Work

Pluralsight

Content Libraries

After Pluralsight acquired and developed several new experience which offered learners different types of content to consume beyond video courses, the team where I served as tech lead was tasked with developing a new system in conjunction with our Authorization and Product Catalog teams to migrate our legacy infrastructure from only being able to handle one content type (video courses) to multiple content types (labs, projects, guides, etc).

This new system enables more customized pricing and packaging of content and compressed the overhead for creating or updating custom slices of content for specific customers from one week to a few minutes.

This effort was particularly challenging due to the distributed nature of systems at Pluralsight but also due to the different needs of stakeholders who curate and maintain libraries of content at Pluralsight. We spent several weeksk with engineers, our product manager, and product designer carefully documenting the legacy system we were bound to replace, interviewing all current and potential future stakeholders.

We rolled out our new system, imported legacy data from the old system within a few months, then worked across teams to support the rollout of a new Authorization version based on our new system. Within 8 months, we had successfully helped multiple teams including our own migrate to the new infrastructure.

Projects

Screenshot of the Projects Build interface showing feedback given to the learner when tasks aren't successfully completed
Projects offers feedback to learners when tasks aren't successfully completed.

As a senior software engineer on Pluralsight’s Projects team where we developed interactive ways for people to achieve proficiency with new technologies they recently discovered either through video or interactive courses.

We initially created Projects inside of Code School back in 2016 to fill a need expressed by our students. Despite gaining a lot of theoretical and practical knowledge of a new technology while going through a Code School interactive course like Rails for Zombies, many of our students didn’t know where to start in order to apply their newly acquired skills.

Projects solves this blank page problem by offering students a tightly scoped Project to work on, starting with a failing test suite which serves as a list of tasks to slowly work through. This allows people to become familiar with the flow and process of software development in an environment with a tight feedback loop. Since exceptions and setup issues often results in dead ends for newcomers to a technology, we try to provide the most specific feedback possible by not only executing tests written by our authors against the code written by our learners but also guiding them through the environment-specific errors that occur when their code is executed or built.

Projects was initially extracted from Code School as a Rails REST API and GraphQL backend and a React UI front-end. We integrate with the rest of the Pluralsight ecosystem with RabbitMQ, REST APIs, and Kafka.

Code School

Screenshot of the Code School account dashboard
The Code School account dashbord allowed you to track the course you were currently playing, recently earned activity or course completion badges, progress on given learning paths, but also find your team dashboard, and other settings.

I served as Tech Lead on Code School’s Platform team where I built and maintained the Ruby on Rails application that powered codeschool.com.

Throughout the years I’ve been responsible for upgrading our Rails infrastructure from version 3.1 to 5.0; maintaining our security bug bounty; and course building and maintaining billing, team management, and authorization features for the platform.

I’ve also worked with our content team to produce interactive challenges for several courses, and contributed to the development of Code School Projects which allow students to complete step-by-step tasks on their own machines or on GitHub while receiving interactive feedback about their progress along the way.

Several years ago, when Code School was still a baby startup I wrote and taught in several of our excellent interactive courses:

Try Git

Quick animated demo of the Try Git interactive course interface in action.
Try Git had a simplified interface which mimicked a terminal window to help people get acclimated to a command line interface like git.

I wrote this short course with the Code School and GitHub teams. We reproduced a command line terminal to execute real git commands and produce output in order to help people quickly become familiar with git without being intimidated. Try Git was released on July 4th, 2012 and announced by GitHub on their blog. It has attracted over 5 million unique visitors since.

Testing with RSpec

This was my first Code School course as an on-camera instructor. I learned most of what I know about RSpec while working on this course.

Git Real

My second Code School course as a teacher. It visually and interactively explains the concepts of staging, remote repositories, branching, and especially rebasing.

Open Source

Over the years I’ve regularly created and maintained my own open source projects and contributed to several popular projects.

Find out more about my open source work.

Podcasting

Ruby Facets

A spiritual successor to Ruby5 since it ended, Ruby Facets was a short, sweet, and short-lived Ruby news podcast that covered new releases, interesting blog posts, and relevant events in the Ruby and Rails community.

Ruby5

I first started podcasting with Gregg Pollack and the rest of the Envy Labs & Code School team that rotated on the show. Over time I became a regular co-host, until the show ended on September 20th, 2016.