Meet the Engineer: Mark Miller

MarkGiven the recent news about Cloudera Search, we thought we’d devote this installment of “Meet the Engineer” to Apache Lucene/Apache Solr PMC member Mark Miller.

What do you do at Cloudera (and in which Apache project(s) are you involved)?

I’m a software engineer on the Search team. I’ve been involved in the Apache Lucene community since 2006 and Apache Solr since around 2009. I spend a lot of time adding features to Solr and fixing bugs, as well as working on improving Solr integration with the rest of the Hadoop ecosystem. I kind of think of myself as a “distributed search guy” at the moment.

What do you like about your job?

I really enjoy working on open source software, working at early stage companies, and building things. Cloudera has a great company culture, and is a great fit for those interests. It’s hard not to enjoy doing what you love doing.

What is your favorite thing about Lucene/Solr?

The community. Some of the most interesting and enjoyable people I know are part of the Lucene/Solr community. After that, I like the code.

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

Just start pitching in. Take a little time to watch how the community works, who the people with the most merit are, the range of acceptable parameters. Then emulate what you see. Learn the rules before you start breaking them. Pitch in on things that you can. Even if it’s small. Small regular contributions have a habit of becoming larger contributions.

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

I started programming at around age 8 when my Dad taught me a bit of BASIC. I fiddled with that off and on, but I did not really dive in until the Internet started to become more popular – around ’94-’95, when I was around 13 or 14. I’ve always liked to create things and programming represented a very large toolbox and cheap materials. I think it just kind of became my default “paintbrush”‘ due to its range and cost effectiveness.

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