Joel Knight

Personal Career Data Sheet

Personal Info


Joel Knight


Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Current Occupation:

Senior Cloud Infrastruture Architect, Amazon Web Services (Canada)



About Me


  • Married to Valerie
  • Dad to Connor and Ellie
  • Two cats that think they're dogs


  • Listen first
  • Respect, always
  • Integrity at all times


  • I have a mountain bike with two flat tires but a pair of running shoes that are pretty well worn.
  • I have a love/hate thing with airports: I constantly feel like I'm going to be late when I'm travelling through one yet I love reading about and observing how airports work. Airside operations fascinates me.


  • I like to build things and I like IT.
  • I used to build computers, then networks. Now it's cloudy things and hacking on code.


Exploring the Details

I naturally focus on the fine details and firmly believe that taking care of the little things makes a big impact in the end. Give me the details and watch me dig right in.

Using Multiple Skills

My technical interests and experiences are very broad which I compliment with a range of soft skills, particularly when it comes to written communication. I get the most enjoyment out of bringing multiple skills to bear on a task.

Pride of Ownership

I believe that my work represents me, my brand, and the people I work with so I work hard to ensure I can confidently stand behind my work.

Building Things

I derive a huge amount of pride in building something and then standing back and taking it all in. The more impactful and valuable the thing is, the better.

Sequencing a Plan

Once I'm onboard with the desired vision or outcome, give me the ground rules and then turn me loose. I love figuring out how to get from "now" to the desired end state and then working that plan.

Interests Interests & Passions


This goes hand-in-hand with my "build things" and "plan things" motivators: identify a need, determine what the software would look like that would solve that need, work out the dependencies, requirements, etc, needed to create the software and then go write some code!

Open Source Software

I'm a big believer in jumping in and improving and/or fixing things where there is a need. Open source projects are perfect for this because they afford me the chance to dive in and improve software (or documentation) that I use regularly. I've been a committer with the OpenBSD project, I write about improving software and I contribute code using Github.

Sharing and Teaching

I consider myself a "doer" and not a full-time teacher, however I believe very strongly in sharing knowledge and experiences. The IT field is so big that it cannot all be learned from books. We must all be teachers. My primary outlet for sharing is my blog which focuses on different areas of IT.

Amature Photography

When I say amature, I really mean amature. And of course there's a geeky twist: I photograph wireless antennas and access points; the more esoteric, the better. I blog the photos on my "I Spy Wi-Fi" blog.

Career Goals

Have an Impact

I want the ability to have a direct, meaningful impact on my teammates, the company, customers, or any other relevant party. I want to be able to draw a straight line from me to the end results.

Tackle the Big Problems

I don't shy away from working on big problems. They excite and inspire me. Big problems come with big rewards in terms of impact and satisfaction.

Work/Life Co-existence

With today's technology, we're able to stay connected and work at all hours of the day and night. I need an environment where disconnecting is ok and family time is valued and seen as an integral part of being happy, healthy, and productive.

On the Front Lines

I want to see first-hand how technology is solving real problems. I believe that seeing how customers apply technology is the most exciting position to be in.

Inspirational People

I learned a long time ago that being around people who inspire me is one of the best things I can do for my own development. I love to learn from people smarter and more experienced than I am.

Career Path

2003: Network Analyst, Shaw Communications 24x7 network operations at Canada's second-largest cable provider

  • Technical skills
  • Troubleshooting & root-cause analysis
  • Learned the importance of accurate documentation very quickly!

2005: Network Specialist, TELUS Communications Senior network operator responsible for national IP, MPLS, ATM and metro area networks

  • Understanding the difference between building a network and engineering a network
  • Learned the importance of IT life-cycle management
  • First exposure to devops and network automation

2008: Technical Lead, MEG Energy People & technology leader for IT infrastructure team

  • Big adjustment understanding corporate IT as a "cost" vs service provider IT as a revenue generator
  • Requirements gathering, ralationship building, the value and necessity of understanding how the business works
  • Working directly with vendors on strategic projects; learned how procurement and ordering works

2012: Systems Engineer, Sales, Cisco Systems Assigned to named accounts in the Calgary area

  • Sales processes, language, priorities
  • Vertical expertise: upstream oil & gas, midstream oil & gas, transportation (airports)
  • Combining business and technical acumen to solve real problems

2017: Systems Engineer, PoV Services, Cisco Systems Conducting value-focused technology demonstrations and testing for Cisco customers

  • Exhibiting technical leadership on the team that proved on-site workshops have significant positive impact on solution-based sales
  • Managing risk related to schedule, cost, and resource utilization against the strength of a given sales opportunity
  • Practicing the nuance and subtlety that makes a deep-dive demonstration really honest and impactful in the customer's eyes

2018: Solutions Architect, Amazon Web Services Assigned to enterprise and named accounts in the Calgary area

  • Learned working backwards as a strategy: start with customer outcomes in mind and back into just the right solution
  • Continued growth as a public speaker by delivering one-to-many education and enablement workshops, immersion days, and builders' days
  • Became more focused on business level challenges and outcomes vs. only technology outcomes; expanded my focus across the whole technology/business spectrum

2020: Senior Cloud Infrastructure Architect, Amazon Web Services Architecting and delivering cloud infrastructure for customers in Western Canada



Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert #47321, Enterprise Infrastructure


Cisco Certified Design Professional


Cisco Certified Networking Professional, Enterprise


Cisco Certified Internetworking Professional

CCNA Voice

Cisco Certified Network Associate, Voice


Information Technology Infrastructure Library, Foundation Level

AWS SA Professional

AWS Certified Solutions Architect Professional

AWS SA Associate

AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate

AWS Dev Associate

AWS Certified Developer Associate

AWS Networking Specialty

AWS Advanced Networking Specialty

AWS Security Specialty

AWS Certified Security - Specialty


Sun Certified System Administrator for Solaris 10


Technical Writing

  • Instructional guides, marketing material, solution and architecture briefs.
  • Details! Spelling, punctuation, grammar, formatting, and consistency throughout the document.
  • I like to illustrate my writing with diagrams, graphics, or example code/commands in order to create a more impactful document.


  • Accepts responsibility and follows through dependably and consistently.
  • Coaching of junior engineers and others that may be new to the team. I believe strongly in the "teach a person to fish" approach.
  • Influence via subject matter expertise, experience, and personal connections.


Architecture Beyond just speeds and feeds

  • Marrying business needs with technical solutions.
  • Network scalability, service level objectives, and fault isolation.
  • Operational processes and network servicability.

Cyber Security Security as a mindset

  • Analyzing a system for security weaknesses.
  • Secure system design using techniques such as principle of least privilege, modular architecture, and security boundaries.
  • Secure web application development and practices.

Operating Systems

  • OpenBSD, FreeBSD, Linux.
  • Patching, upgrading, troubleshooting, and tuning.
  • Security assessments.
  • Devops-style administration with scripts, automation tools, and writing/analyzing operating system source code.

Web Technologies

  • HTML, CSS, JavaScript development.
  • Website skinning and theming.
  • Translating visual designs into web code. This website is an example
  • Backend platform, middleware, and database operations. Both of my blogs are self hosted


Open Source

  • Ansible
  • Git, Subversion
  • MySQL, PostgreSQL
  • nginx
  • OpenSSL
  • OpenSMTPD
  • OpenVPN
  • Wordpress
  • Zabbix