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Meet the Speaker: Emily Burns - Senior Software Engineer at Netflix

Posted by Jenny Medeiros on Oct 16, 2019 9:25:18 AM
Jenny Medeiros
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It's time to get to know another Spinnaker Summit speaker. This week we chatted with Emily Burns, a Senior Software Engineer at Netflix who has an artistic side you should definitely ask her more about. From how she joined Netflix to what she thinks is Spinnaker's "superpower," here are a few things you didn't know about one of our top speakers.

Tell us a bit about your background. What led you to join the Delivery Engineering team at Netflix?

In college I studied Industrial & Operations Engineering (that's process improvement and optimization) and minored in Computer Science. For my first job I was randomly placed in the software tools space, and realized it was the perfect mix of what I liked: improving processes that software engineers use.

I was an open source contributor to Spinnaker before I joined Netflix, which is what led me to joining Delivery Engineering.

Speaking of Netflix, what was the last thing you binge-watched?

Kim’s Convenience Store!

Lately, your focus is on Managed Delivery. What about Managed Delivery makes the work all worthwhile?

It’s extremely rewarding to take the continuous delivery experience that the team has developed over the past five years and create something that will make it easier to deliver software safely. I love working on this team because everything we do is focused on building useful software that people rely on. I think Managed Delivery will be incredibly useful to individuals who want to roll out one application with sane default opinions as well as teams managing lots of micro-services and complicated delivery pipelines. The opportunity to help lots of engineers makes all the work worth it.

What's your proudest accomplishment so far (professional or otherwise)?

I have the opportunity to do some cool public things, but they are not what makes me the proudest. I’m incredibly proud of how I’m able to give back to the Spinnaker community. I used to be overwhelmed in the continuous delivery space, but now I have enough knowledge that I can help other people (customers and fellow developers) and build useful things.

We're excited that you're joining us at this year's Spinnaker Summit! What are you looking forward to the most?

I’m looking forward to hearing how people are using Spinnaker. I particularly love hearing what isn’t working for people, or how Spinnaker could be better.

In your upcoming session, you'll be talking about bringing Infrastructure as code to Spinnaker. Why is this a must-see session and what will be the most important takeaway for attendees?

Our plan for Managed Delivery starts with Infrastructure as Code, but it doesn’t end there. We’re building a declarative system that allows you to state how you want your artifact (e.g. docker image) to flow through your environments (like test, staging, and production) and what conditions have to be met in order for something new to be deployed.

I think this is a must-see session for a lot of people because we’re looking to leverage the experience that this community has with infrastructure as code and use that to create an easier way to deliver software. In this session you’ll hear about what we’ve built, the direction we’re going in, and how you can get involved in shaping that direction.

When you attend this session, you’ll learn why Managed Delivery is more than just Kubernetes or Terraform or Cloud Formation.

You've been working with Spinnaker for the past three years now. What would you say is Spinnaker's "superpower"?

I think Spinnaker excels at providing opinions in an extremely complicated space (i.e. software delivery), about things that you don’t want to form an educated opinion about, while providing easy flexibility for you to tune to your specific needs.

For example, we have opinions about how to group resources that show up through our application model. We have opinions on how to successfully deploy a new chunk of homogenous infrastructure that's codified in our deployment strategies and deploy stages. You get these things out-of-the-box with Spinnaker so you can focus on the specifics of your software. Furthermore, these opinions represent our dedication to making continuous delivery accessible, safe, and reliable for a broad range of teams and use-cases.

If someone wants to approach you at the Summit, what's a good ice-breaker they can use?

I love to make things—primarily I’m a functional ceramic artist, but I love all sorts of crafts. Talk to me about this!

Finally, what's the best way for fellow event-goers to reach you?

You can reach me on the Spinnaker.io Slack (@emburns), via email (emburns@netflix.com) or LinkedIn.


That's all from Emily for now, but you can ask her more in person at Spinnaker Summit. If you haven't signed up to hear world-class keynotes and mingle with like-minded attendees in the heart of San Diego, you're not too late. Register now while seats are still open!




Topics: Spinnaker, Interview