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In 2016 our team of industry veterans began building a hyperscale data warehouse to tackle large, complex workloads.

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Published June 16, 2023

Employee Spotlight: James Macdonald

Meet one of Ocient's Staff Software Engineers driving innovation at hyperscale.

By Ocient Staff

Ocient offers end to end solutions that enable organizations to streamline their data and analytics with a platform built for hyperscale. The Tools Team plays a crucial role in enhancing the platform through developer productivity, improving code quality, and enabling efficient collaboration across the company. This month, we are excited to feature a Staff Software Engineer, James Macdonald, for our employee spotlight. As the tech lead for our Tools Team, James primarily focuses on maintaining and improving the infrastructure developers use to build and test software at Ocient. 

Let’s learn more about James’s background and see how he fits into his role here at Ocient.

Where are you based and how do you take advantage of our remote first policy?

My first year and a half, I took full advantage of the remote first policy by working from my parent’s sheep farm. Now, I live in Lakeview in Chicago, and even though my commute to the office is only about 30 minutes, I work from home most days so I can take care of my dog.

How many years have you been with Ocient?

I’ve been with Ocient for just over 3 years. I was the first person to start at Ocient after we went full remote due to the pandemic.

What are some things you like to do in your free time?

Recently, I’ve been enjoying gardening and grilling, but I always like trying new restaurants, board games, and role-playing games.

What’s the next place you would like to check off on your travel bucket list?

I have a few… Japan, Copenhagen, and I had to cancel a trip to Portugal at the beginning of the pandemic, so I’d like to make that up.

What is your go-to comfort food?

Pasta with ground meat and onions. It’s simple, delicious, and you can riff on it in many ways.

Which core value do you resonate the most with in your daily working life with Ocient?

On the Tools Team, our customers are the developers, QA Team members, and Customer Ops Team that use the tools we build every day. Being so close to our customers, I try to be Customer-Focused at all times.

What is one (or some) of your proudest moments while working at Ocient?

Building the infrastructure to run our continuous integration (CI) tests in parallel across all our runners was a big moment for me; we used to have long queue times for CI, and the infrastructure I implemented was able to eliminate them while making CI more stable.

What do you find unique about your job/working at Ocient?

Everyone at Ocient is extremely good at what they do. I enjoy being in an environment where I am trusted to deliver results, and I can trust my teammates to deliver, as well.

What career advice would you give your younger self?

Software engineering is more about finding the right solutions to the right problems than it is about building software. It’s often possible to solve problems with education, or an off-the-shelf tool, instead of with a bespoke program that is costly to maintain. So, I would say, “slow down, ask questions, and make sure you’re solving the right problem before reaching for your keyboard.”

Would you like to give an employee shoutout? (someone at Ocient who has inspired you or helped you out along the way)

I’d like to shout out Brendan Batliner for always pushing me and our team to find better ways to work. From thorough code reviews, to design and strategy ideas, to insights on how our team should measure success, Brendan is constantly helping us raise the bar.

Interested in joining the team?

Ocient is a remote-first company full of efficiently effective & craft driven contributors. We are passionate about delivering the very best in hyperscale data solutions to our customers. See what open positions we have on our Job Postings page or explore our Partnership Opportunities.