Category Archives: Github

Becoming a Next Generation SE, Part 2 – Learn Markdown

Our second installment in the “How to become a Next Generation SE” focuses on yet another critical skill – Markdown.

“I still don’t know what Markdown is…?” I respect that.  I might suggest you head over to our friends over at What Is Markdown and read their breakdown.  It’s a bit more deep than just documentation, in this case, but hey have a good breakdown of the basics, if it helps you get there.

“Why Markdown?”  You might ask, and rightfully so.  Markdown is the documentation standard on GitHub for one.  For those who are looking to participate, and maybe just aren’t ready to learn to code as an SE just yet – this is a great starting point.  You can contribute in a few ways:

  • Contribute to an existing project by helping with the documentation
  • Contribute a new project by creating valuable missing documentation on something.
  • Write unique and original presentations for your daily tasks, such as customer meetings.

I’ve been forcing myself to learn markdown using a few of these methods already.  One of them was inspired while I was learning about contributing markdown projects on GitHub and found Sinker’s Taco Fancy – a VNX Techbook level document which has sub-components combined to make numerous recipes and is #foodie gold!  My personal result?  I documented one of the recipes my friends and family beg for consistently.  My spaghetti and meatballs are borderline epic, if I do say so myself.  I’ve decided to set my recipe free unto the world, hoping for feedback, additions, enhancements, and anything else that might come from setting it free. OK, so I’m slightly imitating what EMC has done recently by firmly embracing Open Source and offering open versions of Greenplum Database, HAWQ, and GemFire – but the point is the same – everyone benefits!  Want more Open Source EMC stuff? Don’t forget to drop by EMC{code} on GitHub.

Here are the links to the markdown versions of my Italian Red Sauce (Gravy) and Meatballs – I bet you ‘fork’ them before the weekend’s over!

The other process I’ve been working on is starting a new master deck (PPT) to use for my presentations on all things EMC, using Markdown.  This was inspired again by Matt Cowger – he’s the meanest, nastiest, best mentor you could ever have at EMC! 🙂  He introduced me to Deckset – a markdown based app for managing your presentations.


Below are a few of the bookmarked sites I have in regards to Markdown, which is unfortunately a bit of a fragmented soft-standard.  It’s still young and becoming more prevalent daily, so the growing pains are frankly expected and worth it. Here’s a few of the sites that I found that I’m focused on:


Learning sites:

Once you’ve started learning markdown and are ready to deploy version 0.1 of ‘Hello’, you’ll need just a few more things to get yourself started (sound familiar?)

Get yourself a Github account, publish your files there, and start following some people. While you’re at it, go find an interesting project, fork it, and play around with the markdown.

Becoming a Next Generation SE, Part 1 – Learn to Code

During my personal journey to adapt my skills as an EMC Systems Engineer to fit the model of our Next Generation SE, I will be sharing the steps I take and the information I gather along the way.  I am pretty comfortable with the general conversations that are required of me, but I can say without hesitation that my weakest skill would be the actual coding of an application and deploying it in an environment (specifically, in a PaaS environment).

While he was in town working on his lab environment, I took the opportunity to corner Matt Cowger and ask his advice in regards to application development and the role of the Next Generation SE in general.  If you don’t know Matt (how is that possible?), the one thing you should know is that he’s ‘wicked smaht’ and that he is a prototype for what the EMC Systems Engineer is becoming (he has a particular set of skills, skills he’s acquired over a very long career).  Matt and I were discussing learning to code, and I asked for his advice on which language he would recommend – it was clear: Python is the way to go.  I’d received numerous suggestions and seen it mentioned countless times, so I asked Matt why he thought it was the way to go.  His explanation sealed it for me.  I’m paraphrasing here, but essentially Matt explained that “In other popular languages, there may be 10 different ways to accomplish the same task. In python, there might be only one way to do accomplish that task”.  As always, if you ask 1,000 people their opinions, you’ll get 1,000 different answers on how to do things – but Matt’s explanation was really compelling to this novice coder. Python it is!

I had already bookmarked as many “teach yourself X language” sites as I possibly could, so I sorted all of those that could teach me python and I’m off to learn.  Here’s a list of the sites that I found that I’m focused on:

And here’s a few others for supplemental training:

Once you’ve started learning python and are ready to deploy version 0.1 of ‘Hello World’, you’ll need just a few more things to get yourself started:

Get yourself a Github account, publish your code there, and start following some people. While you’re at it, go find an interesting project, fork it, and play around with the code.

Next, go sign up for Cloud Foundry and start a project. Send me the URL, I’d love to see what you’ve done!

EMC{code} – What’s in the {}?

CODE.  Code Open, Deploy Everywhere.
CODE.  Community Onramp for Developer Enablement.

It’s official – 2015 has been deemed “the year of open source” for EMC.  Sorry VDI / EUC, you’ve had your turn at the top of the charts!  This new priority prompts a great question though: what would make EMC bother to embrace Open Source?  As my good friend @vTexan LOVES to say:  “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”  I’m sure EMC technically had a ‘choice’ to embrace Open Source, but not doing so is against every tenant of the Federations’ stance towards giving their customers that same opportunity – CHOICE.

So you have EMC products, and you want to participate in the open source ecosystem – what do you do?  First, Head to the official EMC Github Page – and bookmark it.  Grab some of the existing code and fork it (I love saying that. forgive me.).  But I already have a project in mind Brian, I want to publish this internal tool I’ve created for everyone else to enjoy!  Cool.  Up Top! High Five!  In fact, #DevHigh5 !

Get in the #DevHigh5 ! program, and get recognized.  Joining is free.  The resulting international celebrity status in the community is your problem. 🙂

Step 1:   Put it on GitHub – “if it’s not on GitHub, it doesn’t exist”.
Step 2:   Document – I know you’re already doing this, but for real – give it some good documentation.  I hear doing it in markdown gets you brownie points.
Step 3:   Open Testing – I’m sure it works in your lab, but broadening that scope will help ensure the product is more broadly accepted and adopted.
Step 4:   Verify EMC Requirements – EMC will need to ensure it conforms with certain guidelines, but also – you’ll want to stay involved at some level as the code is shared with other users and projects, right?
Step 5:   Publish the project – there’s a few ways to do this, depending on the code and who wants to own it – you’ll know what works best for EMC and you here.

What else can you do to learn more?

Again, Head to the official EMC Github Page
Join #emccode on freenode
Join #emccode-users on Google Groups
Tag EMC on stackoverflow

Follow some peeps on the Twitters:

I’ve also created a handy EMC{code} Twitter List, as well.

Additional, much more informative, EMC{code} blogs to note:
Chad Sakacc – First EMC{code} #DevHigh5 Winners!
Brian Gracely – The next 5-10 year journey
Jonas Rosland – New role, new responsibilities, same face
Kendrick Coleman – A move into full stack IT
Clint Kitson – Here comes my sequel!
Matt Cowger – Next Generation SE – why we all sell Tylenol