Spotlight: Jonathan Major, Head of Engineering and Operations
With nearly 20 years of experience in engineering and management, Jonathan Major leads platform engineering, data pipeline operations, and information security at Crux. He’s committed to mastering new technologies, building great teams, and partnering with customers to make their data delightful. We sat down with Jonathan to learn which qualities make a great engineer.
What qualities make a great platform engineer?
It’s the person who is inquisitive, who always has a learning mentality, and a builder mentality as well. Every day, I’m asking, “Have we got a process to X, Y, Z?” If not, then we build one. It’s constant learning. That’s what I like to see in engineers. Obviously, they also need to know what they’re doing—they need to be competent. We like smart, inquisitive, collaborative people.
How are you helping make data delightful for our clients?
Reliable. Robust. Secure. That’s my mantra. Coming in as one of the founding engineering members of Crux, I’ve seen this company grow. I’m learning all the time. I’m not scared to take on opportunities. I’m bringing to bear my almost 20 years of experience to make [Crux’s] engineering and culture delightful. For our customers, it’s not only [about] their experience with the API or the UI. It’s also when I meet with them.
What’s an important lesson that you’ve learned from your experience in engineering?
Engineers have a tendency to build things as they want to use them, which can be wrong. So the lesson is to stay customer focused. It’s okay to ask questions. We want that questioning culture where people ask, “How do you feel about this?” That goes into having a context-driven engineering team.
It’s a partnership, so [it’s about] asking questions, learning from customers, and partnering with product management to really drive down to the ask. Engineers can create applications with unicorns and castles, but that’s not really what you want. The client wants a very efficient way to solve their problems.
What are your favorite things to do outside of work?
I’m family oriented. I’ve been married and have two kids who are nine and eleven, so we have a lot of family time–and travel. We just spent two weeks in Cape Cod and Montauk–that was great. Coming from Europe, I’ve got my parents coming over next week from Ireland.
My wife and I, living in the Bay Area, have got lots of opportunities to try new and interesting restaurants. So we do enjoy the local restaurant scene—although I don’t buy expensive avocado toast!
Jonathan still misses his Sinclair ZX81 computer—but these days, he puts up with engineering large-scale distributed systems. He loves “rubber ducking,” sprint planning, fixing bugs, and keeping up with new technologies. Jonathan has worked at financial firms such as IBM and Lotus in Ireland and has held leadership positions at Barclays Global Investors and BlackRock.