Hello! I’m Cariad Eccleston, and I’m a DevOps contractor working remotely from sunny Devon, UK.
But DevOps is a culture, not a role! 😤
I hear ya! But let’s be pragmatic; it’s a job title that organisations recognise and a fine shorthand for the job I love.
DevOps, to me, means:
- Giving developers the tools and confidence they need to take responsibility for their code landing and running in Production
- Ensuring that operations – infrastructure changes, environmental housekeeping, etc – can be performed by anyone on the team and not just a privileged few
- Delivering as a team through helpful code reviews, mentoring, and helping others before yourself
Regardless of my title, what I actually do is:
1. Design and deploy Amazon Web Services architecture
When I worked at Thomson Reuters, and recently with teams like Freyda, I was responsible for designing and delivering secure, resilient and scalable architecture in Amazon Web Services.
“secure”, “resilient” and “scalable” are magnificent buzzwords, so let me be specific. To me, delivering a cloud-native architecture means:
- Deploying components with minimal, restrictive security groups and IAM policies
- Protecting KMS keys with lifecycle management and ensuring that humans are able to decrypt customer data only if they super need to
- Working with third party security specialists to verify my work
- Developing a disaster recovery plan and not sleeping well until it’s been tested while the sun shines
- Understanding which workloads require a sub-200 ms response and which can be queued for asynchronous processing
- Orchestrating and parallelising workflows via Step Functions
- Deploying infrastructure-as-code and release sets via CloudFormation and Python
2. Develop backend services
As a full-time employee of Thomson Reuters, I developed and tested microservices for the financial services industry in C#.
As a contractor at NHS Digital, I helped to migrate a life-critical .NET SOAP service to .NET Core and led the development of an entirely new end-to-end test suite.
And recently at Freyda, I have developed and tested Python serverless functions with a SQLAlchemy + psycopg2 PostgreSQL backend. These functions are orchestrated by API Gateway, Step Functions and infrastructure-as-code.
In many cases, this work has entailed developing and publishing Python packages to the team’s private AWS CodeArtifact repository.
I’ve also recently started learning Rust, and I’m looking forward to adding that to my professional experience soon! 🦀
3. Build CI/CD pipelines
When I’m helping to bootstrap a startup’s product, the first thing I personally focus on is the developer experience. The sooner a developer’s work is usable by their customers, the better, so building a Continuous Integration & Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) pipeline as soon as possible is essential.
I’ve set up GitLab and GitHub to use GitHub Actions, custom runners on GitLab CI, AWS CodePipeline and CircleCI to lint, test, build and release projects. CircleCI even sent me a snazzy hoodie for being one of their first customers to get a .NET 6 project building on their Windows Server 2022 instances.
I’ve also used the platforms above to build release sets and deploy them into discrete Amazon Web Services environments, starting with automated deployments into lower environments and manual promotions into Production-1 and above.
I studied Computer Science at the University of Salford, interned at Zurich Financial Services in Swindon, and graduated in 2004 with a BSc Honours.
Shortly after graduating, I moved to sunny Devon to join Digita, an independent tax and account software house for the Windows desktop, which was soon acquired by Thomson Reuters. Over 14 years, I was promoted through junior development positions up to Software Team Lead, where I led an international DevOps team delivering solutions for the Tax & Account software business.
In late 2019 I seized an opportunity to become my own boss, and ever since I’ve been working on successful open source projects, unsuccessful hustles, and optimistically building my video game studio on free weekends.
One of my proudest achievements during my self-employment was being recognised for my contributions to Boto3 which was used during NASA’s Mars 2020 Helicopter Mission.
I also built wa11y.co, which was possibly – based on organic Twitter recommendations – the world’s most popular Wordle accessibility tool during the early 2022 craze. It wasn’t beautiful, but it translated emoji-based Wordle endgames into readable text and made the game’s social sharing accessible to a much greater number of folks.
And no, I didn’t get any of that sweet New York Times coin, and I’m not even slightly bitter about it. 😮💨
As and when I get sick of talking to myself, I seek out contracts with organisations like NHS Digital and startups like Freyda to build software with awesome teams.
If you manage an awesome team, my CV is available on request! 🚀