Saturday, 11 February 2017

Curriculum Vitae

I'll soon be available for new work opportunities. I'm looking for primarily remote software engineering or technology roles, in either Python or Python and Go. I can be reached at michael AT python DOT org.

Note: I have now taken on a full-time role with Red Hat and am not currently seeking work.

I believe that software engineering is as much of an art and a craft as it is a science. I believe that engineers should care about usability, and that encompasses the whole of the human computer interface from direct user experience to API design. I’m passionate in my belief that testing must be part of engineering if we are to really care about quality. I believe, and my experience has been, that we can ensure quality in what we produce through good practises and processes, whilst understanding that there are always trade-offs involved. Quality means systems that work, that are stable and that can be easily maintained and extended.

Career Highlights in a Nutshell

10+ years Python development experience. 4+ years web development experience with Django. 3 years Go development experience, working on a container orchestration and cloud deployment system (Juju) . Python Core Developer with a special focus on testing and unittest. 4 years C#/.NET experience on Windows.

Author of mock, now part of the Python standard library as unittest.mock. Author of IronPython in Action (2009, Manning Publications). Advanced and Introductory Python training, on behalf of David Beazley and primarily for HP (8 times 2013-2016).

Regular organiser, speaker and presenter at EuroPython, PyCon UK, PyCon US and various other conferences. Microsoft MVP 2008-2010, Python Software Foundation Community Service Award received in 2010. Keynote speaker for PyCon India 2014, keynote speaker for PyCon New Zealand 2013.

Familiarity with industry standard tools such as git, mercurial, postgresql and jenkins. 3 years spent wrestling MongoDB for Juju.

My personal obsession with computers and programming began in the early 1980s learning BBC Basic (a structured programming language on an 8 bit microcomputer) followed by 68000 assembly language on the Amiga (which had the first consumer operating system with pre-emptive multitasking).

Employment History

March 2013 – February 2017

Software Engineer, for Canonical, working on Juju

Juju is a service orchestration tool for deploying and managing systems in the cloud, on bare metal and with containers. Juju is written in Go, making heavy use of the Go concurrency primitives, and interoperates with (amongst other things) lxc/lxd and KVM containers and virtualisation, Amazon Web Services, Azure, OpenStack and the Canonical Metal As A Service project. From early 2016 on I was part of the team with a special responsibility for the networking features of Juju.
The Juju project was managed with tools including git & github, Leankit Kanban Board, Launchpad and Jenkins for Continuous Integration. Juju is built on top of mongodb.


Python Trainer, for David Beazley LLC

Delivering Python Mastery (advanced) and Introduction to Python (beginner) courses on site throughout Europe. Courses delivered 8 times from 2013-2016.


Software Engineer, for Canonical, Web Development

Working as part of a team doing web development with Django. We primarily worked on the payment service and single sign on systems. We broke these monoliths down into microservices and worked with our system administrators on revising our deployment practises to enable us to rapidly deploy updates using current versions of dependencies whilst maintaining system security. One achievement I am particularly proud of during my time on this team was the large scale refactoring of payment services to replace the business logic scattered throughout the codebase with a single state machine. This made invalid transaction status transitions impossible, as well as reducing duplication and making the system more stable and easier to maintain.
Both SSO and Payment Service were built on top of Postgres and provided REST APIs as well as a web front end.


Freelance Developer

My largest customer has been a German firm,, working remotely developing business web applications with Django and Silverlight. I travel regularly to Germany (about two weeks every two months), but most development is remote including some remote pair programming. Particularly fun was building a test suite into the Silverlight application, so that functional tests of the graphical front end could run in the browser.

April 2006-November 2009

Senior Software Engineer and Community Champion for Resolver Systems

Working as part of a small team of programmers, creating a spreadsheet development environment (a programmable spreadsheet) aimed at the financial services industry.
This was programmed almost entirely in IronPython (for the Microsoft .NET platform) with some C#. It used Windows forms for the presentation layer. The whole team has played a part in the architecture decisions and constant refactoring to maintain code quality and readability.
Because of my contacts with the Python and open source community, I was also the team 'Community Champion' (Technology evangelist).
We used agile development techniques like pair programming, test driven development (both unit tests and functional tests), continuous integration and iterative development.
This has involved some work directly with the Win32 API, primarily for automation in the functional test suite but also for remoting and a few other areas.


Sales Manager for TBS Ltd, an independent builders merchant

Managing the sales team at the Daventry depot of TBS, including:
  • Day-to-day management
  • Sales reporting
  • Appraisal, training and personal development of staff
  • Management of performance
  • Ensuring excellent customer service from all team members
  • Working with customers on project requirements including:
  • Initial contacting phase
  • Specification and product requirements
  • Quoting and Price negotiation
  • Project management of orders including post delivery follow up
  • Negotiating with customers and suppliers
  • Monitoring the stock profile
  • Researching and advising on new products
  • Responsible for winning new business and new customers
  • Resolving problems and disputes including customer service


First year of a law degree at Corpus Christi college, Cambridge UK completed.
A-Level Maths, Physics and English all at Grade A.
GCSE Maths, Physics, Chemistry, English Language, English Literature, Economics, History, Technology all at Grade A.

References available on request.

Thursday, 9 February 2017


One of the reasons I call myself a feminist is the horrible damage that the "normal" expectations of the male stereotype did to me when I was younger.

Those expectations actively ruined my life for a while (which was entirely my responsibility and fault that I let it happen). Whilst at university I was so ashamed of being a virgin that I let pursuing sex (very, very badly because of how bound up I was) take over my life - to the extent that the humiliation of the things I did and said in pursuit of that were a substantial factor in my drug psychosis which resulted in homelessness and years spent rebuilding my psyche (obviously the copious quantities of LSD were also a substantial factor).

So I can personally attest that the societal pressure to conform to the male role is, and can be, horribly damaging to men. Feminism, the pursuit of real equality and the destruction of "normal gender roles" is the movement I see actively working against this - and it can be of tremendous benefit to men as well as women.

I also identify as pro-choice. Pro-choice doesn't mean being pro-abortion, it simply means supporting a woman's choice - regardless of whether it be abortion, adoption or giving birth and raising a child. I don't feel like I have any right to make these kinds of difficult decisions on anyone else's behalf.

I strongly believe this is the morally righteous attitude and I will fight for it whenever I can.

A Momentary Lapse of Reason

All that exists is now. All that ever will exist, or ever has existed, is this tiny moment. And how precious it is. How worth fighting for, this fleeting instant

It dances, it is and we are.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Theodicy and the Problem of Evil

Theodicy in a nutshell. If God created everything, then God created suffering.

If, as Christian doctrine teaches and indeed is the pursuit of the Christian practise, we are headed for a state where suffering and evil is not even possible, why did God not choose just to start there instead of putting us through all this? (Assuming that perfect love is God, as is the experience and premise of Progressive Christianity.)

Because evil is even a theoretical possibility the only theoretical solution is that we must live in a universe where evil is defeated. What we now experience is the outworking of that. That is one philosophical answer.

To put it another way. Even if God just created heaven and paradise, if evil was even just a theoretical possibility then eventually - given enough time - it would happen. Creation would fall and evil must be defeated. And so, here we are.

In order for evil to not even be possible it must have happened and been defeated. So the way things are is the only way they can be if we are to have true perfection.

Christianity cuts the Gordian knot by saying that evil is defeated by God incarnate dying to pay the very real price for suffering. There is a price and it is exacted in blood, the blood of perfection itself.