Production Control Analyst III

I have a strong background in systems administration, specifically CentOS, Fedora, Ubuntu, RHEL, SuSE, and OEL. This experience also includes an advanced knowledge of shell scripting (BASH) for system optimization and automation. I have built a strong skill set in monitoring production servers and responding to platform alerts, as well as implementing changes, troubleshooting, and ensuring all assigned roles and responsibilities were resolved or properly documented for hand-off. A precise attention to detail that is tailored with several years’ experience.
blog
Humble Beginnings
February 28, 2017 Alexander Snyder Uncategorized

Hello World!

I’d like to talk briefly about humility and how important a thing that is to maintain in the field (world?) of technology.

I learned a long time ago that no matter what I do, I should always expect to find a person that does this thing better than I do. I don’t find that person, then I should improve my craft such that they find me. If it becomes such that I am that person, then it time to find something else to learn. The point is to never stop growing, never stop learning, never stop pursuing whats next. As soon as you do, death will surely partner you with swift action.  Idle hands, and idle mind make simple work. Never be simple.

Keeping this thought with us, I have cause to think back.  First and foremost, I am a technologist.  A fan of everything and anything “Geek”, or “Nerd”. Its who I am at my core, and it took me awhile to learn that.  The industry I currently work in is Financial Technology (FinTech).  Within that industry, I write a heckin’ lotta BASH (Linux Shell Scripts).  I taught myself BASH, well more accurately, I taught myself how to Linux and eventually figured out how to vomit what I knew into a file that started with “#!/bin/bash” at the top.  I wouldn’t actually anything with logic for many years, after first learning how to Linux.

When I decided that I really wanted to get into writing smarter BASH scripts that contained more and more logic I started small.  I gave myself a project.  That project was to make a menu.  A simple “Hello World” menu with 3 options! That eventually progressed into a menu the user could traverse, which became a traversable menu that changed based on certain system values.  Once I got the hang of it, the basic syntax and logic you use over and over, I became more ambitious.

For my next act, I wanted to make a “Server Dashboard” for all the Linux Servers I was constantly on while at work, at GoDaddy.com — something I could run on a customer server and instantly know all of what was important to me.  When I tried at first … I failed, badly but I didn’t let that get in my way.  I remembered my teachings of humility and waded through the egos and I asked for help.

To my surprise, many were willing to help me. It was great!  I was a sponge to what they would share.  I learned a lot of it really came down R.T.F.M. (Reading The Fucking Manual), and thus, Linux Man Pages became my new best friend.  Gradually I was improving … my method was simple, the more energy I put into it, the more heat I’d get out of it … and dammit, I was determined to start a forest fire.  I had really excellent help of peers at GoDaddy, many of the admins and a absolute-ton-o-forums (lookin’ at you stackoverlow.com).

Eventaully, in the end, I produced the dashboard.  It was mine.  A completely 100% working (simple, but still, working) “Server At-A-Glance”.  It worked great.  Well, as I would soon learn … it worked great on CentOS 6 cPanel servers.  I hadn’t realized had much some systems vary.  I’d say when I wrote it (cira 2014) it worked on the majority of machines I ran it on.  I was proud of it … I’m still proud of it.  My first creation:

https://github.com/thisguyshouldworkforus/att/

I must have just learned about functions because that’s wrapped in a function, but from what I can tell — for no good reason!

I look back at this script.  4 years ago.  The amount that I’ve grown in the last 4 years amazes me.  I’ve grown from a 90 line script that barely qualifies, to the complex monsters that I produce now. Currently I’m writing scripts that are thousands of lines that read and write to databases, files and other objects.  I do things in 2000 lines of BASH that you could probably do in 100 lines of Python, but I’m not ready for that next chapter yet — and its the humility I learned at the begining of this journey that makes me okay admiting that.  I have a long way to go and a ton more things to learn … I can’t wait!

Written as a Final Project for SPT323.  Like! Share! Tweet! Whatever it is you do on SnapChat, do that!

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Ignorant Honesty
February 27, 2017 Alexander Snyder Uncategorized

Hello World!

These are the first words nearly every programmer, web enthusiast, or new born will utter when the start their craft.  This is my first blog post in an age where speaking digitally is just as important as an ironed shirt in an interview.  For this post, I’d like to run you down a bit of what I do in a (somewhat) new (-ish) field known as Financial Technology (FinTech).

– Who do I work for?
– What is the ClearXchange Network?
– What is Zelle?
— What makes Zelle different than Venmo
— Why that matters
– What role BASH, JAVA, and SQL play
– Time values of “real-time”
– Conclusion

Who do I work for?
I work for a company called Early Warning Services, LLC.  This company is located in North Scottsdale, Arizona.  Early Warning Services (EWS) is owned by the “big banks” in the industry.  Some of the key players in these holdings are “JP Morgan Chase”, “Bank Of America”, “Wells Fargo”, and others.  For over 25 years, Early Warning® has been a leader in technology that protects and advances the financial system. They serve a diverse network of approximately 1,400 financial institutions, government entities and payment companies. Their product solutions enable real-time funds availability for a variety of payment types through our payments network.  Recently, EWS decided to (was directed to?) purchase a small company also owned by the same group of big banks.  That small company was called ClearXchange (CXC).

What is the ClearXchange Network?
You’re actually quite familiar with the services CXC provides, even though you’ve probably never heard of them.  The ClearXchange network is the underlying technology that powers such real-time payment technologies such as “Chase QuickPay”, or “BoA Money Move”, or “Wells Fargo SurePay” … call it what you want, it’s all the same thing.  It’s all ClearXchange.  A dangerously simplified explanation of CXC is this:

Previously (pre-2007) when you wanted to transfer money between banks, you’d typically wait days or sometimes even weeks.  The reason this took so long was because Chase didn’t have access to the records at Wells Fargo and Wells didn’t know anything about Chase customers.  This is intentional.  Banks are incredibly protective of their clients and their information.  So, Chase would send a request to Wells Fargo and Wells would respond and checks would get mailed (yes, I said mailed) and a transfer would complete. The mid-90s era of 3-5 business days was shortened to 1-2 business days mid-2000s, but it was still lacking the immediacy that current technology has taught this generation to demand.  That’s where ClearXchange comes in.  The banks wanted to offer “Real-Time Payments”, but a key component to that is a “Trusted Neutral Custodian”.  That’s ClearXchange.  CXC allows the banks to connect to each other (via API) and do a cross bank transfer without needing to disclose customer information to a competitor.  Although CXC doesn’t actually store any customer account information, enough is left with the “Trusted Neutral Custodian” that a funds transfer can be completed.

What is Zelle?
Zelle (or ZellePay) is ClearXchange. It just got re-branded after the acquisition in 2015.  Fundamentally, the concept hasn’t changed.  When EWS bought CXC in 2015 it was because all the big banks that owned both smaller companies, they all decided they were going to team up and crush an offering from rival PayPal called Venmo.  What is Venmo, and how is it different from PayPal itself?  Honestly, I’m not entirely certain.  Ignorant honesty, I don’t really care.  It’s the competitor, the enemy, and all enemies must fall.  Good ‘ole US Army thinkin’ right there!

What makes Zelle different than Venmo?
The best way to think about Zelle is to imagine the ClearXchange Network, on steroids.  Its technical capacity skyrocketed (went from a no-name server farm to Amazon AWS), the “In-Network” Financial Institution (FI) partners are going from the modest 12 (pre-acquisition) to hundreds (post-acquisition).  The biggest and best thing that will make Zelle different from Venmo is the exclusive partnership between Visa and Mastercard.  That’ll be the nail in the coffin, I think, for Venmo.  Two strangers meet and want to send each other money.  They’ll both already have the ZellePay app, because it’ll come along with their current bank app (the same way Facebook half-way forces you to download the messenger-app to talk within Facebook), without knowing anything about each other they can send money from a Debit Card (Visa logo) to another Debit Card (Mastercard logo).

Why that matters?
PayPal can’t do that, Venmo can’t do that — Zelle does that … and their tag line rings to that perfectly … “This is how money moves“.

What role BASH, JAVA, and SQL play?
I hate JAVA. Well, I used to hate JAVA.  As with most hateful opinions, most of them are based on ignorance, to some extent.  As the rest of the technical world already knew years before, JAVA is incredibly simple to program (when compared to the likes of C, or C++).  JAVA powers all the apps the make all this magic happen.  There are incredibly smart people doing some incredibly ingenious things with these apps.  The Chase QuickPay app, the Wells Fargo SurePay app, the app at the heart of Zelle and ClearXchange?  All JAVA.  It’s fast, it’s easy, and best of all, it’s cheap (to produce and maintain).  If the app is the face, then the background database is the memory … and brother … ClearXchange doesn’t forget a thing …. EVER!  Behind the pretty face is the SQL database.  A best with hundreds of millions of rows.  Jaw dropping and awe inspiring.  It runs and hums like the engine of <insert your favorite car here>.  Then there is what I do best … BASH.  BASH, otherwise known as the Bourne Again Shell.  A programming language specific to the Linux shell.  I write scripts that automate long laborious tasks.  My longest, and most complex script is 1,160 lines (BASH Scripts are notorious for being extremely small and compact) and it creates a “Virtual Bank” that member financial institutions (FIs) will use to mimic the operation of another bank.  JP Morgan Chase might ask for a “Virtual Bank”, which my script will create, to mimic the operations of Wells Fargo, during testing, to ensure their QuickPay app is functioning the way it should.

Time values of “Real-Time”?
I was blown away when I learned it, thought I’d share it … when you’re in banking … when they say “Now”, they really mean RIGHT NOW.  The applications are programmed to demand such a pace as 1 second could be seen as an eternity.  The logs commonly show values of [ 0.000.00000 ], with timestamps differing of only a few [ 0.498.23094 ] (that’s showing just shy of half a second, with trailing digits that conjure up images from Quantum Physics!  If this were real … there would be email chains complaining about “0.498.23094” and “0.498.23156” … mind numbing that when money is involved, now really most certainly means NOW!

Conclusion
Our need for immediacy is upon us and it’s not going away.  The speed at which money moves is approaching that of though, be it for good or for bad.  People say the world is getting smaller, and we’re fashioning the tools to imprison ourselves next to one another.  These are the tools, Zelle is the tool.  This is how money moves and its moving RIGHT NOW!

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resume
Education
January 2010 - June 2011
University Of Advancing Technology
Tempe, Arizona

Network Security & Penetration, 48-Credits, No Degree

October 2009 - December 2009
United States Army Advanced Training
Reno, Nevada

Nodal Network Systems Operator-Maintainer (25N) Course Training (JNN)

October 2005 - April 2006
United States Army Advanced Individual Training
Augusta, Georgia

Network Systems Switching Operator-Maintainer (25F) Course Training

Experience
August 2016 - Present
Early Warning Systems, LLC. (Zelle Payments)
Scottsdale, AZ.

Production Control Analyst III; directly supporting the (Production, Pre-Production, Development) Zelle Payments network as a level 3 support analyst. Working daily with RHEL, BASH Automation Scripting, Oracle SQL, Websphere MQ Messaging, Tomcat Application Servers (JAVA), as well as Production SLA readiness with the largest member banks (Chase, JPM, BofA, Captial One, Wells Fargo, PNC, USAA ...)

July 2015 - July 2016
General Motors
Chandler, AZ.

DevOps Engineer, providing automation solutions through BASH scripting. Examining existing processes and working with the development teams to re-engineer them for improved or added efficiency. Communicating and collaborating with other teams on a daily business. Providing daily support for the backend of the global GM brands "Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac", among other international brands as well.

June 2011 - July 2015
GoDaddy.com, LLC.
Gilbert, AZ.

Provided complete hosting support across support tier 1-3. Basic shared hosting through Advanced white glove Advanced Server Support, for private Windows/Linux servers.

September 2009 - June 2011
United States Army National Guard
Las Vegas, Nevada

April 2008 - May 2009
United States Army
Remote Combat Outpost Carver, Salman Pak, Iraq

Operation Iraqi Freedom

April 2006 - September 2009
United States Army
Wiesbaden & Baumholder, Germany

Certificates & Awards
Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician
Issued by Cisco Systems (Cert #: 414014170665HTZM)Expires on 2016
Certificate Of Completion, Digital Network Systems
Issued by United States Army Nevada National Guard
Certificate Of Completion, Analog Network Systems
Issued by United States Army
Honorable Discharge
Awarded by United States Army Nevada National Guard
Honorable Discharge
Awarded by United States Army
Achievement Medal
Awarded by United States Army
Good Conduct Medal
Awarded by United States Army
National Defense Service Medal
Awarded by United States Army
Global War On Terrorism Medal
Awarded by United States Army
Iraq Campaign Medal, Campaign Star Device
Awarded by United States Army
Service Ribbon
Awarded by United States Army
Overseas Service Ribbon, Numeral 2 Device
Awarded by United States Army
Service Ribbon
Awarded by Nevada National Guard
Skills

CentOS / Fedora / RHEL Linux / OEL

 

Debian / Ubuntu Linux

 

Linux Terminal Navigation

 

BASH Scripting

 

WHM / cPanel

 

Apache Web Server (CLI Only)

 

MySQL / PHP (LAMP Stack)

 

Oracle SQL

 

SVN / GIT

 

Chef / Puppet

 
Never trust a computer you can't throw out a window.Steve Wozniak
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Contact info
  • Name: Alexander J. Snyder
  • E-mail: contact@thisguyshouldworkfor.us

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