Creating Tech Leaders of Tomorrow
Altaz Valani has always been curious by nature. As long as he can remember, he has wanted to know how things worked. He would take things apart and then try to put them back together again. As he got older, he wanted to help and teach others what he had learned. Even though he harbours a deep passion for technology, he once contemplated teaching as a full-time profession. As it turns out, he was able to do both.
“I am passionate about helping people in technology learn and grow. I want to see them succeed. I suppose it is a part of the service mindset I was raised with as a child. I see no greater sense of purpose in life than to build strong relationships, influence others, and watch people grow beyond their perceived limits.”
This service mindset is what led Altaz to first become a Computer Engineer, and then an acclaimed Leader and Mentor in the DigiTech space. Today, he is the Founder of DevSecOpsMentor.com; a Board Member; an International Conference Speaker; Collaborator; and Researcher.
He serves as a Board Member at OASIS where the organization has a clear mission to improve practices in cybersecurity, blockchain, and more. He also helped create a global standard for software development practices (commonly referred to as DevOps) through his work at IEEE. Over the past few years, he’s also been on the Forbes Technology Council engaging with senior executives and leaders to share thoughts and insights about current technology trends and future impact.
“I want to see a world where the young Engineers of today become passionate Leaders of tomorrow. This transcends the need to solely acquire technical knowledge which is so prevalent today. The passion I speak of is grounded in an ethical and socially conscious context of making this world a better place. The working groups I am part of all embody this philosophy. I would love to see our young leaders build up their own communities and help other engineers. I want them to think bigger and view obstacles as opportunities to grow, learn, and change the world for better.”
Altaz’s inspiration stems from his life journey which is filled with a rich and diverse range of experiences and cultures. He comes from an Indian background, was born and raised in Africa, and is now living in Toronto, Canada. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering from McMaster University, and MBA from the University of Western Ontario.
Following his education, Altaz worked in both entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial roles where he worked alongside senior-level stakeholders at blue chip clients to drive business value through software development. This work included multiple roles across business and IT. Over his career which spans over two decades, he has been the Senior Manager of Global Learning Systems at KPMG; Senior Research Director and Executive Advisor at Info-Tech Research Group; and Director of Insights Research at Security Compass, where he was a mentor, collaborator, and influencer for building secure software.
Today, he is the Founder of DevSecOpsMentor.com, which provides mentorship to young Engineers. His mission is to help these engineers build a strong personal brand and become active contributors on a global stage with the goal of influencing the IT industry for good.
“There are a lot of very talented young engineers in software development, security, and IT operations. Despite their success, they long to do something more meaningful and lasting. This sense of purpose and destiny is intrinsic. The outward manifestation of this desire is to jump from company to company looking for a connection with their sense of purpose. I want to provide a pathway for these young engineers by connecting them with other like-minded people around the globe – both young and seasoned engineers. These young engineers are then introduced to global working groups, conferences, webinars, and podcasts where they are active participants. This helps them build their brand and platform. Eventually, they should create their own communities of interest and expand their participation on a global stage. Step by step, precept by precept, they are transformed into our technology leaders of tomorrow.”
In the course of Altaz’s journey, the challenge has been staying true to the mission and value proposition. Only from a clear mission can operational challenges be overcome. This means operational activities like Finance and Marketing support the mission. In Altaz’s experience, it takes both hard work and luck to realize a dream. Hard work is manifested through daily discipline and fortitude. Luck is seen through serendipitous meetings, angel investors, and people who jump in to help without any expectations.
“As I reflect back on my life, I would say there are three key things that stand out. First, I am responsible and accountable for how I live my life irrespective of the current circumstances. Second, life is short; time only goes forward. That means seizing the window of opportunity to try and make a difference, to help others however small that might be. Third, have fun. This life is so rich in opportunities to learn, share, and grow personally and relationally. One lifetime cannot exhaust or satiate the desire and curiosity I have to explore and discover the world around us.”