Meet the Engineer: Jon Natkins

In this installment of “Meet the Engineers”, meet Jonathan Natkins,  also known as “Natty” by his friends and colleagues. 

What do you do at Cloudera, and in which Apache project are you involved?

For the last year and a half, I’ve been an engineer on the Enterprise team. We’re the guys who build Cloudera Manager, and all the goodies that make it easy to manage and administer Apache Hadoop clusters. Specifically, I’ve worked on a number of things across the product, like scale and performance for the databases underlying the various monitoring tools available in the Enterprise edition of Cloudera Manager. I’ve also worked extensively on our operational reporting and HDFS file search capabilities. While I don’t work full-time on any of the Apache projects, I have been known to contribute to Apache Hive and Hadoop on rainy days.

Why do you enjoy your job?

It’s the people. Cloudera has outrageously smart employees, both technical and non-technical, and for me, that’s really important. I feel like I’ve got a lot to learn from the people around me. The culture is fantastic, as well. I feel just as comfortable in the office with these folks as I do at the bar. Getting to work on one of the hottest enterprise technologies in years is just icing on the cake.

What is your favorite thing about Hadoop?

My favorite thing about Hadoop has to be the breadth of the ecosystem. It’s pretty cool that we’re working on not just a filesystem, but a data processing system, and a data ingest system, and systems to handle real-time workloads, as well as offline workloads. It’s amazing to see all the use cases that users have been able to build on top of the platform.

What is your advice for someone who is interested in participating in any open source project for the first time?

Get involved! If you’re interested in participating in the open source community, find a project that strikes your fancy, check out their bug list, and look for something that seems easy enough to bite off. I know the HBase community tags some bugs as “newbie” bugs. Start with those. When in doubt, reach out. Most of the projects have developer mailing lists, and that’s a great place to say hi and ask for some help finding some small issues to cut your teeth on.

At what age did you become interested and programming, and why?

Well…I built Web pages when I was 12. For a long time, as a kid, I wanted nothing more than to build video games. Then I got older and decided I was going to law school, so I went to college for International Relations. That plan crashed and burned when I realized that I didn’t really…do books. I ended up falling in love with a computer science course I took the following semester, and the rest is history.

Look for our next “Meet the Engineer” profile soon. See you then!

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