Meet the Bees: Steven Christou

In every Meet the Bees blog post, you’ll learn more about a different CloudBees Bee. Let’s buzz on over to California and meet Steven Christou.​

Who are you? What is your role at CloudBees?

My name is Steven Christou I am currently Tech Enablement at CloudBees.

My primary role involves helping engaging customers with Support related questions, and providing more efficient tooling for the Support team. I do a lot of coding for our backend infrastructure as well as making diagnosing support issues easier for the team.

What makes CloudBees different from other companies?

The people. Seriously. I have never worked with a set of engineers who are phenomenally gifted in coding. I have learned far working side by side with these engineers than any other environment previously. There’s always something new to learn and they’re always willing to help me learn more. I also never worked with a more adventurous group of engineers who are always willing to strive to learn something new and take the extra steps to make themselves more efficient.

What are some of the most common mistakes to avoid while using Jenkins?

One of the most common mistakes I find when engaging in support is upgrading. There are a few tips I have for upgrading Jenkins. Firstly use a package manager. Upgrading using a package manager (like apt, or yum) make it far easier to do upgrades and reduce the complexity involved with moving everything to custom locations. On this note I would also recommend for upgrades to not just replace the war as issues involving the init scripts will not be upgraded.

Another common mistake I find is customers will upgrade, and if something breaks immediately downgrade. This is ill-advised and strongly recommend against. Jenkins will try it’s hardest to maintain backward compatibility with newer versions of the plugins, however there’s no guarantee that upgrading then downgrading will not cause significantly more issues. I always recommend to customers to use a test environment or clone of their production instance and do the upgrade. Trigger a few jobs and confirm nothing causes issues.

I would also like to recommend my talk Help! My Jenkins is Down! which talks more in depth about some more common issues encountered when managing a Jenkins instance.

Do you have any advice for someone starting a career in the CI/CD/DevOps/Jenkins space?

Do not be afraid to ask questions. I have been in the community for a while now and I will say that everyone I have interacted with has been extremely welcoming. I am always on the Jenkins IRC channel (#jenkins on freenode) as schristou88 and I am always willing to try my best to help out. There are plenty of resources on the internet which provides best practices and advice in the CI/CD space. I would recommend starting out with learning the most important tool, Jenkins, and working out from there. Jenkins is one of the core tools for a DevOps engineer and has over 1000 plugins to fit almost every requirement.

What has been the best thing you have worked on since joining CloudBees?

That’s a secret :)

If you could eat only one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Kohsuke Kawaguchi introduced me to Japanese Curry, and I have not found anything more amazing than that!

Vanilla or chocolate or some other flavor, what’s your favorite ice cream flavor and brand?

I like Vanilla custard. Most I get from ice cream shops are amazing!

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