Simon Emms

Software Engineer, Technical Leader, Solutions Designer

Skills

Languages and Frameworks

NodeJS
TypeScript
PHP
Python
Go
Express
Restify
Vue
Angular
React

DevOps

Docker
Kubernetes
Ansible
Terraform
Git/SVN
CI/CD
Semantic Release
GitOps

Cloud Providers

AWS
Azure
DigitalOcean
Google Cloud Platform

Data Stores

MySQL
PostgreSQL
MongoDB
ElasticSearch
Cassandra
RabbitMQ

Principles

Design Patterns
SOLID
12 Factor App
MicroServices
Agile (Scrum/Kanban)

Other

IoT
OpenFAAS
Mentoring
Leadership

Education

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International Politics and Strategic Studies | University of Wales, Aberystwyth

    Interests

    Gardening
    Beekeeping
    Birdwatching
    Woodworking

    Profile

    An engineer with a wealth of experience in technical leadership, the software development life cycle and implementing a DevOps culture in an existing team. With over a decade of experience building highly scalable software, I can quickly grasp even the most-poorly documented software and communicate solutions to appropriate stakeholders. I am experienced in mentoring junior team members, building up their confidence and skills and providing technical direction to the whole team.

    Projects

    Gobblr
    DatabasesDockerGo
    A tool for automatically ingesting data sets into your development stack
    • Designed a service for the age-old problem of needing to ingest known data sets into development stack.
    • Can run as a web service as well as a CLI, the web service being able to be automatically executed prior to each integration test being run. This isolates the tests and data to help guarantee atomic tests.
    • Only interested in data ingestion rather than the table migration. This enables it to work with cross-platform ORMs out-of-the-box.

    BrowserSpy
    AutomationDockerGitLabKubernetesMicroServicesMongoDBNodeJSSocketIOSolutions DesignTypeScriptVue
    A testing tool that records all website events for replaying at a later date with a simple, two-line installation that works cross-platform.
    • Designed a scalable microservice architecture that is able to work with third-party APIs for authentication and issue tracking. The API is flexible enough to implement additional third-party services at a later date by creation of an appropriate strategy. The service records large amounts of binary data so made use of cloud data buckets for optimal read/write capability.
    • Established a DevOps workflow using Kubernetes with feature-branch deployments. Configured a full CI/CD suite, made a series of reusable CI functions to ensure terse configuration files. Maintained a separation between processes that needed to be real-time and ones that could be batch-processed later to reduce costs.
    • Developed a recorder that is installed and configured in the user's browser that intercepts the relevant global DOM objects and pushes the events to a message queue for later processing into a playable timeline. Established metrics with automated tests to ensure that these adhere to appropriate performance criteria.
    • Built a playback service that processed the events into the correct order with all relevant bucket data pre-loaded. Implemented an iterator pattern to load the data in segments to give a smooth playback experience.

    Work Experience

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    Senior Engineer, Self-Hosted | Gitpod
    Amazon Web ServicesAzureDeveloper ExperienceDeveloper RelationsDockerGoGoogle Cloud PlatformHelmKubernetesMentoringRemote DevelopmentReplicatedSelf-HostedTechnical LeadershipTypeScript
    Provided the technical leadership for the self-hosted product, working with users to successfully manage over 1,000 installations in the wild
    • Designed and built the Gitpod Installer. This replaced some very unweildly Helm charts with the objective of simplifying the installation experience for both Gitpod and self-hosted users alike. This was a very successful endeavour and launched Gitpod self-hosted into a maintstream product.
    • Extended the Gitpod Installer by using Replicated's Kubernetes-Off-The-Shelf (KOTS) to provide a one-click install of Gitpod. This required extensive work with Replicated engineers to extend their product so it would work with the Gitpod Installer.
    • Worked with external users to understand their needs from the self-hosted product. This involved developing relationships with key stakeholders at enterprise customers and engaging with the Gitpod community.
    • Mentored engineers in my team. This mostly involved unlocking their self-confidence and using my experience to help them solve problems. I was fortunate enough to work with some brilliant humans and was, without doubt, the most exciting part of my role.
    • Wrote, submitted and delivered talks for various international conferences including KubeCon North America and Cloud Native Rejekts EU.

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    Lead DevOps Consultant (contract) | Foundry4
    ArchitectureAutomationAzureCI/CDGitOpsGoogle Cloud PlatformHelmKubernetesNodeJSOpenFaaSPHPPythonRSemantic ReleaseServerlessTerraform
    Provided DevOps leadership and consultancy services to help Foundry4 clients level-up their DevOps capability
    • Worked with significant clients, including Ofgem, the British Red Cross and HM Planning Inspectorate, on a wide range of projects. The key arbiter of success was the ability to keep ahead of current trends in DevOps and being able to explain these to technical and business stakeholders.
    • Worked across a range of technologies and patterns, dependent upon the client's skill set and experience. The role was split between architecture and planning, hands-on technical and stakeholder management.
    • Provided technical leadership, both amongst the Foundry4 team and client team, running structured and ad-hoc training sessions. These were focused on the new patterns and workflows being implemented as part of the programme the consultancy was engaged in delivering but often covered additional topics as necessary.
    • Kubernetes and GitOps was a regular feature of the work delivered but included many different features of the cloud providers used. There was a strong focus on automation, self-service, reliability and monitoring.

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    Platform Engineer (contract) | Energy Systems Catapult
    AWSAngularAutomationDockerGraphDBHardwareIoTKafkaKubernetesMicroServicesMongoDBNodeJSPostgreSQLPythonRSpark
    Inherited an undocumented codebase from a third-party, including an unsupported proprietary graph database and worked to achieve a stable platform to provide domestic heating for trials involving 30 and 100 homes.
    • Working within tight constraints I developed key components for the system that would ensure a standard of reliability to safeguard all users, particularly those vulnerable to downtime.
    • Developed strong working relationships with key members of different teams to fully understand real-world issues with the applications and established proposals to address them.
    • Worked with the data science team to provide an additional software resource especially with R, Spark and Cassandra, technologies I was previously unfamiliar with.
    • Took responsibilities as interim scrum master when the need arose and managed interactions with third-party development partners.
    • Encouraged use of best practice, especially amongst junior developers mentored.

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    Lead Engineer (contract) | Cromwell Tools
    AWSAutomationDockerES6LeadershipMongoDBNodeJSRabbitMQSolutions DesignTypeScriptWorkshops
    Led the NodeJS development team on a replacement API for the main website, which had to maintain backwards compatibility with the existing website.
    • Established weekly workshops to educate the team on best practice in NodeJS and MongoDB.
    • Managed the sprints and the whole agile process. The teams were spread across three different locations and, initially, the communication was poor. Improved this by tightening the agile disciplines.
    • Encouraged the adoption of microservices for admin processes. Proposed an architectural design for this solution and implemented it.

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    Senior Software Engineer (contract) | CDG Group
    AngularJSAutomationD3ES6JavaScriptNodeJSSocketIO
    Brought in to provide Angular and D3 expertise. As a pure Java house, they had limited knowledge of front-end JavaScript. Improved their usage to provide a more consistent and an easier development experience.
    • Rewrote the front-end for their main Lean Client product. Although marketed as a single application, in reality it was a suite of software. Configured this to build to a Docker image
    • Created a Yeoman generator for fast construction of new AngularJS modules. This was partly to enforce consistency, but to help the Java engineers gain familiarity in JavaScript.
    • Developed a comprehensive form generator to enable the API to generate a schema that would display the user input in a consistent way.
    • Provided training to the Java engineers on how to use JavaScript, Angular and their associated ecosystems and how to develop and deploy with the module framework I developed.

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    Senior Software Engineer (contract) | Wealth Wizards
    AngularJSAutomationD3MongoDBNodeJSPHP
    Developed both front and back-end components as part of a team that created an automated pension advice system.
    • Collaborated to design and implement a Data Definition Language for the PHP back-end to publish a comprehensive question schema. This schema would be ingested by the Angular front-end to dynamically generate the form, which could be defined on a per-broker basis.
    • Built a series of reusable Angular components to be used across the platform.
    • Developed a PDF report generator for the broker's advice to be displayed with D3 infographics. Worked closely with the firm's pension advisers to ensure accurate and FCA compliant reports.

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    Senior Software Engineer | GeoPost (now DPD UK)
    AutomationMongoDBMySQLNodeJSRocket UniVerseWorkshops
    Worked on the main DPD/Interlink RESTful API. Written in pure NodeJS, this business-critical service was responsible for handling requests for web users, depot operations and receiving batch data from senders.
    • Implemented continuous integration principles to the development workflow. Due to the company being a round-the-clock operation, worked with the SysOps team to reduce the time required for software upgrades.
    • Principal engineer on the industry-leading Follow My Parcel service, which included being part of the team that designed the architecture. The primary problem was that the current system was not designed for real-time tracking as the central database was monolithic and unscalable. The design and implementation needed to encompass methods of achieving live updates without huge expense or causing service outage. This was the flagship project that year and a major USP for the company, whilst handling a large increase in daily requests - ~700,000 and ~900,000 on Xbox One and PS4 launch days respectively.
    • Wrote a pure JavaScript driver for the Rocket UniVerse NoSQL database. As UniVerse is a proprietary piece of software with little public documentation available, this required reverse engineering the Java driver and translating into NodeJS. As a fundamental piece of the live tracking architecture, this reliably handles millions of requests per day.
    • Ran training sessions to upskill non-JS developers to be proficient in the NodeJS platform.

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    Web Developer (contract) | Torpedo Group
    MODXMobile DevelopmentMySQLPHP
    • Built various websites using the MODX content management system.
    • Created a business analytics system for major clients to track engagers of their sites and social media accounts.
    • Made extensive use of responsive web design and Twitter Bootstrap to create mobile-first pages.

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    Lead Developer | BugFinders
    MySQLPHPSolutions Design
    • Built the alpha-release of the BugFinders project, featuring complexities such as a streaming video server, internationalization and responsive mobile site.
    • Also responsible for managing the development team, liaising with external suppliers and helping develop the business proposition.
    • The main development was in PHP/MySQL, however there was a great deal of time spent learning new technologies (such as OAuth, Java and Python) and learning testing methodologies.

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    PHP Developer (contract) | Big Eye Deers
    Apache SolrLeadershipMySQLPHPSolutions Design
    • Lead development of the new British Path√© website, featuring over 90,000 videos and a large database schema.
    • As well has being involved with the planning and building of the project, I learnt how to use Apache Solr which, at the time, was largely undocumented and entirely unused in a PHP environment.

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    Platform Programmer (contract) | Red Procurement
    DoctrineMS-SQLMySQLPHPSolutions Design
    • Designed and built Streamline, a purpose-built tool to aid procurement managers track their workflow and costs and for directors to see company-wide trends.
    • Due to the sensitive nature of the data generated, one requirement was for this project was for it to be deployable on both Windows and Linux servers, connecting to MySQL or MS-SQL databases. Using Doctrine ORM to abstract the data stores and heavy use of unit testing to ensure consistency achieved this.

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    Platform Developer | Maverick Television
    MySQLPHPZend
    • Developed a bespoke CMS for a multi-million pound NHS project using the Zend framework.
    • The platform made heavy use of video integration and web services from various NHS and third-party sources.

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    PHP Developer (contract) | Richmond Group
    MySQLPHP
    • Fire-fighting role doing emergency updates on the business-critical Loanfinder.co.uk website.
    • For longer-term stability, implemented various structural improvements to the development team. These included a full version control, a standardised development environment, test-driven development and formal programming standards.

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    PHP Developer (contract) | NamesCo
    LeadershipMySQLPHP
    • Headed development of a complex ecommerce system with a team of five developers.
    • The software was built on an extensible in-house object orientated framework to which I made various critical updates.

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    PHP Developer | Real Ale Shop
    MySQLPHP
    Developed an ecommerce system for drop-shipping start-up.

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      PHP Developer | Northwick Events
      MySQLPHP
      Developed an admin system for an events management company, to automate much of the company's admin processes.