Hi there! My name is Mark van Lent.
After 10+ years of working as a developer building websites and web application backends, I am now applying a “don’t repeat yourself” mentality to (cloud) infrastructure. For lack of a better term, I picked the title “infrastructure developer” since that covers what I do best.
When I was young, my parents had several home computers (starting with a ZX Spectrum and later an MSX.) Although I liked playing games on them, my love for computers really started when we got a personal computer: an i386 computer with a whopping megabyte of memory running MS-DOS. I started programming on this machine (QBasic) and had fun optimizing the memory usage with e.g. QEMM. Later on, during high school, I taught myself how to write code in Pascal.
During my Computer Science study at the Delft University of Technology, I used a number of programming languages like Assembler (for the PDP-11) and Modula-2, but also the more commonly used languages like C and Java. Part-time jobs and hobby lead me to code in ColdFusion, Perl, PHP and LaTeX.
While writing my master’s thesis in 2004 someone gave me a book about Python with the words “you might also like this language.” And I did! After solving a couple of Python Challenge riddles and writing scripts to automate some tasks, I decided to make writing Python code my day job.
That’s how in January 2007 I ended up with Zest Software where I got introduced to the world of Zope and Plone (both written in Python). I worked on a number of projects for clients, mostly writing backend code. Since 2009 I also worked on several project where we used Django (another web framework written in Python).
In February 2011 I switched to a different company (Edition1) but my work more or less remained the same: building web applications for customers on a project basis. For most sites we used Edition1’s content management system called SwordFish, which was based on Plone.
In 2013 I left the world of Plone behind me when I got a job at Fox-IT as a Django developer. I started building a portal for the customers of their managed SOC service. This portal grew in functionality and became the tool used by the SOC analysts to investigate incidents as part of the security service we offer to our customers.
The development team grew and the need for more infrastructure and automation grew with it. Gradually my work became more about the infrastructure surrounding the product we were developing, than about writing code for the product itself. My days were filled with tasks related to creating and maintaining a testing environment, writing Ansible code to help deploy the product, et cetera.
In hindsight I think it was about 2018 when I was effectively no longer a developer on the product, but focussed on (cloud) infrastructure automation. Because I dislike the term “DevOps engineer,” I decided to call myself an “infrastructure developer.”
Currently (2021) my work mainly consists of contributing to projects that need to run in the cloud (AWS). I help teams automate the deployment of their product/service. Most of the times I use tools like Ansible, Terraform and Packer to get the job done.