What's your role?
I am a Software Engineer at #DigitalAF. In addition to feature development, I am also responsible for architecture and infrastructure.
I maintain and promote habits, standards and architectural decisions to continually improve the state of code. If my colleagues are happy and proud of the state of the code, and engineering onboarding is a breeze, then I know I've succeeded.
Something that I've been obsessed with recently is engineering efficiency à la DX (developer experience), which has led me to researching, developing and applying the best-in-class infrastructure for development, deployment, and everything in between. If every team member has an unsatisfiable itch to push new code, in addition to our DORA metrics remaining at an Elite level, then I know my efforts have been rewarded.
How did you get involved with #DigitalAF?
To date, my favourite interview experience has to be the one I had with Chris for the Flight Deck. Combine that with the opportunity to disrupt the Air Force's understanding of what good software means, it was a no brainer to jump on the opportunity to improve the lives of our users, which just happen to be the brave servicemen and women that empower the Air Force. Since then, that effort has graduated to #DigitalAF, which continues to push the boundaries of the Air Force through software.
What is the contribution you have made that you are most proud of?
DX is something that's often overlooked - much unlike it's more famous cousin, UX. #DigitalAF was no exception, we really got UX and customer-obsession down to a T, but DX was never on the cards.
It took a couple of repeatable, often-ignored minor annoyances to push me to think about our DX. Everyday tasks like developing and deploying were big, scary monsters. But what if they weren't? What if our engineers' experience was just like that of our users' - polished?
I got cracking on a more streamlined flow for writing and deploying code, and the results were well worth it: little to no developer machine setup requirement (no more spending days configuring env), and cutting down deployment time to minutes (delivering features quicker). There's always room for improvement, but this has proven that we're on the right track.
If you'd like a glimpse, read more about CI/CD fit for the Air Force.
If you could redo something, what would it be?
Think even bigger. We started with an ambiguous ask, and now, a year later, we're at the forefront of changing the Air Force's culture through what we do best - software.
Personally, if I could travel in time, I would stop and think beyond the code: what are we really changing as engineers, other than bits and bytes?
What is your vision for the future?
Lead the way in terms of how software is built and delivered in a government setting. The world has moved on from things like mainframes and innovation-inhibiting policies, and it's time for the Air Force to not only catch up, but become the standard.
#DigitalAF can and should be the blueprint on how to do it. By continuously being on the bleeding edge of technology in a way that is calculably effective, #DigitalAF is how to bring the Air Force to the 21st century. Technology is here, and no industry is safe if they're left behind - even government.
- Ruby on Rails