In this Meet the Team profile, we chat with Luke Tillman, located in Denver, Colorado, on what it’s like to be a front-end engineer on the platform team. Luke, who is well-versed in open-sourcing, joined Chronosphere and was actually one of the first hires on the UI team. Catch up on the whole chat with Chris Ward. Below are a few highlights.
I’m a front-end engineer – a UI engineer – on the platform team. So, I work on our cloud product, but on the front end. We have a handful of other folks that also do UI work – they aren’t full-time front-end or UI engineers, but most of the UI folks work on the platform on the cloud.
I was one of the first two UI engineers hired. There were two things. When I started looking at Chronosphere, one aspect that jumped out at me immediately was the chance to work with cool distributed systems tech again. I have a little bit of background there. When I was looking at M3, our open source database that the tech is built around, it reminded me a lot of Cassandra – which is something that I worked with at a previous company.
The biggest reason that I ended up joining was the people. When I interviewed, everybody was just super kind and empathetic and it was really obvious even in the interview process. It gave me a chance to work with Sterling – the head of our UX who I adore, and we worked together at a previous company. The people are really what drew me and what keeps me around even a year and a half later.
I’ve been in tech for about twenty years now. I guess that dates me. I started out more full-stack, and spent a bunch of time in the .NET space. I wrote a lot of C# in my early days.
I kind of burned out on tech in my twenties, and three years in my late twenties I just quit tech completely. I was a bartender for three years which was actually a lot of fun.
Most recently, I was at a company called DataStax, where I worked on all things Apache Cassandra-related. That was fun.
I also joined DevRel. I was a developer advocate for the first three years. It was something I had never done before. I got to go around and travel, give talks, and teach which I really enjoyed. I eventually went back to engineering full-time.
It has to do with the scale of data that our customers are working with. Working with distributed databases, there’s a certain set of challenges that you don’t have unless you’re working at a bigger scale that some of these technologies solve. When you’re dealing with a huge scale of data, we think about things like: “How do you present a huge volume of data in a meaningful way?” It gets more challenging when you’re dealing with a scale that some of our customers have – or even making sure that things in the front-end perform. And that’s something you don’t get to do at every job.
I’m on a new dashboard work stream that has been rolling for a little while. I’m doing most of my work right now in an open source project called Perses – where we’re building a dashboarding solution. It’s a lot of fun, and an opportunity to work in open source again. I’m having a good time building dashboarding from scratch.
A friend of mine from grade school moved out here to Denver before I did and really got into the craft brewing scene and wanted to open his own brewery. I got the chance to invest a teeny tiny bit of money, so I own a little bit of a craft brewery here in Denver – called Downhill Brewing.
There is this project called Cue Lang. It’s a really interesting way of defining contracts for things – like our configuration of APIs. You can define structures, and get all sorts of validation and code generations for free. It’s a cool little piece of technology that I’ve been playing around with recently.
I would be a dog. My wife and I have two and I adore them. I think I would live my best life eating, sleeping and playing. We have two lhasa apsos that have Ewok faces.
I’d say my parents played a huge role at different points and for different reasons. Early on, my Mom is the one who really instilled my work ethic and a love for learning that I still have to this day. She got me reading at a really young age – fiction and things like that. That’s something that I still do every day, before I go to bed.
Later on in life, my dad played a huge role. My Dad’s been a software engineer for about forty years now. He works for Pivotal, in open source projects. He’s been a wealth of knowledge and really helpful at talking through things with me. Tech is a family business for us. My other two brothers have done coding boot camps.
I asked my wife this last night. I don’t really have a quote. If I had a quote, it would probably be from a movie. It would have to be “Runaway!!!” from Monty Python, the Holy Grail.
Listen in to hear Chris and Luke’s entire conversation:
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