Pythons in the office
Eyad Hailat is a senior software engineer who was hired last December to work at the Molex design center in Arkansas. “As part of my onboarding, I was asked to fill out an EverLearn profile. My new supervisor, Jacob Bock, said this would make it easier for me to be found and for me to find others.” At the top of Hailat’s listings was a mention of his work with Apache Kafka, an open-source tool for storing and retrieving data in the form of events.
“Kafka is like the ultimate high-speed bus,” explained Hailat, who has used it for more than nine years to build systems and what he calls “data pipelines” for various projects.
“You load your data at one end and it moves everything quickly and safely to your preferred destination at the other end. It’s super fast and scalable. The data can be from the shop floor or a welding machine or sensors. It doesn’t matter. It will absorb the data even if the amount is huge. And whether you're consuming from one station or several stations, it will all be delivered very reliably and very fast.”
Hailat’s brother, Zeyad, happens to work at Guardian Industries, another Koch company, where developers and software engineers had already installed Kafka but had some important questions about the best way to integrate it into one of their applications. Zeyad advised them to use EverLearn to reach out to Eyad.
“Guardian was a little bit ahead of Molex as far as user integration but they needed to know more from someone who had used it extensively — someone who could help them elevate their use of it,” Hailat said. “You see, installing it is one thing, but using it is another. Since Kafka is my favorite ‘toy’ for managing data, I agreed to share my expertise to effectively manage Kafka clusters in production as best as I could.”
When the session began (Hailat said they scheduled an hour), he was surprised to discover how many people from Guardian were participating. “It had gone much higher up the ladder than I expected. There was a director, a data scientist and a few managers and engineers. I’m almost embarrassed to think about it now because I hadn’t developed any slides or visuals or anything like that.” The Guardian team didn’t mind. They wanted a conversation, not a presentation. They peppered him with questions about security, customization and how to operate the program better. Hailat was able to anticipate almost every question. “I had been in their shoes and knew exactly what they were trying to do.”
It wasn’t long after their connection when Hailat began to receive a stream of thank-you notes. “Using me as a resource became a huge benefit for Guardian,” he said. “I not only understood their operational challenges, I understood their corporate culture, their Guiding Principles. We also avoided waste because they didn’t have to spend money on consultants or sign contracts or hassle with nondisclosure agreements and all that. We could get right to it.
“That,” Hailat said with a smile, “was one of my best collaboration meetings ever.”