Connector Spotlight: Scott Wallace
Wednesday June 12, 2019
Tell us a little bit about the project you’re working on.
I’m currently part of a diverse team of engineers working on a project to migrate and update thousands of forums. There are a few different ways we’re tackling this problem. First off, these forums are using a variety of software, so we’re in the process of consolidating all of that. We’re then extending that software and modernizing the front-end experience to be more consistent with today’s most popular websites. We’re also moving the back-end functionality into microservices which will be running on Kubernetes.
Previously, I was investigating the viability of extreme-scale, low-latency messaging solutions for next-gen IoT applications and in-home experiences. We started the project by building a proof-of-concept IoT solution to see how feasible it would be to run your own solution as well as a baseline for what the performance of that solution could be. We also had to build a way of load testing this IoT solution, which we did with some modifications to the Locust framework running on hundreds and hundreds of AWS EC2 instances. Once we completed the testing against our own solution we also tested enterprise IoT solutions in the market today to compare their performances. We culminated the project with a massive document outlining findings, lots of data and the pros and cons of each solution.
That sounds like great work! Any achievements or awards you can brag about?
I won the Computing Students Association (COMPSA) President’s Award after my first year at Queen’s University. I’ve also won some sports-related awards in high school and as well as the “Youth & Philanthropy Initiative” competition, which donated $5000 to a local charity in Kingston, Ontario. The winners of the competition were able to go to an event in Toronto where a British musician performed – it turned out to be Ed Sheeran!
Wow, that’s quite a list! Any publications, talks, portfolio items, or other created works you can share?
Last year I did a talk at Seneca College’s Free Software and Open Source Symposium
(FSOSS) about our journey on servicing 5 million messaging connections on Kubernetes, the project I previously worked on at Connected. Our Team Lead, Dave Doyle, also gave this presentation at Kubecon + CloudNativeCon North America 2018 in Seattle.
Sounds like an interesting talk! Where did you work prior to Connected?
Before joining Connected, I was working at Amazon. I did an internship in Seattle with one of the Fulfillment by Amazon teams whose focus was on managing third-party seller inventory. I worked on a root cause analysis tool to help engineers on-call. After that, I worked at the Toronto offices with an Amazon Fulfillment Technologies team, where the focus was on managing software tools used in Amazon’s fulfillment centres that are used to get packages through the warehouse to your front door faster!
Wow! What products have you worked on or been involved with prior to joining Connected?
I did a project in university where we worked with the ReFlex smartphone and got to explore new interaction techniques that are only possible with a flexible smartphone. We decided to explore a modified menu that could be navigated with bend gestures.
I also built an Android version of the board game The Resistance: Avalon which got rave reviews when we showed it off at the 2015 Creative Computing Showcase.
We also built an Augmented Reality Sandbox where you could experiment with different topologies and make it rain different types of liquids like water, lava or toxic sludge. The project is now on display at the Miller Museum at Queen’s University.
Those are some impressive products. What are your two favourite things about working at Connected and why?
First and foremost, the people! Everyone here exemplifies our core values (Smart, Kind, Reliable, Teachers & Learners) which really make Connected a great place to work where you can feel comfortable asking for help or giving help to others without ever feeling judged for it. Second, the work; we have some amazing clients and projects that are both challenging and interesting to tackle.
What advice would you give to someone just starting at Connected?
Feel free to be yourself and don’t be afraid to ask questions – there’s always someone willing to help out!
Favourite memory at Connected?
I really enjoyed our company-wide Disconnect at Algonquin Park. It was great to be outdoors with no technology and really relax without having to think about a notification interrupting you. The canoe trip across Canoe Lake was fun and a good workout. I also really enjoyed archery, playing soccer, ball hockey, and going for a swim in the lake.
What hobbies or side projects do you have outside of work?
I am really into sports – mainly soccer, hockey, snowboarding, and golf. I’m also passionate about video games. I usually focus on games with a single player story with my favourite being The Last of Us (can’t wait for the sequel). Another thing I like is watching movies. It doesn’t have to be anything in particular I just find it really interesting to dive into the movie’s world for a few hours. When I’m not doing all of this, I’m probably playing with my dog, Ellie.
What product do you wish you’d created and why?
I think that would have to be Google Search. It’s such a widely used and successful product that “Google it” has become a common household phrase.
What might most people not know about you?
From my passion for sports, I’ve accumulated a very extensive jersey collection. I don’t have an exact count but I think it’s in the 70 range.
Any weird talents?
I can juggle! I’m not sure if that counts as a weird talent but I just tried to learn one weekend and eventually got the hang of it.
What song is on repeat while you work?
I’ll either be listening to a podcast or have my music shuffled. Generally, if I need to be really productive I’ll put on a house music playlist.
What’s your favourite Toronto restaurant?
I highly recommend Utsav Indian Cuisine. It’s relatively close to my old apartment and was my go-to spot on the way home for dinner. I really like their Chicken Tikka Masala with some Garlic Naan.
Aside from restaurants, what’s your favourite place in Toronto?
If you couldn’t tell already, I’m a major sports fan so it’s fair game to say the Rogers Centre (a.k.a. Skydome) is my favourite place in Toronto!
Stay tuned for more profiles about the great people here at Connected.