C-suite career advice: Ryan Lasmaili, Vaultree

What, if anything, would you change about the route your career path has taken? “Absolutely nothing. I would never replace my life experiences… The good and the bad have taught me how to have thicker skin and understand how to approach different scenarios.”

Headshot of Ryan Lasmaili, Co-Founder and CEO at Vaultree
Vaultree

Name: Ryan Lasmaili

Company: Vaultree

Job Title: Co-Founder and CEO

Location: Ireland

Ryan Lasmaili is a commercial and strategic leader with international experience in leading complex projects across different verticals. With 12 years of startup experience, he is an expert in technical product development, market growth strategy and business operations. In the last 5 years, Lasmaili’s core focus has been on complex cybersecurity and encryption development.

What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received? Never give up on your dreams. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you can’t do it. Always believe in yourself. Don’t expect others to roll out the carpet for you, you roll it out yourself and pave your own path.

What was the worst piece of business advice that you received? During my first graduate role after college, I was told not to leave the office before my boss leaves. One day, my boss actually fell asleep at his desk and I stayed. I didn’t get home until 5am.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in IT/tech? Start early and start broad. It’s a big industry. You never know what area might be attractive to you. To start a career, you need to get a grasp on the different options within IT/tech, such as coding, analytics, research, etc. I suggest to go to tech fairs to network and always keep an open mind, you never know what you might come across.

Did you always want to work in IT/tech? I didn’t always work in IT/tech, my background is originally in financial math. I love numbers and applying that skillset to the real world. I’m less interested in theoretical problems and more into applied math for real world scenarios. It wasn’t until my fourth year at college during an econometrics project when I wanted to build a program that would help make financial traders’ lives easier, that I explored my interest in tech.

What was your first job in IT/tech? My first tech job was founding my own tech startup in college, building a platform for companies to use advertising platforms and earn money, measure performance and have a shared revenue model.

What are some common misconceptions about working in IT/tech? The biggest misconception about working in IT/tech is that you have to have a deep technical background. I know people who have studied non-technical backgrounds and have become excellent engineers.

What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position? If you’re striving for a c-level position, you need to position yourself early by getting to know the company from bottom to top and be prepared to get your hands dirty across different verticals within your business. It’s crucial you understand the business, not just the technical side. Get involved in projects that are out of your scope. Talk to people outside of your department. Try to get engaged on all levels, from customer facing to product to back end.

What are your career ambitions and have you reached them yet? My career ambition is to create solutions for difficult problems and bring those solutions to the market, making them accessible to everyone.

Do you have a good work life balance in your current role? Currently, no. As a co-founder, you work many more hours than you expect and there is always something new around the corner. But it’s part of the excitement of the journey. Being able to call something your own makes it all worth it.

What, if anything, would you change about the route your career path has taken? Absolutely nothing. I would never replace my life experiences. Life has taught me a lot. The good and the bad have taught me how to have thicker skin and understand how to approach different scenarios. I now look at things from a different perspective which I would not have been able to do when I was younger.

Which would you recommend: A coding bootcamp or a computer science degree? I recommend both. Try to find time to listen to podcasts, get to know the topic whenever you can before committing to a bootcamp or a degree. Speak to people who have done it about their experience.

How important are specific certifications? Certifications are somewhat important…it depends on the certification. It’s good to get a certification on a complex platform that you’d like to understand better, but I do not recommend investing time in certifications that you have no interest in applying to your future career.

What are the three skills or abilities you look for in prospective candidates? Skills are a given but a personality fit is important. Someone who can fit into the environment of the team and being able to work together is crucial. I tend to trust my gut feeling when interviewing by seeing how someone communicates & reacts to different scenarios.

What would put you off a candidate? Someone who waffles is definitely a red flag. Dishonesty is a deal breaker because I have to be able to trust my team. Trust is really what can make or break a team so that one is non-negotiable.

What are the most common mistakes made by candidates in an interview? How can those mistakes be avoided? A common mistake I see are candidates who don’t do research on the company and understand what they do prior to their interview. However, everyone can make a mistake, don’t worry about it too much. Being nervous is normal.

Do you think it is better to have technical or business skills – or a mix of both? It is better to have a mix of both. Understanding the customer & business requirements will lead to making a better product.