Episode 3

Matt Burgess

Somehow for the last 4 years Matt Burgess has been paid to work full time on open source projects. How did he land such great gigs? Well, his path with Open Source started at Pentaho and then led to Hortonworks, the software company that focuses on the development and support of Apache Hadoop. Hortonworks uses a sort of ‘trickle-up economics’ system, allowing them to pay full-time software developers to work on open source projects.

Matt’s first commit was to Kettle, a data integration tool by Pentaho, an experience he recalls as both terrifying and exhilarating. Terrified because his code was going out to a large community that could all see, enjoy, and perhaps criticize his code. To be able to provide something of value to a much larger audience than just a small job team was also exhilarating.

Matt inspires me through his constant thirst for innovation that may only be matched by his meticulous attention to detail as well as his need to understand complex problems. This allows him to provide scalable and performant world class quality software and see solutions to problems (across projects) that mere mortals can only dream of.” – Scott Aslan

The open source project Matt is currently working on is Apache NiFi, a dataflow management system that provides a visual way to process and distribute large amounts of data. It even has the ability to track data lineage. This refers to the ability to track where the data came from, where it’s gone, and what has changed along the way. You can even replay that exact same provenance flow. Be sure to check out his Show & Tell video which shows off the project.

Matt’s passion for the world of open source software was part of what we made me realize how powerful it could be… It’s rare to talk to Matt and not hear about a new technology he’s working on learning through a book or an online course. He’s always been a force pushing for cool new tech and features.” – Bryan Rosander