What Core Platform does at Scribd
A number of people have asked me recently what I actually do for a living these days at Scribd. Due to the very public nature of my involvement with the Jenkins project and the Continuous Delivery Foundation, a few of my friends have seemingly forgotten that CI/CD is not actually my full time job! My career has largely been focused on two axis: building high-functioning engineering teams, and building backend API/service infrastructure.
At Scribd, I’m ratcheting up the responsibility with the Core Platform team. The team exists to “provide robust and foundational software, increasing Scribd’s operational excellence to scale apps and data.” Our primary customer is Scribd Engineering, and we’re focused on building, testing, deploying apps and infrastructure which will help other teams rapidly scale, inter-operate, integrate with real-time (streaming) data sources and models.
I think of Core Platform as logically a step up from operational infrastructure such as AWS VPCs, networks, load balancers, Kubernetes clusters, etc, and a step below business API services such as document rendering, user management, etc. Services and Infrastructure like messaging (Kafka), stream processing (Spark), and machine learning model training/delivery coming to mind, along with all the other nuances of scaling these services technically and organizationally.
We also have additional application runtime responsibilities such as RPC tooling including tracing, discovery, and that sort of thing.
Like any internally focused team, Core Platform is also responsible for education and evangelism of our work within engineering, whether we’re writing thorough documentation for the systems we build, hosting internal workshops, or providing implementation support to our peers across engineering. This is where I’m excited to utilize some of the skills I had honed over the past three years.
The first challenge I faced when joining Scribd was actually bootstrapping the team. Defining the charter, some roadmap, and most importantly: hiring talented people. With three people already hired, I am excited to be focusing more on execution for the next couple of months. We have an enormous amount of text data, and some wild ideas on what we can enable with the right data platform beneath it, so should be heaps of fun!