Open Mic Spotlight: James Slagle

slagleOpenMicThis post is part of the OpenStack Open Mic series to spotlight the people who have helped make OpenStack successful. Each week, a new contributor will step up to the mic and answer five questions about OpenStack, cloud, careers and what they do for fun. 

James Slagle lives in Boone, NC with his wife and 7 month old son. He enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, trail running, camping, and canoeing. He’s a Senior Software Engineer at Red Hat where he works primarily on the TripleO project for OpenStack. Follow him on twitter @slagle

1. Where is your happy place? Favorite place to visit, vacation, decompress?

The mountains of NC. We were lucky enough to be able to move there a couple years ago. The scenery, outdoor activities, colder climate, and rural area are just a few of the reasons we like it here. Some might say don’t move to where you like to vacation, because then it won’t be special anymore. But, we still feel like we’re on vacation every time we come home. Plus, I’m fortunate enough to be able to work from home. The view out of my office beats a parking lot any day.

2. If you couldn’t be a developer, what would your dream job be?

Can I only pick one dream job? :) I’d like to own my beer brewery someday. I enjoy spending time and working outdoors, so maybe a forest ranger. I like building things with my hands too, so maybe a wood worker. I also wouldn’t mind if my only job was to be a professional runner, so I could train competitively for the marathon or longer trail races. The good news is that, on a smaller scale, all of those jobs are my everyday hobbies. And, I love being a developer too, so in a lot of ways I already have my dream job.

3. What behavior has helped get you the furthest as a developer?

I think being fairly self-sufficient and not being afraid to dive into the code to figure out how something works or how to fix a bug. That is one of the main reasons that attracted me to open source software to begin with. Going right along with that is having the knowledge to know when the right time is to ask for help, so that you don’t get stuck or in way over your head.

4. What do you think is the coolest thing that’s happened with OpenStack over the past three years?

It’s growth and sustained momentum. As more people and companies contribute and remain participants, they’re learning for themselves what Openstack is and has to offer. That’s helping OpenStack to stand on its own merits since it’s the contributors and users who are helping spread the word. That reputation attracts even more new growth. The ease with which you can have an impact in the community, and learn for yourself what you can do with OpenStack, is much more valuable than simply reading someone else’s opinion on the matter.

5. How did you first get involved in OpenStack? 

I believe it was a patch to Horizon or Keystone, I can’t remember. I found that an easy way to get involved was to set up a development environment and find something you don’t like, a bug, or something you think can be improved. From there, I looked for a few bugs to fix on Launchpad. Once I had dabbled in OpenStack a bit, I knew it was something I wanted to work on full time.

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