Getting to know datacenter employees: Justin Chellakkudam Jacob
Datacenter Employee Spotlights work to illuminate real-life examples of pathways into IT careers and provide potential role models to those looking to access to inclusive economic opportunities.
Introducing Justin Chellakkudam Jacob
IT Operations Manager
Employee since 2013
Justin grew up in Kochi, a coastal town on the southern tip of India, along with two younger brothers. He spent much of his spare time playing cricket and basketball with his friends and watching his favorite show “Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot” after school. Justin got his first exposure to technology when he chose computer programming as his co-curricular activity so he could play his favorite game “Paratrooper.” This experience exposed him to computer programming in FoxPro, COBOL, and C.
The path to technology
Justin graduated from secondary school during the dot-com boom time when technology careers were popular. He enrolled in a Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science program. During his early years pursuing his bachelor’s degree, Justin had the opportunity to study fundamental engineering specialties like mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering. Once Justin graduated in 2004, he went to Singapore to pursue his master’s degree in Information Technology, specializing in Computer Networks. After completing his master’s, Justin started his career in systems engineering and project management. He worked in different industries like pharmaceuticals, airlines, and power generationIn 2013, Justin joined Microsoft as an IT Service Engineer (the old title for Datacenter Project Manager) and then moved into his current role as IT Operations Manager.
Justin’s superpower is his “can do and never give up” attitude, which helps him to approach challenges as opportunities. For example, he set up the first Circular Center in APAC in the Singapore Datacenter, retrofitting the existing network room for this purpose. The Circular Center contributes not only to Microsoft’s initiative to become carbon negative by 2030. Justin also took part in the company’s community development initiatives like the Aspiring Women in Datacenter Program, which provides female ITE students insight into datacenter operations to encourage more women to join the datacenter workforce, and the Work Study Program, a joint initiative of Microsoft and Singapore Institute of Technical Education (ITE) that helps recruit new talent. These projects had roadblocks and challenges, but Justin’s attitude of facing every challenge as an opportunity helped him to overcome these roadblocks.
A day in the life
A typical day at work for Justin starts with a 5-15 Operations meeting, a 15-minute session in which the team discusses what needs to be done that day, with an emphasis on safety per the team’s commitment to “zero accidents.” DC Operations is very dynamic, so Justin and his team learn new things every day. This keeps the job exciting and engaging.
Favorite childhood food
Being in Singapore, a food paradise, Justin likes to try all kinds of food. If he had to choose a favorite, it would be banana fritters—Kerala pazham pori made from plantain banana, or goreng pisang in Malay.