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2017 Recap and 2018 Goals

2017 Recap

What a year! This year has brought a lot of great things for me professionally. So, I wanted to recap a few things and chat about where I’d like to go from here!

Docker Goodness!

Most of the good things that happened are somehow related to my work with Docker. So, here are a few highlights…

Main Job at Virginia Tech

I’m very fortunate in my job at Virginia Tech because I work mainly as a developer, but am given a lot of flexibility to contribute to other areas. I’m really excited for what’s in store this year.

  • 28 production deployments throughout the year for Summit. Not bad for a team of three developers and for an organization that typically deploys every few months!
  • Numerous internal Docker presentations on the Virginia Tech campus
  • Updated Docker builds and setup zero-downtime deployment pipelines for the Virginia Cyber Range
  • Served in several multi-university collaboration groups looking to adopt the cloud and Docker
  • Working to build a developer community for sharing of best practices regarding testing, build pipelines, and more.
  • 579 contributions to GitHub repos, across 45 different repos
    • Includes making the official Node image multi-arch (PR here)

Teaching at Virginia Tech

I’ve been fortunate to teach as well, which is “above and beyond” my normal work (I have to make-up time that I’m out). I taught CS1114 at Virginia Tech for the Spring and Fall semesters and a summer session, with a grand total of 359 students! I absolutely love teaching and, based on what I hear from students, they love attending my classes! Here are a few excerpts from feedback I received this year through our normal course feedback system…

"He was very passionate about teaching the class. The passion spread to others in the room, and many people were inspired to do great things in the class. His passion motivated me to learn and develop a loving passion for the area as well."
"I like the way he explained the material, and asking him for help was great, because he helped you naturally come to the conclusion."
"He was very engaging and approachable, as opposed to other professors teaching the same course. His office hours were extremely helpful with labs and program assignments while not giving any answers away. His lectures were fun and interesting, and the way he explained the content was detailed and it made sense."
"He really took his time to explain concepts and didn't judge us if we didn't understand or already know the material. Always had a positive and helpful attitude."
"Michael Irwin has really helped me with understanding the concepts of the course and has helped with every question I have asked. His lectures are by far my favorite and they are always fun to beat. The only part I'm disappointed with is that he is not teaching CS 2114!!"
"He explained everything clearly, and was completely okay with people coming in with no prior knowledge. He also took the time each class to answer each question. It also seemed clear that he cared about us doing well in the class."
"Mr. Irwin definitely was concerned about each student's performance in the class, and displayed great respect."

I also received several notes from students who said they weren’t interested in CS before, but after taking the class, they feel inspired and motivated to tackle it! That’s really what makes it all worth it!

Lots of new friends!

Being a Captain, going to conferences, and hanging out on Twitter has expanded my circle of friends quite a bit! Here’s a few photos to highlight the year!

Friend Collage

Virginia Captains (Bret Fisher, Me, Phil Estes, John Zaccone); Arun Gupta, Abby Fuller, Me; Betty Junod and Me; Docker Community Leaders in Copenhagen; Docker Captains in Austin; Docker Captains in Copenhagen with Docker CTO Solomon Hykes


Figured I’d post about some of the house projects I’ve completed. If I do this each year, it’ll keep encouraging me to keep working on our home to have more to share!

  • Replaced all interior door knobs and hinges with new bronze hardware
  • Lots of painting! Did the kitchen, office, dining room, and master bedroom/bath
  • Bought and installed new shutters. Talk about curb appeal!
  • New roof! (Obviously didn’t do this myself)
  • Worked on my office space by making my own desk and putting up posters!

My work desk

2018 Goals

Where do I go from here? That’s actually a really, really good question. I’m not 100% sure, but I do have some goals for the year. So, here they are!

  • Read 10 books this year! I ride the bus often, but end up spending most of it reading emails or blog posts. I’d like to spend it by reading more books. So, I’m targeting ten books. Some will probably be technical, but not all. If you have suggestions, let me know!
  • Do more speaking! I’d love to speak at a DockerCon/GovSummit event this year, but we’ll see! I have a few CFPs I’m working on, so stay tuned! If that doesn’t work out, I’d love to speak at another large event.
  • Launch Virginia Tech’s Container-as-a-Service offering! It’s something I’ve been working towards and consult towards, so I’d love to see it finally get off the ground. There’s a good chance it’ll be in place and widely adopted this year!
  • Develop a “Docker training program” for use at Virginia Tech! I’d like to have a four-week program where folks go from nothing to something. It’ll include homework assignments, mini projects, and more!
  • Launch Virginia Tech development community (DevCom)! It’s technically been around for a little while, but specifically, I’d like to…
    • Run a week-long hackathon some time this year to get folks together and working across organizational boundaries
    • Launch a “meet and greet” service that helps pair folks needing help with those offering help. This will hopefully 1) help foster collaboration and 2) serve as an example of how modern applications can (and should) be developed. Would be nice to have at least ten such pairings occur this year (my measure of success).
  • Keep going with the house projects. We’d like to finally get some pictures on the wall, but I’d love to work on replacing the windows or HVAC this year. We’ll see how ambitious we can be though.