Resume

  • dave@urth.org
  • Minneapolis, MN (no to relocation, yes to some travel)

The Highlights

  • Team lead capable of providing technical leadership for a team, setting technical standards, shaping the development workflow, and providing mentoring for other staff.
  • Able to gather requirements and communicate clearly about technical problems with all parts of an organization.
  • A proven track record of hiring excellent developers.
  • Author of Perl core documentation pages perlootut and perlobj, and author of all of the Moose documentation.
  • Co-author of two O’Reilly books.
  • Prolific FOSS author, including Perl’s DateTime.pm and many other Perl modules, as well as a variety of projects in Rust and Go.

I’ve been working as a professional software developer since 1998, starting with Perl, and more recently focused on Go, with some JS and C in there. There’s also been SQL, webapps, REST APIs, and more along the way.

I enjoy solving problems for humans. This means more than just “making it go”, it also means really understanding the needs of your users. I also have a great interest in data. Solid data representation and handling is the key to building powerful, flexible applications.

Over the years, I’ve created or contributed to hundreds of free software projects and libraries. I’ve also written extensive technical documentation, articles, co-written two books, and presented at many conferences, including teaching two all-day classes.

I care greatly about the development process. Getting clear requirements, breaking work up into small pieces, automated testing, good deployment tools, QA, bug tracking, source control; all of these are crucial to building quality software. Why build something that works if it doesn’t do what your users want, or if you can’t maintain it?. Why fix a bug if you reintroduce it in the next release? Software should provide value to users and get better over time, not worse.

Experience

ActiveState Software Inc.

Team Lead, Senior Software Engineer, 2/2017 - present

When I began at ActiveState, I was the Team Lead for the Languages Team, which produced binary builds of ActivePerl, ActivePython, and ActiveTcl for our customers. This was done using a build system written in Perl that built all the languages on a variety of operating systems, including Linux, Windows, macOS, and several big iron systems.

As the new Team Lead, I helped the team improve our workflow by introducing code review and an ordered backlog of work. I also worked with the rest of the company to spec future work for customers.

After we began work on the ActiveState Platform, we reorganized and I became the Team Lead for the Platform Builder team. We developed several of the key backend services for the platform, including the REST API for our entire database of packages. This was done using Go, Swagger, Postgres, and Kafka. All of our services run in Docker containers on Kubernetes. We also developed the first version of the service that handled requests for builds across all platforms.

Since our services form the backbone of the ActiveState Platform, every other technical team in the company is a customer for our services. I’ve worked closely with these other teams and Product Management to design our APIs, plan changes and rollouts, and address bugs and performance issues that affect the Platform. I also work closely with the CTO, Director of Engineering, and Product to do quarterly planning, where we define our OKRs and KPIs for my team, as well as determine which projects to prioritize based on customer and company needs.

I’ve been a leader in our technical hiring, helping define our hiring process for engineers, as well as contributing to our onboarding process.

MaxMind, Inc.

Software Engineering Team Lead, 7/2011 - 1/2017

At MaxMind, I led a team developing websites and REST APIs, queue processing systems, and build tools using Modern Perl, Go, RabbitMQ, and Postgres.

As Team Lead, I provided technical leadership for the engineering team. This included defining our development workflow using agile tools, as well as our code review practices (using GitHub Enterprise Pull Requests). I also set standards for the engineering team including coding standards and testing practices.

I wrote the first unit tests at the company and later worked on integration tests as well our production simulation tools. I also introduced continuous integration, initially with Jenkins and later with TeamCity. As our test suite grew I also worked on benchmarking and optimizing the test suite itself, bringing the run time form nearly an hour to about 15 minutes.

One of the most interesting tools I created at MaxMind is a Perl module to implement a parallelizable build system called Stepford. It is similar to make, but with Perl classes as the main unit of work instead of processes. This system was then used to implement the entire build process for our line of GeoIP2 databases.

I helped define and document the MaxMind DB file format, including writing a comprehensive spec for it, as well as participating in the development of client libraries in Perl (XS), Python, Java, C#, PHP, and JavaScript. I also created the C API for this format, libmaxminddb, as well as the Perl module to write the format, MaxMind::DB::Writer, which is mostly written in C and XS.

To help improve developer productivity, I developed and extended tools for our development environment, including Git hooks, Perl::Critic policies, and Code::TidyAll, a multi-language linting and tidying tool.

As Team Lead, I led all hiring for technical staff, growing the engineering team from three to fifteen, including front-end and back-end developers, a sysadmin, and QA engineers. I also developed the resume screening and interview process used for all of these hires.

Thomson Reuters

Consulting Software Engineer, 11/2007 - 4/2011

At Thomson Reuters, I worked on integrating new data feeds with an existing database of corporate information, some of which included complex internationalization requirements. I also worked on infrastructure projects to make it possible to support per-project Perl module installations.

LiveText, Inc.

Senior Developer, 3/2007 - 11/2007

Socialtext, Inc.

Senior Developer - Database Lead, 9/2004 - 3/2007

House Absolute Consulting

Sole Proprietor, 2/2002 - 9/2004

DoTheGood

Lead Developer, 4/15/2001 - 1/22/2002

Various

Too Old to List, 1995 - 2001

Do you really want to read about my TA position in Music Theory or my first programming jobs?

Publications

Articles

Perl Core Documentation

I wrote perlootut from scratch and revised perlobj from the ground up for the Perl 5.16.0 release in 2012. I also made major edits to several other documents in the Perl core, including perlhack, perlhacktut, perlhacktips, and perlsource.

Moose documentation

In 2009 I received a grant from The Perl Foundation to work on the documentation for Moose, an OO system for Perl. I revised all of the existing API docs, wrote new cookbook recipes, and wrote the Moose::Manual documentation from scratch.

RT Essentials

I contributed two chapters to this book. For more details see the O’Reilly page for the book.

Embedding Perl in HTML with Mason

This book, which I co-authored with Ken Williams, is available from O’Reilly and Associates, and was published in October of 2002. It is also freely available in an online version.

Presentations

I have presented at numerous conferences, including the O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON), ApacheCon, and The Perl Conference (TPC) / Yet Another Perl Conference (YAPC) in North America, Europe, Japan, and Taiwan. These presentations have ranged from 5 minute lightning talks to all day intensive classes featuring extensive coding exercises as part of the class.

See my list of slides and class descriptions for more details.

FOSS Software

Besides contributing patches to hundreds of projects and libraries, I have created and/or maintained a number of FOSS projects. Here are a few highlights:

  • detest is a test assertion library for Go.
  • omegasort is a CLI tool for sorting text files written in Go.
  • precious is a meta-linting code quality tool (a tool to run many linters and prettifiers) in Rust.
  • I kicked off the Perl DateTime Project in the early 2000s, which developed a comprehensive suite of inter-operating Perl modules for dealing with dates and times. Distributions in the DateTime suite are under the DateTime namespace on CPAN

See my houseabsolute GitHub organization for the vast majority of my projects.

Other Skills

It’s hard to jam everything I’ve ever done into a list of jobs and projects. Here’s a list of other things I’d be happy to talk about in interviews:

  • SQL, PL/pgSQL, and Postgres extensions.
  • Date and time standards.
  • Database schema design.
  • Server daemons including Apache, nginx, Postfix, etc. I’m not much of a sysadmin, but I’ve set many of these things up on my personal servers and development machines.
  • HTML, CSS (including Less & Sass), Bootstrap, JavaScript, and React.
  • OO design.
  • I18N and L10N.
  • Email parsing and generation.

Education

Wow, you read this far? Amazing!

University of Minnesota, School of Music

1995-1997

Master of Arts in Music Composition

Bard College

1991-1995

Bachelor of Arts in Music