Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Our August Bitnami Power User: Nick McElligott

We’re excited to announce our August ‘Bitnami Power User', Nick McElligott! Nick went from having little to no backend server knowledge to CTO in a matter of months. He uses Bitnami as a resource to explore different installation environments and experiment with server setups.

Nick is an evangelist for Bitnami, not only because we make server software easy to use, but also because we make a wide variety of applications available on many different platforms and back it up with solid documentation and customer support.

Our support team is all about great user experience, so we love when people ask for help or advice! If you ever have a question about one of our stacks, visit the Bitnami community page and we’ll help you out ASAP.

Read on to learn more about Nick’s experience:

What is your occupation? 

Right now I'm an IT Consultant. I am a consulting CTO for a few small companies (all under the same ownership) and consult for my previous full time job in a full stack dev role.

What are your hobbies? 

  • beer 
  • basketball (especially NBA Spurs, and NCAA KU - rock chalk!)
  • blacksmithing (shout out to watersidemetalart.org) 
  • juggling and unicycling 
  • bar hopping
  • traveling 
  • Indian food 
  • programming (javascript is my favourite atm)

How would a novice programmer best use Bitnami as a resource? 

Most of the resources and tutorials on the internet are focused on front end (HTML/CSS/JS) and back end (PHP/Python/Ruby/C#/Java/DB etc) development. There are very little great tutorials on backend server stuff like how to get going with Linux install/setup/usage/concepts, the command line usage, Apache installation/setups/best use, MySQL install/setup and general server management, backups, monitoring, and architecture etc. All that stuff is usually learned on the job with experience. It’s hard to teach from a video and hard to learn without actually doing it and going through it all - something that most people would find prohibitive and not worth the payoff. 

When I got my first job at Spark Digital, I hadn’t touched any servers. I was thrown in the deep-end and was the only programmer in the whole building. Initially the existing sites were setup on shared hosting environments where we had little control over the environment. Within 6 months we had decided that we wanted to move over to a VPS provider and discovered Amazon. Since I didn't have any experience, we looked to Bitnami.

How did Bitnami fulfill your needs and where did you first hear about us? 

Bitnami has a billion different server images for all kinds of different products and services. However I would expect that most users don't use a fraction of all the different images available. Most people are in an industry and do a specific type of thing. Much of the value I got from Bitnami was that you could trust that the images were setup in a best way possible, documentation is amazing, and your support team goes above and beyond the call of duty.

Your Support Team really pushed me over the edge to fully love Bitnami. I can't tell you the amount of times they have saved me. It’s honestly insane. I'd love to see how many emails have been sent back and forth between us. The team was awesome, knowledgeable, intelligent, understanding and so much more. Please tell your support team that they are amazing, and if it weren't for all their hard work, I'd simply be a front end dev, not a full stacker.

What projects are you currently working on? 

Personally- I've been looking into RFID stuff using a RaspPi and using a LAMP backend. I may even take a look at switching over to a MEAN stack. RFID is such an empty market, and there are so many opportunities there, its exciting. Other RaspPi stuff and home automation is another area where I have interest. 

Professionally- I've just started playing with Visual Studio and C#, its a lot of fun. Working with a full fledged IDE has been interesting, but playing with a C based lang has been great.

Do you have any favorite stacks/apps in the Bitnami Library? 

Nothing in particular. I'm more familiar with a LAMP stack though.

We love to hear hear from our users, and would love to hear about your personal experience with Bitnami, as well. Feel free to reach out to us, and you might just be the next Bitnami Power User!