Amer Zec
M.S. in Computer Science

Location: Portland (PDX), OR
GitHub:
github.com/azec-pdx
Everything else: azec-pdx.me


NAVIGATION:

EXPERIENCE

High performer with M.S. and 13 years of professional experience in software engineering across multiple industries. Strong technical expertise, in breadth and depth. Always striving to put the right tools and technologies in best use. Language agnostic, using OSS as enthusiast and for the job. In last 6 years, predominantly interested and specializing on DevOps in Cloud, Monitoring, CI/CD and Orchestration in environments using containers technologies. Believe that living DevOps metaphors requires strong discipline, accountable teams with strong feeling of ownership and good willpower in order to stay persistent.

EMPLOYMENT

Senior DevOps Engineer (11/2020Present)
Skyward, A Verizon Company – Portland, OR

  • Leading initiatives to improve DevOps culture at Skyward by hosting weekly meeting "DevOps Round Table". Goal: Open hour for anyone to bring their topics of interest or concerns to the open agenda & be discussed. Helping identify bigger themes and problems that need to be solved and potentially turned into new projects for the DevOps team, such as - observability, monitoring, secrets management etc.

  • Continuous improvements in development and operations of cloud infrastructure powering Skyward apps, including managed AWS cloud services (SQS, SNS, SES, RDS, ElastiCache Redis, OpenSearch Service / formerly ELK) as well as unmanaged services (e.g. SonarCube, JFrog Artifactory, RabbitMQ ) and tooling (for example, maintaining in-house fork of kubesec for the purpose of enabling it to work with multiple other tools adopted by team such as vaulted & awsume ). Goal: Simplify delivery of infrastructure platform & tools that will enable and multiply developers cloud-native experience.

  • Lead on the effort of migrating Skyward codebase from BitBucket VCS to GitHub VCS through automation and streamlined management of GitHub resources through IaC. Goal: Enable better developers experience with use of GitHub, improve security by secure management of GitHub service users (with power privileges) and their various API Tokens, Personal Tokens, SSH keys etc. used by CI/CD bots.

  • Lead on the effort on integrating CircleCI with GitHub with security posture being Day-1 consideration. Individual contributions include secure management of CircleCI Contexts through IaC (which are gatekeepers of CI/CD system's access to other systems - such as AWS), development and deployment of CircleCI Orbs with result being streamlined CI/CD pipelines for all backend services. Goal: Leverage migration to GitHub+CircleCI as an opportunity to improve security model of CI/CD and reduce risks of exposing sensitive information granting access to other systems.

  • Lead on the effort on modernization and migration of Kubernetes platform ( all Kubernetes environments / multiple clusters) powering Skyward apps. Result is the migration of all workloads from AWS EKS 1.16 to AWS EKS 1.21 with minimal downtime (<1h). Goal: Prevent the auto-update of unsupported version of EKS by AWS, roll out new cluster with all benefits of new control plane and utilization of node groups based on spot EC2 instances. Additionally benefiting from improved logging, NewRelic monitoring, use of Cluster Autoscaler with node-group bidding priorities on scale-out, etc.

  • Lead on the effort on improving security posture of microservices powering Skyward apps by introducing Kubernetes Service Accounts to be used by Skyward services and removing the need for AWS IAM principals-based authentication of Skyward services with AWS services. Goal: Remove the need for managing AWS IAM Users and AWS IAM Roles for the purpose of Skyward services authentication to AWS APIs. Reduced the total amount of sensitive secrets being managed in K8S workloads and improved overall security posture of the whole system.

  • Designed solution for event-driven messaging of microservices powering Skyward apps (web & mobile). Lead the implementation of all the infrastructure (based on the proposed architecture) using IaC with Terraform in AWS. Goal: Further decoupling of microservices with intent of making microservice architecture better. One of the side-effects is simplified security model of cross-services communication, as they now rely on events and authentication with AWS services used for messaging.

Senior Software Engineer (in DevOps) (06/2018 – 11/2020)
CBT Nuggets – Distributed DevOps team, Portland, OR

  • Designing and implementing chat-ops solution for near real-time analytics and querying of logs generated by multiple AWS services (CloudFront, WAF, ALB access logs) utilizing Slack API and AWS Athena. Goal: Near real-time insights into web front-end issues & challenges gained through Slack commands and/or SQL queries (AWS Athena).

  • Planned and executed deployment of AWS WAF in front of AWS CloudFront. Outcome: Improved security and protection of web front-end and proxy layer.

  • Planned and executed migration of CDN solution from Akamai to new AWS CloudFront. Outcome: Large cost savings gained by switching vendor as well as reduced operational costs by using solution native to AWS workloads.

  • Implemented and maintained REST APIs with micro-service architecture, responsible for build bookkeeping and utilized by the in-house AWS build & deployment CI/CD platform. Outcome: Better CI/CD platform & developer satisfaction with build tracking

  • Contributed development of in-house cloud-native CI/CD platform, utilizing AWS CodeBuild, AWS CodeDeploy, AWS CodePipeline & GitHub web-hooks. Outcome: Better CI/CD platform, faster releases & increased productivity of entire development org

  • Proposed and implemented observability strategies for product core infrastructure, most notably 30 self-managed MongoDB replicated clusters. To the full extent, utilized instrumentation with DataDog Agent, CloudWatch Agent and used DataDog Monitors for integration with PagerDuty (Global Routing and Services). Outcome: Enabled team to obtain 24/7/365 observability of all MongoDB infrastructure and take control of very fragile infrastructure which was causing lots of downtime. Lowered MTTR and boosted DevOps maturity growth for the whole team

  • Designed and implemented Slack apps/chatbots (as applications in AWS) for elevation of user privileges in all used database systems (MongoDB, AWS RDS, Aurora, AWS Redshift, DynamoDB). Outcome: Considerable savings in DevOps engineering hours spent on credentials management and IAM

  • Designed, implemented and deployed solution for executing automated on-line (0-downtime) migrations of self-managed MongoDB clusters in multi-account AWS environments. Outcome: Enabled team to better stick to 12-factor app principles and better governance and compliance with standards for managing PII data

  • Designed and automated solution for self service (AWS Service Catalog) deployment of MongoDB replicated clusters in AWS. Outcome: Enabled developers through automation to provision new MongoDB clusters with self-service style, yielding considerable savings in DevOps engineering hours spent on provisioning DB infrastructure

  • Other daily DevOps maintenance routines and dumpster fires

Senior Software Engineer (in DevOps) – Contract (02/2017 – 06/2018)
Nike Digital Technologies, Beaverton, OR

  • Implemented CI/CD pipelines for Jenkins 2.0, for deployments of containerized microservices (targets being AWS ECS, AWS ECS Fargate, AWS EKS). Outcome: Enabled multiple engineering teams in Nike Digital organization to ripe benefits of microservices architecture and rapid deployments to cloud while optimizing compute costs

  • Contributed implementation and performance-optimization of in-house AWS AMI baking/provisioning tooling using Packer (tool by Packer) and Puppet. Outcome: Faster releases of new core cloud images (AMIs) used for hosting large portion of software services in Nike Digital organization

  • Contributed implementation of next-gen CI/CD platform based on Jenkins 2.0 leading to fully automated provisioning ( self-service ) of CI/CD platforms hosted in AWS cloud used by multiple engineering teams. Wrote microservices and middleware for large ecosystem of Jenkins plugins, Python & Bash scripts, and IaaC (AWS CloudFormation & Terraform). Outcome: Enabled developers through automation to provision new highly-available & reliable Jenkins 2.0 CI/CD platform with out-of-the box integration with other Nike enterprise services (SSO, AD, IAM management, etc.)

  • Improved implementation of tooling for automated static code analysis, automated builds, canary analysis, Blue/Green deployments. Outcome: Enabled engineering teams to boost productivity and increase overall code quality

  • Adapted and modified internally used Netflix OSS tooling through practice of inner-sourcing. Most significantly, enabled Asgard (control plane for AWS deployments management) to authenticate with multiple SSO / SAML auth providers (Okta and OneLogin). Outcome: Enabled engineering teams to use Single-Sign-On for better security of apps controlling deployments in AWS.

  • Implemented IaaC pipelines for provisioning fresh AWS accounts for new engineering teams. Enabled teams to start using new AWS accounts by designing core layers(VPCs, multi-account IAM permissions strategies) and automated it using Terraform. Outcome: Enabled engineering teams to request new AWS Accounts through self-service.

Lead Software Engineer (08/2015–01/2017)
CompuSight Corp, Seattle, WA

  • Lead team of developers in designing and implementation of sets of RESTful APIs for integration of MS Dynamics CRM with Adobe eSign

  • Lead team in implementing pipelines for batch processing of financial data in Azure Cloud

  • Implemented ETL processes on multidimensional sales datasets to enable analytics, loading into BI tools

  • Implemented tooling for support of performing e2e migration of financial data , from on-premise infrastructure to Azure Cloud

Lead Software Engineer (03/2012–08/2015)
BH Telecom, Sarajevo, BOSNIA

  • Leading a team of engineers in delivering internal private cloud platform (based on Cisco UCS Director and VMware ESXi), leading to development productivity boost and faster deployments of internal web services

  • Leading a team of engineers in delivering web-services that enabled integration of Web TV service frontend and new IPTV middleware, resulting in faster IPTV middleware experience for 200K users

Senior Software Engineer (03/2010–03/2012)
NOKIA HERE, Chicago, USA

  • Developed batch processing solutions (ETL pipelines) for Locations Content Management System (POIs), leveraging Big Data technologies and processing with Hadoop stack (Hadoop, HBase, Hive etc.)

  • Proposed and implemented an in-house persistence layer for HBase


EDUCATION

M.S. in El. Engineering & Computer Science
Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Sarajevo


TEACHING EXPERIENCE

Teaching Assistant (Graduate & Undergraduate) (03/2012 – 07/2015)
El. Engineering Faculty, University of Sarajevo

Multiple positions on courses of Software Engineering & Data Structures. Outcomes: Gained valuable experience in working with students and learned importance of clear technical writing, later gladly applied to other roles in career.


TECHNICAL SKILLS

While this is an ever-changing and growing list, I have enumerated only those used in most recent positions:

  • Java; Python (3); Bash; GoLang; (web, API and data frameworks for each)

  • JS; Node.JS; ( including major web, API & data frameworks)

  • Microservice architectures; RESTful APIs; Domain Design; TDD; BDD;

  • Cloud: AWS (multiple services), Azure (some services)

  • Docker, Terraform, Puppet & Hiera, Ansible, Jenkins CI/CD

  • HBase, DynamoDB; MongoDB; PostgreSQL; AWS Aurora

  • Git, GitHub, GitLab, BitBucket, Gitops paradigms

  • DataDog, SignalFX, NewRelic, AWS ElasticSearch, Grafana, Graphite, ELK stack, collectd, statsd, Riemann


OTHER EXPERIENCE AND AWARDS

  • AWS Certified SysOps Administrator - Associate (SOA) (valid until Jul 26, 2024 - PDF CERTIFICATE)

  • AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate (SAA) (valid until Dec 03, 2022 - PDF CERTIFICATE)

  • AWS Certified Developer – Associate (expired on Jan 30, 2022 - PDF CERTIFICATE )

  • Numerous AWS trainings and workshops outside of daily job for staying on top of latest skills

  • Active contributor to OSS developed by SweetOps

  • Active follower of latest DevOps trends through social media and platforms. Examples: devopsparadox.com , SweetOps, AWS Developer Community , oreilly.com communities and events

  • Years long experience in Agile software development practices (Scrum and Kanban)

  • Extensive experience across cultures/geographies/time-zones while working with teams worldwide (US, Europe & Asia)

  • Notable results in competitive coding challenges (TopCoder)

  • Active in local Portland, OR tech communities (Meetups, AWS Lab Days, Webinars, 2 years of attending AWS Re:Invent)