Curriculum Vitae

Mike McQuaid

Principal Engineer and Project Leader

Early GitHub engineer (#232) and early Homebrew maintainer (#3). 15+ years professional experience building consumer software at extreme scales. Published author with Manning and speaker at many international conferences.

I work from home in Edinburgh, Scotland and will never consider moving or commuting to another city, sorry!


GitHub (2013 - Present)

Principal Engineer (2022 - Present)

First Principal Engineering in ECOSS organisation. Lead for the Merge Queue project, migrating GitHub’s monolith to using it, measurably improving deployment throughput and internal developer satisfaction. Solving engineering-wide developer productivity/experience and architecture problems. Documented heuristics on when internal teams should build in the Rails monolith vs. a microservice. Working with GitHub’s OSPO to improve internal and external open source project management tooling.

Staff Engineer (2020 - 2022)

First Staff Engineer in Communities organisation. Designed and built tooling for automated service and team ownership within the Rails monolith for code review, issue triage and service-based on-call rotations. Use my expertise in developer experience/productivity and open source software to provide internal product feedback and mentorship to other engineers across the company, resulting in multiple promotions. Lead the migration of GitHub engineering to Codespaces, further improving productivity of all GitHub-employed engineers, after investigating porting our monolith’s build system to support M1/ARM Macs but finding it to be too unstable. Optimised setup of the Rails monolith saving ~375 developer hours a week (or: at least 9 engineers 40-hour work weeks). Sunset GitHub Jobs and provided a framework for sunsetting other, underused GitHub features. Migrated Homebrew to GitHub Packages which required extensive changes and collaboration in both Homebrew and GitHub.

Senior Developer Advocate (2016 - 2018)

Improved GitHub for open source (collaborating with Google, Microsoft and Facebook) conceiving and building Open Source Friday and the archiving repositories feature, helped build Open Source Guides and other GitHub open source programs. Ran open-source maintainer events and built a maintainers community on GitHub for product feedback in return for early-access betas of new features. Wrote internal and external blog posts, spoke at conferences and to the press about GitHub’s open source programs. Collaborated extensively with Nadia Eghbal who credits and references me in her book Working In Public.

Senior Engineer (2013 - 2016, 2018 - 2020)

Technical lead on GitHub Sponsors. Setup, participated in and trained others on on-call application, first responder and ops/infrastructure rotations for and various micro-services. Improved marketing organisation productivity by building new JSON, Kafka and Go micro-services. Improved database performance, process and tooling. Built Strap (replacing Boxen) which reduced development downtime for all GitHub-employed engineers. Improved the GitHub API and web hooks platform by fixing bugs, building process and conceiving and creating new APIs. Originally hired to improve the quality of GitHub Enterprise and measurably improved it through bug fixing and improving manual QA, CI, packaging, deployment, automation and ChatOps for the release process.

Homebrew (2009 - Present)

Project Leader and longest-running maintainer. Invented Homebrew binary packages (bottles) which were featured in Apple’s Touch Bar MacBook Pro keynote and are used by Google, Microsoft and Facebook. Fix users issues, plan roadmap, create and manage security program, make new releases, teach new maintainers and contributors and develop features in Ruby and Bash. Started a successful Kickstarter project which was funded in two hours to create a Jenkins CI system for Homebrew. Installed servers into data-centre and keep them running. Ran and mentored people in several Google Summer of Codes a MLH Fellowship and an Outreachy for Homebrew to successfully attract new maintainers. Brought Homebrew into the Software Freedom Conservancy for 501c3 non-profit status in the USA and financial sustainability. Organised first ever Homebrew maintainer meeting. Migrated Homebrew to GitHub Packages which required extensive changes and collaboration in both Homebrew and GitHub.

AllTrails (2012 - 2013)

Full stack engineer developing Rails/MySQL back-end and Coffeescript/SASS front-end for AllTrails and AllSnow. Developed features, APIs and optimised performance. Setup Jenkins CI and automatic Chef deployment for Rails and mobile applications HockeyApp deployment. Managed and improved AWS EC2 infrastructure.

KDAB (2009 - 2012)

Technical team lead providing international Qt/C++ cross-platform consultancy. Led teams who always delivered on time and in budget. Generated successful sales leads and sold a six figure contract (with no previous sales experience). Travelled internationally to train software engineers, solve hard problems and kick off projects to consistently positive customer feedback. Created a new Buildbot/CPack based CI system to improve company productivity.

Mendeley (2008 - 2009)

First non-founder employee and lead developer for Mendeley Desktop. Setup all Linux servers and software systems. Created a workflow focused on quick deployment and high quality through automated Buildbot builds, tests, CPack packages for Windows, Mac and Linux. Designed, ran technical interviews and personally recruited three engineers. These changes were instrumental in laying the technical foundation of the organisation.

Ported Qt/MSVC++ application from Windows to CMake, macOS and Linux. Fought for successful Linux port. Proposed, implemented the successful rewrite of problematic contracted legacy code creating a faster application and happier users. Designed, implemented the REST XML protocol used between Mendeley Desktop and Web.

BT (2007 - 2008)

Created record-breaking high-performance network analysis applications in C on the IBM Cell Processor. Taught others about and setup Subversion version control, Buildbot continuous integration and Trac issue tracker. Won a place on the graduate scheme.

Google Summer of Code (2007)

Worked on the KDE Qt/C++ project. Improved the KBlog XML-RPC API for KDE 4.0 API freeze. Added rich-text support and posting of journals (as blog posts) from KOrganizer which was released in KDE 4.1.

Wolfson Microelectronics (2006)

Wrote battery driver, improved Auxiliary ADC C++ code for Intel XScale on Windows CE. Wrote WM8711 Linux kernel driver in C which was released in 2.6.26. Improved AC’97, I2S audio drivers and fixed a noisy LCD issue.


Git in Practice (2014)

An opinionated intermediate/advanced Git book published with Manning Publications in September 2014.


The University of Edinburgh (2003 - 2007)

BSc in Computer Science and Management Science (2:1)


I am a genuine full-stack engineer: I have happily worked on everything from HTML/CSS/JavaScript to Linux kernel hardware device driver development.

Widespread, proven experience leading, maintaining, sustaining, growing and contributing to open source software projects and communities of all sizes.

Regularly advocate for, design and implement CI/testing/automation systems and processes to make engineers dramatically more productive.

Extensive experience building, maintaining and fixing large and small, green field and legacy software using Ruby, Rails, Git, Bash/shell scripts, C, MySQL and CMake. Productive with other languages and technologies in hours. Led many cross-platform development/ports of applications.



More references available on request