At CloudBees, we have a lot of seriously talented developers. They work hard behind the scenes to keep the CloudBees continuous delivery solutions (both cloud and on-premise) up-to-date with all the latest and greatest technologies, gizmos and overall stuff that makes it easy for you to develop amazing software.
In this Meet the Bees post, we buzz over to our Richmond office to catch up with Tracy Kennedy, a solutions architect at CloudBees.
Tracy has a bit of an eccentric background. In college, she studies journalism and, in 2010, interned for the investigative unit of NBC Nightly News. She won a Hearst Award for a report she did about her state’s delegates browsing Facebook and shopping during one of the last legislative sessions of the season. She had several of her stories published in newspapers around the state. Sounds like the beginnings of a great journalistic career, right?
Well, by the time she graduated, Tracy ended up being completely burned out and very cynical about the news industry. Instead of trying to get a job in journalism, she wanted to make a career change.
Tracy’s dad was a programmer and he offered to pay for her to study computer science in a post-bachelor’s program at her local university. He had wanted her to study computer science when she first started college, but idealistic Tracy wanted to save the world with her hard-hitting reporting skills. She now took him up on his offer, and surprisingly, found she had a knack for technology.
Tracy landed a job at a small web development shop in Richmond as a QA and documentation contractor. The work tickled her journalistic skills as well as her newly budding computer
science skills and she had a great opportunity to be mentored by some really talented web developers and other technical folks while she was there.
By the time Tracy felt ready to look for more permanent work, she had finished some hobby projects of her own that furthered her programming skills better than any class she had taken. It was also at that time that Mike Lambert, VP of Sales - Americas at CloudBees, was looking for someone with Tracy’s skills and experience.
You can follow Tracy on Twitter: @Tracy_Kennedy
Who are you? What is your role at CloudBees?
My name is Tracy Kennedy and I’m a solutions architect/sherpa at CloudBees.
My primary role is to reach out to customers on our continuous delivery cloud platform and assist them in on-boarding and learning how to use the platform to its fullest potential. However, I work on other things, too. My role actually varies wildly; it really just depends on what the current needs of the organization are.
I’ve dabbled in some light marketing by writing emails for and sometimes creating customer communication campaigns, done lots of QA work when debugging our automated sherpa funnel campaign and do a bit of sales engineering, as well, since I’m physically located in the Richmond sales office. I also write some of our documentation as I find the time and identify the need for it.
Tracy with her dog, Oliver
Lately, I’ve also been spending a good chunk of my week working on updating our Jenkins training materials for use by our CloudBees Service Partners and laying the foundation for future sherpa outreach campaigns.
When those projects are done, I plan on going back to work on a Selenium bot that will automate a lot of my weekly tasks involving the collection of customer outreach statistics. I’m hoping that bot will give me more free time to spend learning about Jenkins Enterprise by CloudBees and Jenkins Operations Center by CloudBees - our on-premise Jenkins solutions, and to create some ClickStacks for RUN@cloud.
What makes CloudBees different from other PaaS and cloud computing companies?
CloudBees has a really, really excellent “Jenkins story” as the business guys like to say, and that story is really almost like a Dr. Seuss book in its elegant simplicity. Ahem:
I can use Jenkins on DEV@cloud
I can hide Jenkins from a crowd
I can load Jenkins to on-premise machines
I can access Jenkins by many means
I can use Jenkins to group my jobs
I can use Jenkins to change templated gobs
I can use Jenkins to build mobile apps
I can use Jenkins to check code for cracks
I can keep Jenkins up when a master is down
I can “rent” slaves to Jenkins instances all around
I can use Jenkins here or there,
I can use Jenkins anywhere.
Don’t worry; I have no plans on quitting my day job to become a poet laureate!
What are CloudBees customers like? What does a typical day look like for you?
CloudBees PaaS customers can range from university students to enterprise consultants. It’s also not uncommon to see old school web gurus open an account and “play around” with it in an attempt to understand this crazy new cloud/PaaS sensation.
I’ve even seen some non-computer science engineers on our platform who are just trying to learn how to program, and those are my favorite customers to interact with since they’re almost always very bright and seem to have an unparalleled respect for the art of creating web applications. It’s always a great delight to be able to “sherpa” them along on their web dev journey and to see them succeed as a result.
As for my typical day, I actually keep track of each of my days’ activities in a Google Calendar, so I can give you a pretty accurate timeline of my average day:
8:30 or 8:45 am - Roll into the Richmond office, grab some coffee. Start reading emails that I received overnight and start replying as needed. Check the engineering chat for any callouts to me and check Skype for any missed messages.
9:30 am - Either start responding to customer emails or start working on whatever the major project of the day is. If it’s something serious or due ASAP, I throw my headphones on to help me concentrate and tune out the sales calls going on around me.
12:00 pm - Lunch at my desk while I read articles on either arstechnica.com, theatlantic.com, or one of my local news sites.
1:00 pm - Usually by this point, someone will have asked me to review an email or answer a potential customer’s question, so this is when I start working on answering those requests.
3:00 pm - Start moving forward a non-urgent project by contacting the appropriate parties or doing the relevant research.
The end of my day varies depending on the day of the week:
- Monday/Wednesday - 4:00 pm - Leave to go to class
- Tuesday/Thursday - 5 pm - Leave for the gym
- Friday - 5:30 pm - Leave for home
In my spare time, video games are a fun escape for me and they give me a cheap way of tickling my desire to see new places. Sometimes I spend my Friday nights playing as a zombie-apocalypse survivor in DayZ and exploring a pseudo-Czech Republic with nothing but a fireman’s axe to protect me from the zombie hordes.
On the weekends I spend my time playing catch-up on chores, hanging out with my awesome and super-spoiled doggie and going on mini-adventures with my boyfriend. Richmond has a lot of really beautiful parks, and we hike through one of them each weekend if the weather’s conducive to it.
When I can get more spare time during the week, I plan on finishing restoring my motorcycle and actually riding it, renovating my home office into a gigantic closet for all of my shoes and girly things, and learning how to self-service my car.
What is your favorite form of social media and why?
Twitter — I enjoy the simplicity of it, how well it works even when my wi-fi or cellular data connection is terrible, and how easy it makes following my favorite news outlets.
Something we all have in common these days is the constant use of technology. What’s your favorite gadget and why?
While I’d love to name some clever or obscure gadget that will blow everyone’s mind, the truth is that I’d be completely lost without my Android smartphone. I use it to manage my time via Google Calendar, check all 10 million of my email accounts with some ease and stay up to date on any breaking news events. Google Maps also keeps me from getting hopelessly lost when driving outside of my usual routes.
Favorite Game of Thrones character? Why is this character your favorite?
Please note that book-wise I’m only on “Storm of Swords” and that I’m completely caught up on the HBO show, so I’m only naming my favorite character based on what I’ve seen and read so far. Some light spoilers below:
While I know she’s not the most popular character, I really like Sansa Stark. Sure, she’s not the typical heroine who wields swords or always does the right thing, but that’s part of her appeal to me. I like to root for the underdogs, and here we have this flawed teenager who’s struggling to survive her unwitting entanglement in an incredibly dangerous political game. She has no fighting skills, no political leverage beyond her name, and no true allies, and she’s trapped in a city with and by her psychopathic ex-fiancé whose favorite past time is to literally torture her.
The odds of Sansa surviving such a situation seem very slim, and yet despite her naïveté, she’s managing to do just that while the more conventional “heroes” of the story are dropping like flies. I could very well see her learning lessons from the fallen’s mistakes and applying them to any leadership roles she takes on in the future. Is she perhaps a future Queen of the North? I wouldn’t discount it.
Sansa is a bright girl with the right name and the right disposition to gracefully handle any misfortunes thrown her way, and aren’t grace, intelligence and a noble lineage all the right traits for a queen? I think so, but we’ll just have to see if George R.R. Martin agrees.