2022

TESTimonials: Programming from the Heart


Software Developer

While Averna is dedicated to help global customers produce market-leading high-tech products, this could not be achieved without their talented team of employees. Averna understands that each group and department are linked, and every individual is required to make the company a success. In this series, Averna will chat with one of these individuals and understand their point of view on their contribution.

Since 2012, Alejandro Garnica has worked as a software developer at Averna, first in Guadalajara, Mexico, then in San Rafael, California. Originally, Alejandro studied to be a mechanical engineer but enjoyed the variety software development has to offer. In addition to his love for international dance where he has performed Salsa, Bachata and Cumbia in different venues, Alejandro is getting close to reaching his goal of visiting all 63 national parks in the United States. (In May of 2022, he stands at 21.)

Q: Where were you before Averna and how did you get here?

A: Before coming to work with Averna I joined a startup company where we developed an educational robot called “Edubot”. It was a great project developing a robot that could interact with kids using voice commands. We had a great success, but due to some budget issues we had to stop the second phase. Afterwards, I decided to explore other options as a software developer and noticed a green booth at a big tech expo in Mexico City…the Averna stand. I did some research about this company and after learning more about Averna I decided to apply for a software position.

I was hired as a junior software developer, which was my first experience in the test industry. After a few years working with the team in Guadalajara, I got offered an opportunity to move to Reno, Nevada in the USA and I decided to resign to follow the “American Dream”.

During my time in Reno, I worked for a company that built RF transmitters. There, my main task was to create new software to test the different products and support production in the existing testers. It was at this time Averna opened an office in San Rafael where I later applied to come back.

Q: What attracted you to software development?

 A: Even though I received my degree in Mechatronics, I was already involved in software development back in college. Afterwards, I was able to take several courses to help me improve my software skills and become one of the first 3 certified LabVIEW associate developers (CLAD) in the region. Then, everything aligned to move into the test industry. Truthfully, as a student it took me a while to fully understand how to program and develop software solutions, but eventually I was able to master these skills and create new opportunities. For me, one of the biggest attractions of software development is the fact almost every electronic device contains software, so I keep facing new challenges.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of your current role?

A: I really enjoy working with new technologies and in some cases the technology doesn’t even exist yet. Sometimes it will only get to market in the following months or years! We have some customers that need to prepare their test facilities in advance to be ready for final production.

At Averna we constantly deploy systems in different sites around the world, so travelling has become one of my favorite activities. It is a great opportunity to visit new places and meet new people while you are working. Not everyone has the chance to experience travel for both pleasure and business.

Q: Is test engineering a more challenging field for an engineer with the range of technologies that must be mastered?

A: Yes, it is! Test engineering requires a lot of skills not only software but also electrical and mechanical. Plus, having a good understanding of troubleshooting is a huge asset.

Q: Have you had any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you’re committed to in your work and life?

A: If you pay attention, there are always people that can influence you, especially in a global company like Averna! For the past 3 years Jeff Halnon was my manager. He has been one of the biggest influences in my career due to his incredible experience and his particular way of teaching lessons through experiences he has had.

I am committed to deliver the best of myself but not compromising my personal ethics. My priorities are my family and personal life, then the environment and sustainability and third I must enjoy what I do. I believe that what I do should make the world a better place to live or improve the life quality of people.

Q: Do you feel you achieve a good work/life balance?

A: Sometimes! During my career I have gone through different phases and not all of them had a balance. After almost 10 years in the industry, I now prioritize the balance between work and my personal life.

Q: What are you most proud of?

A: I am proud to be part of a company that works with other big-name companies that are creating new technologies. I am also proud to be surrounded by very experienced and creative people. Averna has an extensive number of professionals around the globe that are capable and willing to help when it is needed. Lastly, I am proud of myself for all the projects I have worked on and the impact I made on those projects.

Q: What have you learned from Averna that will be a takeaway for the rest of your life?

A: Working for Averna has been an amazing ride! There are always ups and downs, but what I take away is all the people I have met and the relationships I have built along the way. This includes customers that have become good friends and co-workers that have almost become part of my family!