Interview with Jesse Crawford

My name is Jesse Crawford. I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and right now I work for a small healthcare technology company headquartered here. My main focus is on DevOps, but I also work in security and traditional system administration. I even do a little software engineering here and there.

> Where did you study computer engineering? Would you recommend your path to beginners?

I did my undergraduate at New Mexico Tech in Socorro, New Mexico, which is a small engineering school, smaller than the high school I went to. Later on I did my Master's degree at Iowa State University, but I attended by distance, so I only actually went to Iowa once, for my thesis defense.

I'd recommend going to a small university to anyone. There are a lot more opportunities to connect directly with faculty members, you tend to know students in a lot of departments, and often smaller universities have more opportunities for undergraduates to be involved in research and work for university departments, since they don't have as many graduate students filling those roles.

> Tell me a bit about your Computers Are Bad project, when and why did you start it?

It's hard to say exactly how I got to where I am today - I've always enjoyed writing, and especially about computer history, but I've made one or two attempts at starting up a blog that have never worked out. I think the difference is that I've never taken CAB that seriously, so if no one reads it then at least I'm having fun writing. As it happens, people do read it!

> What project management model do you use; how do you organize your schedule?

Oh, it depends on the week sometimes. I have a background in agile methods, as a scrum master and product owner, so I have a tendency to reach for a Kanban board whenever I need to track of more than a few tasks. This is what I usually do professionally, and for some of my personal projects as well I'll often find myself using Asana to build a simple Kanban board just so I can keep my ideas straight about what still needs more work, vs. what is "good enough for now." That's probably the hardest thing for me, is calling something "good enough for now" and moving onto other tasks... I have a tendency to try to bikeshed everything for ages.

> What software do you prefer to use for system administration?

I've been a diehard Puppet advocate for a long time, long enough that I've seen Puppet evolve a lot as a product. I've even taught training courses on Puppet. Puppet can be a little complicated to get into, so sometimes when people are new to the whole idea of configuration automation I point them towards Ansible instead... but I think the extra complexity of Puppet is often worth it.

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