July 8, 2020
At GK we succeed together, and we fail together. But every failure is also an opportunity for growth, improvement and reflection. I sat down to talk with Senior Platform Engineer about the important work he does to keep all the GK machinery running smoothly, and how best to learn from our mistakes.
Tell us about something you do that you are very good at?
Consolidating a growing codebase into a stable and reliable product for our customers. The team moves quickly at GK, constantly experimenting with new ideas and solving problems. Customers, however, rely on our product working as expected. My role involves codifying the testing, delivery, and operations processes such that the entire team produces software that runs smoothly and avoids embarrassing failures. Synthesizing everything has forced me to have good technical fundamentals (ensuring sound design and testing, instrumenting applications, improvisational debugging) as well as people skills (to communicate new processes, deliver feedback, and surface problems).
What do you consider to be the most important aspect of your role?
Understanding problems that span the entire system. On the platform team, we’re responsible for making sure all applications and components work as a coherent whole. Modularization and abstraction are valuable (and necessary!), but keeping an eye on the entire stack helps us to anticipate bottlenecks, identify the highest-value projects, and contribute everywhere.
Do you have a favorite mantra or quote?
When writing code, this quote always helps guide me towards an elegant solution by identifying and eliminating barriers. At the team and organizational level, many big problems can be solved through sustainable, iterative changes.
Who do you most admire at GK and why?
In my career prior to joining GK, I looked up to two people as mentors: Tom Schady and Patrick Mahoney. I’m lucky enough to work closely with both of them again at GK. Tom has shown me how to think and act like a professional engineer at each level on the career ladder. I aspire to Patrick’s technical expertise; with his body of knowledge, the next step to solving any problem often seems obvious.