In this podcast, Derek is joined by Gerrard Arguelles, a part of the employee series of the Outsource Accelerator Podcast intending to highlight the caliber and the potential of Filipino employees that can help employees and company owners flourish in the west.
- Gerrard shares that he started his career as a technical trainer which helped him hone his skills.
- HE took the teaching opportunity to increase his knowledge about technology and at the same time, improve his people skills.
- Gerrard says that he’s always happy to go to work knowing that he’ll learn something new, exciting, and challenging every day in his chose field.
- Gerrard now works with iStack Holdings and he is currently their senior developer. His team is responsible for building internal tools like admin dashboards for companies to manage their workers.
- Gerrard shares that his company pays above average the current salary bracket. He receives about PHP 100,000 a month.
- The current educational system cannot keep up with the how fast technology is changing.
- Filipinos are very family oriented that’s why working remotely from home is not as effective as other workers from other countries.
- The Philippines has many holidays compared to other countries.
Derek: Welcome to episode 82 of the Outsource Accelerator Podcast. My name is Derek Gallimore and today, I am joined by Gerrard Aguelias.
I will let Gerrard introduce himself. I don’t want to double introductions and I also do an introduction within the interview, so we’ll get straight into it, but effectively, Gerrard is part of our employee series where I intend to highlight the caliber of employees, staff, team members here in the Philippines and I know that there is fantastic caliber here in the Philippines, and they can help you and are super, super keen to help you and your business flourish out there in the west.
Enjoy this and I hope it’s good insight into what is available. If you want any of the show notes, then go to outsourceaccelerator.com/82. Enjoy.
Derek: Welcome back, everybody. Today, we’re joined by Gerrard Aguelias. Hi, Gerrard. How are you?
Gerrard: Hello, Derek. How are you? I’m good.
Derek: Fantastic. Yeah, I have invited Gerrard onto the show because Gerrard is, he’ll introduce himself but he, from what I understand is a developer and we’ll sort of deep dive into his specific skill sets, but really just wanting to highlight the caliber of roles over here, the caliber of candidates, the potential over here in the Philippines that it isn’t just call center staff and VAs and things like that, but there are actually the full range of skill sets over here and Gerrard is fantastic up for that so to give people a bit of insight in the west.
I just want to deep dive a little bit into who you are, Gerrard, your experiences, and also what kind of drives you. Welcome and yeah, do you want to give us an overview, I suppose, first of what you do day to day?
Derek: Wow, cool. Can I just deep dive into that first one? You were a kind of a skills trainer. That is within a BPO setting, was it, and then who were your students? Were they guys sitting in the west like executives or what sort of profile was it?
Gerrard: No. I worked for a company called Phoenix One. Phoenix One is a training provider. Some of our clients are, for example, BPI, UCPB, those companies that send their staff to us for training like for example, they will be upgrading from Visual Basic 6 to C#.NET. We also did trainings for Accenture. We were a consultant for Accenture. We trained their new hires. I’ve handled trainings there for Java.
Derek: Right, so the major corporates and then kind of teaching them the new like codes or languages or processes, yeah?
Derek: Right, fantastic. You were saying you moved into Java yourself in terms of actually building code, writing code?
Gerrard: Yes. I just took that teaching opportunity just to learn more about technology. To be honest, I wasn’t really confident enough when I graduated and so I think I need to learn more and being trained and teaching where you try to learn new technology not for yourself but for others is actually really effective. When you study something that you will teach, you understand more and you learn faster.
Derek: Yeah, they say that, yeah, like the best way to learn is by teaching.
Gerrard: Yeah. After two years, I decided, okay, I think I’m ready and I applied for a programming job and I worked for Ayala Systems and worked on some very large projects.
Derek: Cool. What did you do at university? Was it like Computer Science?
Gerrard: Yeah, I graduated with a BS IT Major in Solutions Architecture.
Derek: Right, okay. The thing with technology I like with development and stuff, it moves so fast, yeah?
Derek: So university courses can almost be redundant as soon as you’ve taken them and often, it’s as you did, you kind of learned the skills on the go and then you developed yourself and worked into a career, yeah?
Gerrard: Yeah, actually, that’s the problem with the current educational system. It can’t keep up with the phase of how technology evolves, like every month, there’s a new framework that is better than previous months’ technology. That’s how fast it evolves.
Derek: Yeah. How did you learn? Did you just go online and look at the blogs and free tutorials in YouTube and self teach?
Gerrard: Yes, actually, I created a Twitter account for the sole purpose of following tech people, people who wrote frameworks, people who write books, people who tweet about the latest trends. I also invested in learning tools like Pluralsight and Code School. It’s like $29/month but it’s really, really worth it.
Derek: Right. What I find really exciting is that you are sitting in Manila and there’s someone maybe sitting in Silicon Valley the same age as you and certainly in your line of work now, there’s almost equal opportunity and because you’re all accessing the same kind of educational platforms, aren’t you?
Gerrard: Yes, exactly.
Derek: And you’re all within one kind of tech community, you’re all hanging out, you’re all tweeting, chatting, blah, blah, blah in the forums and so it really provides a huge opportunity for the Philippines to upscale and really be on par with the best in the world. Do you kind of agree with that?
Gerrard: Yes. Actually, I completely agree.
Derek: It’s amazing, huh, and there is a sort of, well, historically, there’s obviously cheaper salaries here and there’s lower cost of living, so for a long time, yeah, there will be salary disparity, but I just see it as fantastic opportunity for businesses in the west to tap into highly, highly skilled people here in the Philippines that are all basically now learning from the same resources and acting within the same communities but at a cheaper rates. Is this a passion of yours? Are you really into this scene or is it just a job for you? What’s your take on it?
Gerrard: Actually, I’ve just really grown to love this field and I’m really always excited about the future for this field. Currently, it’s not just, I don’t really treat it as a job, so technically, there’s no Mondays for me where I drag myself to work. I’m always happy to go to work and just having the knowledge of you have to learn something new every day, there’s always stuff to learn every day, and that’s what really makes this exciting and at the same time, a very challenging field. You don’t really want to get left behind.
Gerrard: That’s what makes it really exciting.
Derek: Can you sort of describe your current role? Are you working for an agency or are you working on building out a specific system or a lot of small projects?
Gerrard: Yeah. Currently, I work for iStack Holdings. They originally hired me as a senior developer. We work on internal tools because I was working for their conference department, so we organized conferences for Asia and Europe. It’s called Affiliate World Conferences. It’s an affiliate marketing conferences. It’s twice a year, one in Asia, one in Europe. My team and I are responsible for building internal tools to help make our co-workers productive and just focus on what they do best. We build admin dashboards for them to manage the workers.
We build portals for them to make it easier for them to collect information of our sponsors and not to have to email them manually and remind them manually. We build client facing websites, which enables us to sell tickets and sponsorships.
Actually, I have a new role and all of this is kind of new to me. I’m now currently the lead developer of conferences and I have like six people in my team, eight including the graphic designers. It’s all kind of new to me, having a leadership role and being entrusted that role. That’s something new.
Derek: Yeah. now, you’re learning the subtleties of management and managing people and managing people’s egos and emotions.
Gerrard: Yes. That’s another something new. I’m currently trying to improve.
Derek: Yeah. You never stop learning, you know.
Derek: iStack then, just to give more insight, the client facing is all kind of western overseas sort of clients, is there, and this is kind of Philippine-based backend that builds it all out?
Gerrard: Yeah. It’s actually a global company.
Derek: Right, okay.
Gerrard: Sorry, what about the backend you were saying?
Derek: What kind of proportion of the staffing would be in the Philippines? Is it all Filipino-based or it’s sort of like the back end of the coding and things like that?
Gerrard: Yeah. the development team is, I mean, all the developers are based in Manila, the directors are from New Zealand, Hong Kong. We have our dev ops in Bulgaria, so it’s a very distributed workforce and another fun thing about it is you get to work with people overseas and you kind of compare how they work with your current work setup and just getting to work with people overseas will really teach you a lot.
Derek: Yeah, I mean especially in your gig, yeah, like in tech. We’re all becoming one world like we’re all working on the same projects. We’re all communicating with each other through Slack and how do you do your workplace communication? Is it over Slack?
Gerrard: Yeah, we mainly do it with Slack. Slack is awesome.
Derek: Yeah. I’m still pretty green on Slack. But it seems to be taking the world by storm. Give me a bit of insight then into what sort of pay scale would the devs be getting paid for your kind of skills set in the Philippines? What’s the sort of common going rate?
Gerrard: Alright. Actually, our company pays above average from the current salary bracket. They usually pay above average. In my role, it’s between P100,000 above.
Derek: Right, okay. That’s P100,000 and just for everyone sitting at home, that’s around about $2,200 per month, which is then about $24,000. Do you have a sense of what a similar role, similar qualifications, similar experience in managing six people what that would get paid in Silicon Valley for example?
Gerrard: Sorry I’m not familiar.
Derek: Right. Okay, interesting. Fantastic. Where do you see your future going? What are your ambitions and where do you want to be five years from now?
Gerrard: Currently, I’m just really focused on learning and preparing myself for tomorrow. That’s my current mindset, but for longer future goals, I would like to get back to school. I’m thinking of getting a master’s degree in think in data science just to learn more and of course improve my people skills. It’s now dealing with people.
Derek: Yeah, they are completely two different skills, like the tech side and the people side.
Gerrard: Yeah, but my teaching experience is really useful in dealing with people. That’s where I really learned how to properly interact with people.
Gerrard: Sorry, where were we?
Derek: No, it’s perfect. Thanks so much and what would you say to people that are trying to move into your career like the guy sitting in the Philippines. How would they go about it?
Gerrard: Oh yeah, I think the most important thing if you’re thinking of outsourcing to the Philippines is 1) just get to know the Filipino culture. It’s really important because it’s really different here and say Eastern Europe or New Zealand or in the US. It’s very different.
Derek: How? What are the examples of the, what are the key tips?
Gerrard: For example, working remotely here is not as effective as for example in the US because Filipinos are very family oriented and they don’t really move out from their relative’s home. Most of the Filipinos live with their families and if you live with a lot of people, it’s very hard to focus. Most people I know who want to work remotely will move to their own apartment. That’s’ actually one example.
We have a lot of holidays. I think more than twice than New Zealand and we just tend to celebrate, I think we tend to celebrate everything even barangay fiesta, barangay celebration.
Derek: Now, that’s interesting. I preach this to our clients that part of it is learning how to outsource but a lot of the guys that people work with in the Philippines, they are very experienced in working within outsourcing firms and BPOs and all that, so actually, the people that need the most training are actually the employers, the owners of the businesses and the clients of the BPOs because there’s some subtleties and nuances they have to get used to get the best out of their teams.
Derek: Fantastic. Thank you very much, Gerrard. It has really been great insight talking to you and I appreciate your time and your insight you’ve given here. I wish you the best in your career going forward.
Gerrard: Thank you so much.
Derek: Thank you.
Derek: Okay. That was Gerrard Aguelias. He is a fantastic guy, I’m sure, with a fantastic career ahead of him. I really wish him the best and if you want any of the show notes to cover anything we discussed in this then go to outsourceaccelerator.com/82 and of course if you want to ask us anything, then drop us an email at [email protected].