Open Mic Spotlight: Derek Higgins

derekh_headshotThis 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. 

Derek works on OpenStack for Red Hat from his home in the west of Ireland. These days, you’ll find him working on TripleO mainly
contributing to the TripleO CI set-up. When he is not busy keeping his 3 year old and 10 month old out of trouble, Derek volunteers for an ambulance service as a qualified EMT.

When approaching a problem Derek usually jumps in feet first with his eyes closed, and when he finds himself tangled up in the weeds he’ll get out and jump in again somewhere else.

You can follow him on Twitter at @bethehokie.

1. What new OpenStack projects do you think will have a significant impact on the cloud market in the next year?

The one I’m working on of course, a reference deployment of OpenStack, is something that we’ve been missing in the community up until now. TripleO is putting a lot of effort into getting that right. Up until now, operators have been left to their own devices when it comes to deciding how they will deploy OpenStack, but having the option of picking a solution that is fully integrated with the upstream development process will make their choice a lot easier.

2. How did you learn to code? Are you self-taught or did you lear in college? On-the-job?

On my first day in college a lecturer walked in and asked people who knew what a programming language was to put their hands up. I was one of the people with both hands by my side. I quickly learned pascal and x86 assembly, before moving onto C and C++. After college I started coding in python, and besides the occasional adventure into other languages as needed I’ve pretty much stayed in the python world.

3. Where is your favorite place to code? In the office, at a local coffee shop, in bed?

I usually work from an office at home but most weeks I travel across the country to Dublin for a day to work with some of the other Irish based Red Hat engineers. I enjoy this time to touch base with colleagues and learn a little about what they’re working on.

4. What publications, blogs, mailing lists, etc do you read every day?

I don’t really follow any specific blogs, instead I rely on the people/feeds I follow on twitter to draw my attention to interesting stuff. I do read weekly and find it an excellent source of the current news in the free software world.

5. What drew you to OpenStack?

When the opportunity came up to work on OpenStack I jumped at it. Red Hat was only starting to get involved in OpenStack at the time so there was lots of opportunities to explore the areas that I was most interested in. Since then, there has been no end of new problems being tackled by the community providing an endless stream of interesting projects to get involved in.


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