Straight into the code l Meet The Team

Hi – David Jumani here, maybe just a typical software engineer so far…

I studied Computer Science and Engineering, and after graduation I worked at some of the biggest virtualization and networking companies (such as Vmware, Cisco and General Electric) developing cloud and on-premise applications, such as an incident co-relation engine (from which relationships can be drawn from monitoring events); breaking monoliths into microservices, and creating an entirely new Object Relationship Mapping in Go. I also had some exposure on the infrastructure side – creating resilient, self-healing systems, as well as self-aware, self-balancing mechanisms for applications across datacenters. I have always been interested in Machine Learning, and during a hackathon I developed an analytic engine to identify potential at-risk students based on their search history, as well as a program that learns to write programs (cue the ‘Inception’ theme music).

Well that’s the technical side – so a little about me. Everyone has that thing that makes them think that they’re special, and mine is that I’m a national level Rugby player. I live in Bangalore, dislike coffee and I tend to show affection through insults! I also enjoy trekking and going on long rides – I guess you could say I love adventure. However – if you think that adventure is dangerous, try routine. Having worked for most of my career so far on application development, I thought it was time for a change, and that’s when a friend of mine suggested ShapeBlue.

Starting at the interview stage things were quite different from what I had been used to. Rather than asking about the solution to a problem ShapeBlue were more interested in my approach to solving a problem, and listening, either to my thinking aloud or my early feedback, and then kept pushing me for even better solutions. This turned out to be a great introduction as that’s how we work now that I’m in.

After a painful wait for the offer, the training was intuitive, hands-on and challenging, learning about the technology that ShapeBlue focuses on – Apache Cloudstack – by working on mock features. This gave me a pretty solid understanding of CloudStack by getting straight into the code rather than just a month of more typical, theoretical training. I also had a mentor (that’s you Rohit), who would guide but not spoon-feed me, since the point was for me to learn and understand for myself.

So that’s how I got in, but that was just the beginning. To me, the most important thing about enjoying a job is the environment, and ShapeBlue has that spot on. You can disturb anyone, even Giles (the CEO – also a rugby fan), to ask them the simplest of questions, or ask for feedback. Now you might be thinking “Yeah, that sounds great, but this interaction is all via computer! You don’t get to see them or meet them! Isn’t working remotely kinda lonely?” I might have agreed, but we have methods to combat this, such as live chat (we use Slack), which is not only a great resource for technical conversation, but also a source of entertainment and occasional banter, and our weekly all staff video call, where we get to see each other and talk about what we’ve been up to the past week (not your usual stand-up). These diversions and regular contact with colleagues is especially welcome during the lockdown. The atmosphere is just like a start-up and neither age nor seniority creates any barriers.

With all that hype you might think that it’s perfect, but it’s not all easy! Taking on an entirely new feature and starting development from the ground up can be quite challenging but calm seas never made skilled sailors… and it has truly been challenging. I’ve learned about stuff I’ve never heard of before and moved from implementing small bug fixes to developing entirely new features for customers and the community. The development process is very thorough – we scope the entire feature before even a single line of code has been written, and start with an internal kick-off where we go into deep detail about the feature, as well as planned calls for code review, updates, to get better clarity, and feedback so that what we develop is exactly what is required. We also have a good review system and can ping anyone to help us or review our work.

In the past few months, I’ve learned a lot about hypervisors, their internal workings, strengthened my understanding of networking, and come up with creative ways to solve problems. I’ve worked on creating an entirely new way to remotely access a guest console, tweaking Linux networking to support new customer requirements, tried my hand at dynamic resource scheduling, and even dabbled in the new Cloudstack UI (Primate).

It’s been a rush the past few months, but I wouldn’t have it any other way… and I hope that it keeps getting better! I’m looking forward to pushing my limits even further, taking on greater challenges, and becoming a better engineer.


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