James Wu, Developer in Baltimore, MD, United States
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James Wu

Verified Expert  in Engineering

DevOps Developer

Baltimore, MD, United States
Toptal Member Since
February 4, 2022

James is an automation expert specializing in containerization, GitOps, release automation (CI/CD), and IaC. He consistently delivers efficient solutions to the most challenging technical problems, leveraging his comprehensive knowledge of both software and infrastructure systems. James currently embeds with teams responsible for operating the James Webb Space Telescope as a principal technologist to consult on DevOps best practices.


GitLab CI/CD, Kubernetes, Docker, DevOps, Amazon Web Services (AWS)...
Windows PowerShell, GitLab, GitLab CI/CD, VMware vSphere, GitOps, IT Automation...
Exit Mortgage, LLC
Python, IT Networking, Desktop Support, IT Administration, Automation




Preferred Environment

Kubernetes, Docker, GitLab CI/CD, DevOps, GitOps, VMware vSphere, Open Source, Automation, Cloud, Helm, Continuous Delivery (CD), Continuous Integration (CI)

The most amazing...

...achievement I've accomplished was designing, implementing, and evangelizing a CI/CD system able of reconciling unique requirements across thousands of projects.

Work Experience

Principal Technologist

2019 - PRESENT
  • Architected and delivered automated end-to-end Kubernetes cluster provisioning and management strategy using Rancher in a vSphere environment.
  • Designed, implemented, and evangelized a standardized CI/CD toolchain with GitLab CI to support unique requirements from thousands of projects with hundreds of contributors.
  • Created services from FOSS projects on Kubernetes, including but not limited to MINIO, PostgreSQL, JupyterHub, and APM stacks using Prometheus and Grafana, and log aggregation and ingestion using Fluentd and Splunk.
  • Operated as a liaison between software engineering and infrastructure business units within the organization. Advocated for developers’ needs while communicating logistical and technical considerations from an operations perspective.
  • Embedded with dozens of software engineering teams to optimize application architectures and development workflows.
  • Automated recurring responsibilities using ChatOps and GitOps frameworks like data synchronization for GitHub users, backups, machine image builds, and more.
  • Architected and led the project to introduce Ubuntu into the environment while modernizing and automating infrastructure provisioning practices.
  • Delivered a secure, autoscaling, accessible, and conformant solution for container development environments with GitPod on Kubernetes to meet mission-critical requirements.
Technologies: GitLab CI/CD, Kubernetes, Docker, DevOps, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Docker Compose, CI/CD Pipelines, Packer, Helm, Continuous Delivery (CD), Continuous Integration (CI), Jira, VMware vSphere, Automation, Open Source

DevOps Engineer

2017 - 2019
  • Produced PowerShell scripts to automate common administration tasks, orchestrate bulk behavior, and query for information in AD, vCenter, IPAM, and ITSM.
  • Maintained automated build scripts and supported administrator consumption for virtual Windows 2008, 2012, and 2016 servers.
  • Provided code review and suggested best practices to team members as secondary automation SMEs.
  • Developed new processes and tools and pioneered their integration through pilot projects to demonstrate feasibility in expanding capability or improving performance in existing workflows.
  • Built domain knowledge expertise in public cloud architecture and best practices.
Technologies: Windows PowerShell, GitLab, GitLab CI/CD, VMware vSphere, GitOps, IT Automation, Site Reliability Engineering (SRE), DevOps, CI/CD Pipelines, Continuous Delivery (CD), Continuous Integration (CI), Jira, Automation, Open Source

IT Administrator

2015 - 2017
Exit Mortgage, LLC
  • Developed Python scripts to automate marketing, operational, and administrative processes.
  • Formulated and documented best practices for user training in all processes involving technology.
  • Oversaw acquisition, deployment, configuration, and maintenance of technology assets such as routers, switches, network printers, and personal computers.
Technologies: Python, IT Networking, Desktop Support, IT Administration, Automation

IaC Provisioning for Rancher in a vSphere Data Center

A Terraform plan leveraging multiple providers to deploy Rancher on vSphere infrastructure using RHEL VMs. The project automates the following processes:
1. Deploys and configures the virtual machines into a Kubernetes cluster
2. Installs the Rancher application
3. Interacts with the application to configure required settings
4. Creates downstream application-managed Kubernetes clusters as needed
5. Installs required software such as APM dashboards, CSI integrations, and more on downstream clusters

I was responsible for architecting the system, implementing the technical deliverables, coordinating resources from other teams, and socializing the concepts to management and engineering staff after production roll-out. It is a foundational component for many other projects requiring Kubernetes within my team.


GitLab CI/CD, VMware vSphere, GitLab, Docker Compose, Helm, Jira, GitHub, Terraform, Grafana, Packer


Windows PowerShell


DevOps, Automation, Continuous Delivery (CD), Continuous Integration (CI), Web Architecture


Kubernetes, Docker, Windows Server, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Rancher, Linux RHEL/CentOS, Amazon Web Services (AWS)


Python, Java


GitOps, CI/CD Pipelines, Open Source, Cloud, Active Directory Programming, MinIO, Prometheus, IT Automation, Site Reliability Engineering (SRE), IT Networking, Desktop Support, IT Administration

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