|Role||Instaclustr Co-founder and Senior Software Engineer|
How did you get started working in IT?
It was a natural progression of sorts. I have been interested in computers from an early age. I am also a causal PC game player, but I’ve always been more interested in how video games work rather than playing them. In high school I focused my efforts on IT-related courses. I enrolled at the Academy of Interactive entertainment post-graduation and tried to sink my teeth into games development. This was my brush with the video games industry — one that is now an extremely stressful, churn-filled industry. I instead headed to the ANU, and took up employment with a local Canberra company. My focus quickly shifted from uni to my job — real world challenges are more interesting than theoretical problems.
At a previous job I contracted to Geoscience Australia and worked on their satellite data processing tools and pipeline. That stuff was big data — hundreds of gigabytes per day.
In my spare time I tinker with my homelab — a combination of hardware and software, networking, virtualisation and other technologies.
What sort of training or education do you have?
I have an (incomplete) Bachelor of Information Technology (major in Software Development) from the Australian National University. I also have a Diploma of Computer Games Development from the Academy of Interactive Entertainment. A significant amount of my programming and hardware knowledge is self-taught.
How long ago did you join Instaclustr?
I was here from day one 🙂
What gave you the idea to start Instaclustr?
Ben Bromhead (our CTO) and I were working together on a proof-of-concept project that required a scalable & highly available database engine that supported flexible schemata. Our research lead us to Cassandra. We searched for a hosted solution, similar to what we offer at Instaclustr, as we didn’t want the overhead of managing a Cassandra cluster ourselves. Yet our searches came up empty. Ben and I identified the lack of a managed hosting solution for Cassandra as a market gap and thus pivoted our efforts into creating Instaclustr.
What’s your favourite part about the company?
Watching it grow from 2 people into a team of nearly 30. We’ve built an incredible team of dedicated and knowledgeable people and being a part of that is amazing.
What is a typical day like at your job?
As a member of our engineering team, I spend a most of my day working on the software powering our hosted Cassandra solution. This includes implementing new & exciting features and improving existing ones based on customer feedback, and assisting our Technical Operations team in solving tickets. The engineering team has a daily stand-up style meeting where we discuss what we’re working on and raise any current issues.
Our engineering team manages a complex stack of technology including multiple cloud providers (Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform and IBM SoftLayer), CoreOS and Debian, Docker, multiple versions and distributions of Cassandra, plus our own custom applications that handle our console and provisioning systems.
What is your advice to someone interested in this field?
Nurture a desire to continuously learn. Challenge existing ideas, even your own. Experiment.