NICK GROENEN


E-Mail: nick@groenen.me
Website: https://nick.groenen.me/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nickgroenen/
GitHub: https://github.com/zoni/


I am a systems administrator with a software developer’s mindset (they call that a “site reliability engineer” nowadays). I work mostly on SRE and DevOps type things, though I’m the kind of person who naturally tends to fix any issues he or she comes across.

(Technical) correctness, privacy and security are also important values to me and I prefer working with, and contributing back to, open source software and projects.

EXPERTISES & PERSONAL INTERESTS

While not an exhaustive list, the following topics form the core essence of what I am experienced with and most enjoy working on.

  • Site reliability engineering
    • Both technical aspects such as automation and configuration management, CI/CD pipelines, establishing service metrics and improving observability.
    • But also cultural aspects like technical writing and documentation, setting up sustainable on-call rotations, leading (blameless!) post-mortems and mentoring developers on operational concerns.
  • Unix systems (primarily FreeBSD and GNU/Linux)
  • Software development in Python, Elixir and Go (golang)
  • Distributed and concurrent systems
  • High availability & large-scale infrastructure
  • Information security, both from a technical perspective as well as a management perspective including risk assessments, policy design, awareness trainings, etc.

I’ve also been a core maintainer of errbot, an open source Python framework for building chatbots, since late 2012. Errbot is to bot development what Django is to web development, used by people for ChatOps, home automation, random humor and just about anything else you can imagine.

WORK EXPERIENCE

Site Reliability Engineer at Castor EDC

February 2019 - Present. Amsterdam, Netherlands

I’m the chief Site Reliability Engineer for Castor EDC, a cloud-based Electronic Data Capture platform enabling medical practitioners to capture high quality, reusable research data. As SRE it’s my responsibility to design, build and manage the IT infrastructure in close coordination with application developers so that the development teams can get new products and features out as best as possible.

Castor is currently in a scale-up phase which means the workload is highly dynamic. A lot of my work consists around maturing our infrastructure, laying the foundation for a more cloud-native, future proof platform capable of sustaining Castor’s rapid growth. I also do a good amount of vendor communication and am heavily involved in quality and information security policies and processes (ISO/IEC 27001 & 9001, HIPAA, NEN 7510, etc).

Developer & security officer at StartMail

February 2017 – January 2019. The Hague, Netherlands

I was one of the senior developers at StartMail, a privacy-focused email service. During my two years there my team worked on rebuilding all of StartMail’s core infrastructure, including a tricky customer migration which was completed without incident.

After completion of the project I continued to work on further infrastructure improvements and assisted in the rewrite of their frontend webmail application from an 90’s-style PHP webapp (helloooo SquirrelMail!) to modern javascript with a Python backend.

In addition to my role as developer I also served as StartMail’s security officer, responsible for implementing security policies and having knowledge of fun acronyms such as ISO/IEC 27001, HIPAA and GDPR.

DevOps engineer at Byte

November 2014 – January 2017. Amsterdam, Netherlands

I worked in the role of DevOps engineer (buzzword alert!) at Byte, a webhosting company specializing in PHP and Magento E-commerce hosting. I did systems administration with a heavy focus on automation, writing and maintaining software systems which supported all aspects of Byte’s infrastructure.

  • I was the team lead for the “platform quality monitoring” specialization within Byte, which meant I was responsible for all aspects of monitoring/alerting/metrics collection (a lot of this involved Nagios/Icinga, Graphite, ElasticSearch/Logstash/Kibana).

  • I was the team lead for the “provisioning” specialization, which meant I was responsible for all higher-level/company-wide provisioning/automation efforts. A large part of this involved managing the Puppet and Ansible infrastructure, automation scripts and a number of supporting API services (mostly in Python/Django).

  • I was a member of the mail specialization, responsible for all email services offered to Byte’s customers. This involved maintenance of dovecot and postfix mail clusters, the implementation and upkeep of spam-filtering software and implementation of custom rate-limiting and accounting software.

  • I was a member of the security specialization, which concerned itself with all aspects of security, from tracking security advisories and rolling out security patches to raising general awareness about various aspects of security.

While at Byte, I also helped implement ISO/IEC 27001:2013.

Further past

Developer at TravelBird

August 2013 – November 2014. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Web developer at a&m impact internetdiensten

October 2011 - July 2013. Doetinchem, Netherlands

System administrator/Application developer intern at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications

July 2009 - August 2009. Urbana-Champaign, Illinois Area, USA

EDUCATION

B.B.A., Business Administration at a&m impact internetdiensten

2012-2013, Doetinchem, Netherlands.

This was a joint employer- and government-sponsored two-year education program that would have seen students gain a B.A. degree in Business Administration by combining study with daily work. Unfortunately my employer at that time (a&m impact internetdiensten) chose not to continue the program after the first year. As such, I was unable to finish and did not obtain a degree.

Bc., Computer Science at Radboud University

2007-2010, Nijmegen, Netherlands

I studied computer science at the Radboud University in Nijmegen, however I finished only about 2 years of courses before stopping my studies. As such I did not obtain a degree.

VWO profiel Natuur en Techniek at Arentheem College

2001-2007, Arnhem, Netherlands

CERTIFICATIONS

Level 1 Certificate in English (ESOL)

University of Cambridge, License 0012247650

European First Aid Certificate (EFAC)

Red Cross certificate number nrks10028399-71892

PROFESSIONALISM AND ETHICS

I believe too little attention is currently given to ethics in the field of IT and related industry so I’d like to explicitly call out that I hold myself to both the ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct as well as the IEEE Code of Ethics.

SEE ALSO

The latest version of this document is available on-line in a variety of formats: