesty is the most important thing in my book. I’m very big on that, and if someone is honest, I find that very admirable.
Q: Any pet peeves?
Probably people who litter. I’m not really into the whole “save the environment” movement, but littering annoys me.
Q: What’s your favorite part about being a DevOps Engineer?
My favorite part is using technology to make life easier. Home automation is quickly becoming an interest I’d like to pursue on a hobby level.
Q: Any unusual hobbies that we should know about?
While I know it is not possible, my friends and I like to make survival plans for when the zombies come.
Q: If you won the proverbial lottery, what would you do with your windfall?
If I won the lottery, I would probably keep doing what I’m doing, and just not worry about financial stress. I would probably buy a few more servers for my house, and upgrade my ISP bandwidth though.
Q: What’s something that no one at Pixafy knows about you (until now)?
When my dog and I are alone I will converse with him in “his native language.” It gets him excited, and makes his tail wag faster than you would think possible.