Contractor case study – Scaling up fast after an acquisition

By Jamie Mercer

In these contractor case studies, we provide a glimpse into the kinds of projects and results that our placed contractors from our database complete. These are real contractors that we have placed on-site in the last 12 months.


Who are you?

I am a Principle AWS/Azure Engineer with strong knowledge of infrastructure, DevSecOps, and I have over 23 years of production experience. I can perform the roles of DevOps engineer, DevSecOps engineer, and Infrastructure engineer with equal success. I’m highly experienced in enterprise mission-critical environments in industries including finance, public sector, media, and start-ups. I’m also a specialist in infrastructure and security, where I have lead experience.

What are your credentials?

  • Docker Certified Associate (DCA)
  • Amazon Web Services Cloud Practitioner
  • Amazon Web Services Certified Professional Solutions Architect
  • Amazon Web Services Certified Professional DevOps Engineer
  • Amazon Web Services Re-Certified Associate Developer
  • Amazon Web Services Re-Certified Associate SysOps
  • Amazon Web Services Re-Certified Associate Solutions Architect
  • Chef Fluency Certificate
  • Red Hat Certified System Administrator 6

What was the challenge the client was facing?

The client has huge scale-up plans following a recent acquisition. The client works with many different types of institutions to develop programs that simplify payment strategies. Following the takeover, there was a lot to be done: legacy migrations, new greenfield projects, as well as integration projects. Facilitating over 10 billion transactions a year, there is obviously a significant element of data processing involved. The client needed someone who understood IaC tools such as Terraform and CloudFormation, but also data platforms and data engineering. The combination of these skill sets and more would allow their data science team to deliver a new project that combines machine learning to revolutionize their payment service and account verification software.

What was your role in the project?

Working within the data science team, my main responsibility was to provide AWS infrastructure via IaC tools (Terraform) and EKS clusters, (Elastic Kubernetes Service), namespaces, pods, and worker nodes. I also had to ensure that machine learning models (created by the data scientists) were packaged and deployed efficiently as Docker images. One of my main responsibilities was also to create a number of low-level design documents, which was the basis of the project. The wider project also included various integrations with AWS RDS, DynamoDB, Kafka, and Hadoop.

What advice would you give to companies looking to do a similar project themselves?

  1. The absence of strict micromanagement allowed me and the other contractors to work a lot more efficiently and innovatively.
  2. The equal treatment of permanent and contract employees led to a harmonious relationship and ultimately a successful project, that included a number of contract extensions.
  3. A hands-on involvement from senior stakeholders that were providing solid advice whenever needed also worked wonders.

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