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By Tim Estiloz
Boston – As a manager and principal application developer in the Stored Value Card (SVC) department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Carlos Aillon works with a team of engineers and analysts that design and support technical solutions for the U.S. military. These solutions enable military personnel to use smart cards to easily make purchases and handle other financial transactions.
“I had no intention of becoming a corporate guy,” said Aillon who has worked at the Boston Fed for eight years. “I was actually trying to get into the Marine Corps through the officer program. But in the end, bad vision kept me from pursuing that and I didn’t know what to do next.”
After earning a bachelor’s degree from Austin College, Aillon worked as an inventory control clerk at a large credit card company where he had the chance to pursue his interest in application development by designing a simple report and tracking system.
“It all goes back to that job where I learned the fundamentals of system design, relational databases, and programming,” Aillon said. “From there, other opportunities came up – most of them at banks – and I eventually landed a job here at the Boston Fed.”
Working at the Boston Fed has provided Aillon with many opportunities to put his passion for working with people and developing new software applications to use.
“As a developer, I love figuring out problems … whether you’re hunting down a bug or developing something new, you get critical thinking involved,” he said. “To me, that’s what drives me… the ability to see what the problem is and come up with a solution. I love interacting with my customers and my co-workers.”
Aillon’s parents, who he considers to be among his greatest role models, have played a major role in his professional life and success.
“My first mentors were my parents. They have a strong work ethic,” he explained. “My dad and mom were Colombian immigrants. My dad went to Med school and was always working late to support and create a good life for us.”
In addition to hard work, Aillon believes part of the secret to career success is possessing strong personal values and character.
“My parents believe in hard work but you also need to have strong character,” he said. “I’m grateful to have great parents who instilled those values in me. I think we are presented with opportunities on a daily basis and a person’s values and character helps to eventually lead us to taking advantage of those opportunities to become successful.”
Aillon believes persistence and understanding the perspectives of others are also important keys to professional success.
“It’s really about the willingness to work hard and improve. I also think empathy is important… to try to understand and know where your boss or customers are coming from and what they are looking for,” he said.
In terms of career advice that he would like to offer to others, Aillon stresses the importance of staying positive.
“Don’t be a pessimist, but expect that there will be times when you’re going to fall down,” he advised. “Success is about getting up, learning, and moving forward. I say smile, be friendly, and have a good attitude.”