“There’s not a single boring day at Webbing”
Dairis Kliesmits, NOC manager at Webbing, shares his story from working at a supermarket to becoming a network engineer, joining Webbing and growing to lead its NOC team, and tells what makes the company so special.
Getting a degree in telecommunications was one of the best decisions I have ever made
I’m from Latvia and spent my childhood in a small town called Auce near the border with Lithuania. Now I reside in Riga and have been studying and working here since 2009.
When I was a kid, I wanted to be an architect, but life had other plans. In secondary school I had a good physics teacher, and she had contact with Riga Technical University. I participated in contests and Olympiads held at the university since 8th grade, won a couple of contests, and when it was time to decide where to study, I chose to get a degree in telecommunications from RTU. That was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
My first job was at a supermarket. I started as a stock boy stocking shelves and checking the termination dates, then moved on to become a manager. That’s where I gained my first management experience. By then, I completed my telecommunications degree and started looking for a career in the field.
I joined Webbing because I wanted to grow
I started working at an international telecommunications company, where I gained my first practical knowledge in networking: how the Radio Access Network works and how calls or data sessions can be established. I started at the lowest position as a specialist, after two years I moved up the ranks to a Network Operation Center (NOC) engineer, and a year later – a senior NOC engineer. I decided to get a master’s degree, but I didn’t finish it since it was more theoretical than hands-on, so there was little I could apply in my work.
It was about this time when Webbing first approached me and asked if I was keen to explore new opportunities – they wanted to open a NOC in Latvia and were looking for staff. I was interested, but since I was pursuing my master’s I was not ready to change my workplace at the time.
Yet, I was tired of both the routine that I had and of not getting a chance to express myself at my current company. I worked there for 5 years, already knew a great deal about Radio Access Networks and was interested in learning something new. I wanted to grow. So, about half a year later I updated my CV on LinkedIn, and an HR company recruiting employees for Webbing asked if I was open for a position change. This time I didn’t hesitate, and the recruiting process went quite well. Since I had no experience in IoT, core networking or IP networking, I did some research – I needed to know a thing or two about Webbing, the market, and the networking part too.
Growing with Webbing
I may not have had a lot of knowledge and experience, but I gained it in the coming years.
I started as an engineer in the Webbing NOC team being built. I was the third person to join the team, making me one of the first members of Webbing’s NOC.
For the first couple of years my work mainly focused on the core network and the IP networking elements. As the team expanded, we opened new positions, and I was promoted to a senior NOC engineer. A year or so after, a new opportunity came up.
Webbing was growing, and when a new VAS team was created, Anete, our NOC manager, moved there. While she was leading our NOC team, Anete and I worked closely together: the senior NOC engineer needs to support the manager and at times takes some of the manager’s responsibilities. Besides, I handled all her duties whenever she would go on vacation. So, when the NOC manager role opened, I was considered for it.
I did have some management skills but not the experience needed when I took over as the NOC manager. Other managers were older and more skilled than me, so I turned to them for advice and completed a management training course that really helped. Webbing offers various courses, and if you are open to learning new things – just go for it. There are no restrictions, if you are keen on learning and want to educate yourself, it’s a great place to do that. And it’s not only technical or management – you can choose language courses and anything else that can help you in your work or has added value for you.
I feel I’m in the right place
I’ve been working in my new position and leading the team for about half a year. So far it has been a lot of fun but a lot of hard work too – and it proves that I’m in the right place. I only get good feedback on how I take responsibilities for the NOC team, so everything is going well.
Webbing is growing quite fast, and in many new fields. We are learning all the time; our Dev team and our Product team are developing new functionalities. There will be plenty of new stuff for sure that we’ll need to learn about and adapt to. It’s not like you get into some kind of routine here, like doing the same thing every day for a year, things are constantly changing.
My personality is changing, too. I guess I have become more flexible, quickly learning and adapting to any opportunities that the company has. Moreover, I learned to stand up for my opinion, not to say yes to everything, and define the direction we should be heading.
As you take on more responsibilities, there is a danger of getting overloaded, especially if you don’t know how to distribute all the tasks within the team. But as you handle each new situation, you understand that you don’t have to do it all by yourself, there are people that have your back.
Although we spend a lot of our time at work, spare time is very important as well. My free time is always with my family or girlfriend, this summer we bought paddleboards, that’s my new hobby. I also like walking and riding a bicycle at night – there’s no sun and there’s less traffic.
Webbing’s culture and ethics is what makes it so special
Within our NOC, I work with 7 team members. I don’t get to see each of them very often since we work in shifts, so you can easily not see someone for quite a long time. But then we meet and catch up: “Hey, how you’ve been? I haven’t seen you in a while, I missed you”, and it gives you that feeling of not really being at work. I mean we are colleagues of course, but at some point, we become friends, or even more like a second family.
Stressful situations are part of working in a NOC team. You need to be prepared for it, you can’t avoid it, it will happen. You will be challenged, and you’ll need support. And in that regard Webbing is second to none. All the people at Webbing that I have contact with everyday are supportive and inspirational, they keep on cheering me up, and this support means a lot to me.
I think that’s what makes Webbing so special – relationships and people. You get any support you need, and not only on the technical level. If you have a bad day, if you feel sad or something is not going well, you can get an extra hug whenever you want. And I’m not talking about the NOC team exclusively, it’s the ethics and the culture of all Webbing.
At Webbing you get a lot of friends from all around the world
Although we are located in Latvia, we have many events that make us feel we are part of the company as a whole. There aren’t just Israelis and Latvians, there are people from France, the US, Canada and more. At Webbing you get lots of friends from everywhere. I really enjoy meeting people. We have meetings on Teams and remote sessions on a daily basis, but when you meet people face to face you get a different feeling, different communication.
Webbing has a good balance between work and play. Even during the workday, you may have a chat, play soccer or ping-pong or whatever, plus there are different team events and happy hours.
Another thing that I like about my work here is that there’s no routine. Working in NOC, each day you get issues and problems that you need to handle and solve, so there’s not a single boring day. One will not get bored here, that’s for certain.