Jacob Harris

Objective

I am a web developer with 19 years of work experience and a Master’s Degree in Computer Science who is looking for interesting problems and building software for the public good. I specialize in backend architectures and reliable APIs for important purposes. I live in the Washington, D.C. area, but I am also an experienced and ruthlessly efficient remote worker accustomed to working with distributed teams.

Languages

  • C/C++/Go
  • Java/Scala
  • HTML/CSS/Javascript
  • Ruby/Ruby on Rails
  • Python/Flask
  • Scheme/Lisp/Clojure
  • SQL (MySQL/Postgres)

Tools

  • Mac OS X/ Linux server
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Docker/CloudFoundry
  • Varnish/Haproxy
  • Apache/Nginx/static sites
  • Redis/Elasticsearch
  • Test-Driven Development

Skills

  • Data Journalism
  • API-centric approaches
  • Agile/Kanban
  • Effective remote worker
  • Great communication skills
  • Plays well with others
  • Concerned about inclusion

Employment

Innovation Specialist,
18F is a “government startup” that operates within the General Services Administration and consults to build software products for other federal agencies as clients. We build all of our projects in public, as open source software informed by user research and agile planning. Notable projects:
  • MyUSA I joined this project while it was in progress and helped build out the user interface. MyUSA was a prototype system for single-sign-on that allowed users to sign in and control what information they share with various government websites.
  • Micro-purchase “The premise of the micro-purchase experiment was radical: government employees should be able to commission custom software development with the same ease as they can buy office supplies. The initial experiment was built in Google Docs; I helped create a robust web application in Ruby on Rails to successfully run all other auctions.”
  • FBI Crime Data Explorer I am extremely interested in Open Data; when I learned that 18F would be building an interface for crime data from the FBI, I asked to be part of the project, especially since it also meant learning Python, a language I did not know that well. I have worked closely with another developer on the backend, building and optimizing an API used by the visual explorer website.
  • Confidential Survey As part of my involvement with the Diversity Guild and a project to gather statistics on 18F’s efforts at diversity and inclusion, I built a prototype for conducting surveys without collecting detailed records that could compromise a user’s privacy
Senior Software Architect,
In 2007, I was a co-founder of the Interactive Newsroom Technologies Team, a startup-like group embedded within the newsroom that creates news-driven web applications on agile timeframes. Notable projects:
  • Elections (2008-2014) In 2008, I paired with another developer to build a new and better election results loader for the general election. We continued using it for 2010, 2012, the 2013 NYC Mayoral election and 2014 election years, and I refactored that loader into a modular API-based service that shared results with the web and print and operated under insane amounts of traffic.
  • Olympics Results (2010/2012) The International Olympic Committee provides a real-time feed of XML results data, and I helped architect and build out a service to parse those results and display on the sites of the Times and a few partners. I also helped to architect the successor system built for the 2014 London Olympics.
  • Wikileaks War Logs When Wikileaks provided the Times with leaked military dispatches from Iraq and Afghanistan, I built an internal website application used by reporters to search and analyze the people and places within. I also contributed research and pitched a graphic to accompany a story on the deaths in Baghdad.
  • @nytimes Twitter Account One afternoon in 2007, I created the @nytimes twitter account. I then added other accounts and built the service for feeding stories from various RSS feeds into the 80+ accounts belonging to the Times.
  • Times Haiku After the 2012 election, I built a bot that scanned Times articles to find haiku embedded within them.
Software Developer,
Alacra resells financial content from over 80 different databases to financial and legal firms. My role there was R&D and rapid development, particularly combining content from these databases.

Education

Masters Eng./Bachelor of Science (dual), Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Major in Computer Science, Minor in Literature. Concentration of studies: operating systems, software engineering, programming languages and compilers.

Selected Writing

References available on request.