HAMIDA REBAI TRABELSI is a passionate learner who juggles multiple roles with ease: a senior technology professional at one of Canada’s government agencies, a Microsoft MVP, a mother. Hamida’s journey to Software and Cloud Architect at Revenu in Quebec has been one of determination; as one of the only two girls in a classroom of 28 boys in Tunisia, North Africa, she used the computer lab at school to teach herself PASCAL programming. Today she is the only woman on Revenu’s Cloud Migration team, architecting the agency’s migration strategy to digitize all their data by March 2023. An expert on the use of Kubernetes for data digitization, Hamida freely shares her knowledge through blogs, technical articles, and conferences. Hamida shares about her experience with Kubernetes and what she’s working on now in this discussion.
Tell us about your job at Revenu. What are you currently working on?
Renevu is a government agency that encourages social and economic development in Québec. We help individuals and businesses understand and fulfill their tax obligations. Specifically, we administer tax legislation and the social programs entrusted to us by the government; we collect debts and run checks to ensure that tax laws are applied fairly; we collect support and pay it to the rightful recipients.
As you can imagine, our work generates huge volumes of unstructured data. The ability to mine data in a manner that scales and is accurate is super critical to help us do our job thoroughly and serve the taxpayers and our various constituents. I am currently architecting and implementing our cloud migration strategy, which is a multi-year project to digitize our data across multiple clouds. Doing so will help us have a common structure for data, which in turn will yield greater accuracy and help the agency work with greater speed. We will also have the capability to apply AI models in the future. For applications that we are not able to migrate, we are working on plans to rearchitect them using containers and microservices.
Tell us more about the use of containers and their impact on your migration project.
In order to simplify the deployment and management of applications based on microservices, we used containers with Kubernetes orchestrators. To ensure the continuous integration and continuous delivery and secure DevOps implementation with Kubernetes using Azure DevOps, AKS is also a reliable solution for bringing DevOps and Kubernetes together to improve the speed and security of the development process.
In order to ensure our huge volume of applications function without any problems, we use Constant Monitoring in AKS and in Azure to accelerate the feedback loop. Azure Pipelines help us deliver faster while staying compliant with critical policies specified by Azure.
During peaks AKS and Azure Container Instances offer several functionalities to help us scale and manage costs based on our consumption.
Who has been the single biggest influence on your life and career?
My father. As one of the only two girls in a classroom with 28 boys back in Tunisia, I was determined to pursue my passion for software programming and having my father’s support was immensely valuable. He always encouraged to keep learning and growing; at a time when progressive parents expect their kids to become doctors, he acknowledged my aptitude for and supported me in pursuing software as a career. I learned the importance of being responsible for my choices and not to take the opportunities I have been presented with for granted.
Clearly your father ignited the spark for learning in you. How has that become a full-fledged passion and how do you stay up-to-date yourself?
Well, for me learning is my way of having fun. Whether we are on vacation or it’s a regular workday, I create time within my day to learn something new. Learning has become my hobby, my favorite pastime. And when you’re having fun and it adds value to your entire life, it becomes something you believe in strongly and that has translated into a passion for me.
My dream would be to create a consolidated web-based learning platform where I can share articles, blogs, podcasts with others and they can do the same.
As far as staying updated myself, I am committed to training others which propels me to keep up with the latest tech. Also, as an MVP, I get access to a ton of latest information from Microsoft, which keeps me current. There is also a vast amount of free training available. In fact, I just delivered a training on ‘Essentials of Azure Kubernetes Services’ that is available on LinkedIn Learning and I am delivering a talk on ‘Deploying an application on AKS’ at the Cloud Summit.
Your advice to developers?
Data is the most important asset today and learning about Kubernetes will make possible data interactions that were previously unthinkable. So definitely learn more about Kubernetes. Beyond that, I encourage all developers to commit themselves to lifelong learning.