Career Snapshot: Nathan Rader, director of NFV strategy at Canonical
VanillaPlus: What was your first job?
Nathan Rader: When I was in High School I had a job working at a lumber company loading boards into customers vehicles. This job taught me the basics of customer service and also the fact that I didn’t want to spend my life working in a job that required so much physical labour.
VanillaPlus: What led you into a career in telecoms?
Nathan Rader: I graduated with a degree in Aerospace Engineering so I’m actually a rocket scientist. However, I completed my degree only a few months after the September 11 attacks. Following this, the entire aviation industry went into a recession and myself and my classmates had a difficult time in finding a job. As a student in university, I had been working as a student employee in the IT department and my manager then hired me as a full-time employee working in the telco team.
Working for the university allowed me to continue my education at the same time at no cost. I then was offered a job by Nokia as a new graduate and put on an intensive training course. I was introduced to all aspects of the mobile business taking training on Radio, CS, PS and OSS. Ever since then, the fast-paced nature and constant change in telco technology has fascinated me.
The industry is fast migrating from function-specific network hardware to software-based virtualisation functions, and using software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualisation (NFV) – it’s great to be at the forefront and leading this transformation.
VanillaPlus: Without naming and shaming, tell us about your worst ever boss.
Nathan Rader: Generally, I’ve been pretty lucky with bosses throughout my career. Some of my colleagues may feel differently but in general their style has worked for me. There are bosses who pretty much ignore you and let you do your own thing in the corner and I’ve seen some people really resent that – but in fact it suits my style.
VanillaPlus: What has been your most memorable business travel experience?
Nathan Rader: My most memorable business trip was a complete around the world flight. I was living in Seattle and I had meetings in Europe, India and Japan and the timing lined up so that I could literally fly completely around the world. I have done this many times since but the first time just felt special. As an avation geek trips like these are always interesting to me. This one in particular had a new type of aircraft I had never flown on before and A300 configured for domestic service only so the entire aircraft was filled with economy seats from nose to tail and the bathrooms were even placed downstairs in the cargo hold.
VanillaPlus: What has been the proudest moment in your career so far?
Nathan Rader: The proudest moment in my career has been the launch of the first LTE network in the world. I was working in Sweden for Nokia and was responsible for the deployment of the first commercial LTE launch back in 2009.
VanillaPlus: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Nathan Rader: I would like to see myself in a role focusing solely on strategy – I enjoy the long term vision of business. I would like to help ensure that Canonical has a long term strategy to bring its products and expertise further in the telecom space.