Jon Gjengset on Rust, community, live coding, Open Source and Security

Episodio 105 - 2024-05-05

In this conversation with Jon Gjengset we started with his background. Jon started his computer science education in Norway, at the University of Oslo. He then went for a masters in England and a PhD at MIT. On the professional front, he is currently a principal engineer at Helsing, but started as software engineer and moved through small and large companies (from 07 to Oracle, Aptoma and AWS to name a few).

In his early days he was a web developer, and as he progressed he discovered Rust and got to lead the Rust build experience team at AWS. We talked a little bit about Helsing, an interesting company in the defense industry, utilizing AI for national defense purposes. The idea of using AI to augment human understanding of the battlefield is an intricate one, and we briefly talked about that.

We spent a good amount of time talking about Rust and when it actually is a great language to consider. Not built to explore data, but really great for fast batch jobs and data transformation. We talked about the place for Python and R in the data programming ecosystem. We also touched the topic of trade-offs between languages when performance becomes a theme.

Community is important to Jon, and as he grew in professional and academic ambiences, he found that there was an appetite for seeing a software engineer solving problems. He found out that people were interested in understanding an engineer's approach, picking up tips, and getting to final solutions. Both Jon and Andres talked about their experiences of live coding and how this contributes to improving coding communities.

We also touched the security and Open Source topic. This is a deep and interesting topic as it is critical for enterprises to develop their software solutions and architectures. Jon mentioned some of the risks and ways of mitigating those, and also highlighted how underfunded open source is. We talked about ways in which companies can address some of the issues around using Open Source in secure and dependable ways.

We talked about the future data analytics and development, how different languages will interact and the set of tools that can explore the supply chain and highlight important dependencies. We touched on R and where it fits and will continue adding value, and also about the challenges around scale processing as a growing concern when cost-efficiency is required.

Jon spent a good time in academia and told us some tips about continued learning via learning to read academic papers and mixing this with going to some specific conferences such as Rust conference or even meetups where you can mingle with people outside your current bubble to expand horizons.

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