Doug Sparling, Ruby Developer in Montreal, QC, Canada
Doug Sparling

Ruby Developer in Montreal, QC, Canada

Member since January 6, 2015
Doug is driven by a need to improve himself, his colleagues, and the products they build. He has experience with many web, backend and mobile platforms, most prominently those that are Java-based such as JVM or Android. He's comfortable working at multiple levels at once, from twiddling bits on the wire or providing technical guidance to teams and C-suites alike.
Doug is now available for hire




Montreal, QC, Canada



Preferred Environment

IntelliJ IDEA, Linux, Git, Sublime Text, Android Studio, IntelliJ

The most amazing...

...service I've created is a stateful, real-time, highly-available distributed system deployed to Kubernetes, handling 10+ thousand simultaneous user connections.


  • Technical Lead for Android, Back End, and DevOps

    2015 - PRESENT
    MBLSFT (via Toptal)
    • Joined as the sole developer, reporting directly to the CTO and inheriting a suite of secure communication and productivity apps that were in rough shape. Prepared server and client apps for production readiness and successfully launched that year.
    • Implemented custom binary protocols tuned for high-latency, low-bandwidth networks, and owned entire stacks from back-end socket servers to Android clients.
    • Implemented continuous integration and deployment across many projects to run integration tests, publish automatically to Kubernetes via Argo CD, and deploy to Android devices via Google Play.
    • Containerized several internal services and migrated to distributed data storage to maintain high availability, and for ease of scaling, deployment, and monitoring.
    • Implemented key management schemes, APIs and encryption protocols to protect data at rest, data in motion, and to maintain forward secrecy.
    • Created a Dropwizard-based SMTP proxy service to seamlessly encrypt and decrypt PGP email for interoperation with external email clients.
    • Published internal specs to coordinate implementation efforts across teams and gave internal webinars to disseminate knowledge.
    • Implemented a C++ Envoy plugin for L4 sticky load balancing based on the content of custom protocol messages.
    Technologies: Core Java (J2EE), API Design, Continuous Delivery (CD), Git, CoffeeScript, Kotlin, Jira, Technical Writing, SSL, Protocol Design, TCP, Underscore.js, Functional Programming, Gulp.js, Dropwizard, FoundationDB, Android, SQL, Linux, JavaScript, Cryptography, Java, Test-driven Development (TDD), Socket Programming, TCP/IP, SMTP, Protocol Buffers, Node.js, Kubernetes, Go, Android SDK
  • Consultant

    2014 - 2015
    Manitoba Telecom Services (via Protegra)
    • Built an Android app for a local telecom to show customers their data usage, bills, and notifications, to enable bill payments, and more.
    • Implemented several asynchronous REST calls using Retrofit, including multi-level caching of results, an offline mode, and sophisticated error handling.
    • Used Node.js to mock client web services for testing purposes.
    • Wrote a detailed developers guide for hand-off to the application maintenance team.
    • Executed and wrote test cases for a variety of Android phones and coordinated fixes with QA.
    Technologies: Core Java (J2EE), Git, Windows, Android, Java, Node.js, Android SDK
  • Consultant

    2011 - 2014
    Manitoba Blue Cross (via Protegra)
    • Mentored many new staff on the effective use of Hibernate, Spring, and Java.
    • Designed and implemented rich JavaScript-driven interfaces with the help of analysts for editing and viewing complex insurance information.
    • Helped design and develop a JSON REST web service to provide data from an ODS.
    • Built batch processes to perform billing, exporting to legacy systems, and letter printing.
    • Aided in the creation and extension of common utility libraries for internal use by dozens of projects and developers.
    • Created and delivered presentations on functional programming, best practices, design patterns, and test-driven development.
    Technologies: Core Java (J2EE), API Design, Git, Spring MVC, Windows, HTML, SQL, JavaScript, Web Development, Java, Test-driven Development (TDD), Spring
  • Programmer, Analyst

    2006 - 2011
    Winnipeg Transit
    • Added new features to a Swing application to allow transit controllers to monitor real-time locations of GPS-enabled buses, create and view incident reports, and communicate with bus operators.
    • Designed, implemented, and supported an Oracle-based ODS containing transit service information, supplemented by an in-memory store of real-time data.
    • Architected and helped with the implementation of a Rails-based website redesign to deliver real-time service information to customers.
    • Helped create an integration REST web service using Java and Cocoon. Developed a Ruby gem for consuming the service from internal Rails apps.
    • Introduced continuous integration with Jenkins, artifact management with Nexus, simplified building and deployment with Maven, and version control with Git.
    • Pushed for the introduction of Ruby on Rails to the organization and succeeded. Trained existing Java developers for the transition.
    Technologies: API Design, Git, CSS, GIS, Jetty, Oracle, Windows, Apache, SCSS, Functional Programming, HTML, Ruby, Linux, JavaScript, Web Development, Java, Swing, JMS, Scala, Core Java (J2EE), Ruby on Rails (RoR)


  • MTS MyAccount Android App (Development)

    I was one of two developers on the small team that built the Android version of this app for MTS, a telecommunications company. It allows customers to view and manage their account, pay bills, monitor data usage on their devices, and more. It had received a 4.5/5 rating after launch.

  • Winnipeg Transit Website (Development)

    I was a principal developer on Winnipeg Transit's website redesign, which launched in 2009. It is built with Ruby on Rails with a Java back end and displays real-time schedule information to hundreds of thousands of transit customers.

  • Full Text Search of Dialogues with Apache Lucene: A Tutorial (Publication)
    Apache Lucene is a powerful Java library used for implementing full-text search on a corpus of text. With its wide array of configuration options and customizability, it is possible to tune Apache Lucene specifically to the corpus at hand - improving both search quality and query capability. This article gives us a glimpse of the simplicity and ease of customization of the Apache Lucene analysis pipeline.
  • Toptal Mentor
    Doug is a mentor in the Toptal Global Mentor’s Program. This program is a partnership between Toptal and General Assembly to provide high quality mentorship for students from minority and low income backgrounds who are looking to begin their careers as professional software engineers. Doug shows commitment to diversity in tech by mentoring a General Assembly student every week for a year, covering everything from coding tips and tricks to advice on making it in the industry.


  • Languages

    C#, Java, Core Java (J2EE), JavaScript, Go, CoffeeScript, Ruby, SQL, Haml, Kotlin, HTML, CSS, Scala, SCSS, PHP
  • Frameworks

    Hibernate, Ruby on Rails (RoR), Express.js, Android SDK, Spring MVC, JavaServer Pages (JSP), Apache Struts, Dropwizard, Spring, Swing
  • Tools

    Git, IntelliJ IDEA, Mocha, Jenkins, Maven, Subversion (SVN), IntelliJ, Android Studio, Sublime Text, GIS, Bamboo, Jira, Ansible, Gulp.js, Gradle, Apache Ant, Jetty, Apache
  • Paradigms

    Test-driven Development (TDD), Continuous Delivery (CD), Socket Programming, Continuous Integration (CI), Agile Software Development, Concurrent Programming, REST, Database Design, Functional Programming
  • Industry Expertise

    Web Development
  • Other

    Protocol Buffers, Protocol Design, SSL, TCP, Cryptography, API Design, Technical Writing, SMTP, TCP/IP, Content Management Systems (CMS)
  • Libraries/APIs

    Node.js, Q Promises, Apache Lucene, Retrofit, jQuery, React, Cocoon, Underscore.js, JMS, Reactive Extensions
  • Platforms

    Kubernetes, Linux, Android, Oracle, Heroku, Windows
  • Storage

    MySQL, FoundationDB, PostgreSQL


  • Bachelor's degree in Computer Science, Philosophy
    2002 - 2007
    University of Manitoba - Winnipeg, Canada

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