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Gilt Senior Director, PMO Heather Fleming and Director of Program Management Justin Riservato are the featured speakers at Agile NYC’s  meetup this evening at Pace University! Heather and Justin will demonstrate how an Agile PMO can help your organization make sure they are tackling the right work at the right time and with the right teams. They’ll share a retrospective on their multiple iterations, from “Request for Work” processes to “Swagathons” and something called “The Social Experiment”—and discuss how trust is really the key to scaling Agile at Gilt. 

The address for tonight’s event is 163 William St. (second floor); starting time is 5:30 PM. Go here to register.

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On Tuesday, April 15, Gilt Senior Software Engineer Sean Sullivan will present the appropriately-themed “Taxes and Payments at Gilt" at the Portland Java Users Group's monthly meetup. Come learn all about Gilt's checkout system and order-processing back-end!

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The Gilt tech team celebrated the end of another productive week with a bagels, bubbly and brined salmon!

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To carry the “things that begin with B” theme to its logical conclusion, one of our #bigdata books showed up as well.

Happy Friday!

Thanks to Alex Gorbatchev at npm awesome for blogging about Shmock, Gilt Principal Systems Engineer Jonathan Leibiusky’s Express-Based HTTP Mocking Library for Node.js! “Being able to mock APIs is a very powerful tool for BDD,” Alex writes. “You can prototype, design and test your consumer before implementing a line of code.”

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Yesterday we introduced you to Program Manager Justin Vitale and his favorite furnishings. Today we welcome Fidan Kasra, who also joins our Program Management Office as a Senior Program Manager! Fidan will be working with our distribution team, which is part of Gilt’s Back Office.

Originally from Texas, Fidan just moved to New York City from Germany, where she worked at a major ecommerce company as a project manager in charge of logistics projects. Prior to that, Fidan worked as a consultant—helping fashion retailers around the globe with supply-chain and merchandising initiatives. She’s passionate about retail operations and technology, and we’re ecstatic to have her join the team!

In her spare time Fidan likes to travel and explore different cultures and languages. And despite her Texas roots, she owns no cowboy boots.

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We’re excited to add Justin Vitale to Gilt’s Program Management Office! Justin joined Gilt in May 2011 as a member of our IT department, and very recently made the switch to our PMO. He’ll continue working on IT projects and bringing along his fancy furniture, including his red velvet rope, wherever he goes.

Originally (“and proudly!”) from the Jersey Shore, Justin has lived in NYC since 2007. Outside of work he “lives and breathes” hockey and golf. “I’ve been playing both sports since I was eight or nine, and I won’t stop until my legs literally fall off,” he says. We’re committed to helping Justin to keep his limbs attached, so we’ve already started him off on a strict athletic regimen that includes some of his longtime favorite sports as well as some brand-new ones.

Check out Ryan Caloras, one of the Gilt Personalization Team’s dedicated software engineers (and a former Boston resident), manning our swag station at last week’s Boston Area Scala Enthusiasts meetup! Ryan’s team mate, Lead Software Engineer (and fellow ex-Bostonian) Yoni Goldberg, was the night’s featured speaker, and educated the crowd of 80-100 attendees about Gilt’s shift from a monolithic Rails app to a distributed micro-services architecture written in Scala. By the end of the night, almost all of our swag was gone.

Thanks to BASE and everyone who came out for a memorable night!

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Post by Gilt Software Engineers Paolo Lim (Back Office Team) and Paul Lee (Gilt City)

Last week Gilt volunteered to host a series of half-day office tours for students (and a few teachers!) from the Bronx Academy for Software Engineering—a new technology-focused public high school for under-served New York City children. A collaborative effort between BASE and Gilt’s tech, human resources and facilities teams, the tours (our second visit with BASE) enabled some of the academy’s bright and curious students to connect with some of our engineers, learn more about our day-to-day work, and have some fun. We wanted to encourage the students to continue pursuing their interests in tech for the rest of their high school years and beyond.

Over three days, three groups of 15-20 BASE students each visited our 2 Park Avenue office to meet and learn from small teams of Gilt technologists. Our team taught the BASE students some basic programming principles such as loops and arrays, and also created some Zumo robots with Arduino attached for the students to program (learn more about the robots here). The students guided the robots along a track, turned them into mobile videographers, crashed the robots into each other, “taught” them how to dance the Dougie, and learned how to operate the robots’ LED lights and music-playing capabilities. At the tours’ end, we served lunch.

“There was a LOT of learning going on both ways,” says Jennifer Shin, a software engineer on the Gilt City team. “I was so grateful for the opportunity to connect with the engineers of tomorrow.” Adds Alan Weissman, another of our engineering colleagues: “They inspired me to connect and explore technology further. Watching them bring plastic and metal to life as robots over the course of a few hours was time well spent.”

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The BASE students’ love of technology and motivation to succeed was truly inspiring to us. Many of the students told us that they’ve already begun tapping into the NYC tech community for mentorship and networking opportunities. They were eager to learn more and build something of their own. We are glad we were able to play a role in helping them grow and to better understand what they can expect from the software engineering field.

“When I was a 13-year-old just learning to program on my own, I had no idea what kind of work I could do, but I knew how much it excited me,” says Gilt Director of Back Office Systems Chris Hazlett. “It was incredibly rewarding (and inspiring for me personally) to give the kids from BASE a glimpse of a future where they can still be as passionate as adults about the things that excited them when they were just boys. It reminded me of how much I enjoy what I do and why I do it still, 23 years later.”

Tomorrow and Friday (April 3-4) United States PostgreSQL and the NYC PostgreSQL User Group (NYPUG) host the annual PGConf NYC—two days of keynotes, lightning talks, and idea-swapping for the Postgres community. We’re honored that Gilt co-founder/CTO Michael Bryzek is one of the opening keynote speakers; Michael presents tomorrow morning at 10:10 AM and will discuss Gilt’s ongoing work with Postgres.

Other don’t-miss PGConf speakers include PostgreSQL: Introduction and Concepts author Bruce Momjian, Docker VP of Services (and upcoming panelist at Gilt) James Turnbull and Vizzuality senior scientist Andrew Hill.

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Last week Gilt partnered up with DigBigData to offer a free Cassandra workshop near our Dublin office. Twenty-five technologists from Gilt and other area companies came together for a full day of hands-on learning, experimentation and fun! By workshop’s end the teams had created several exciting projects, including a CPU temperature monitor, a tweet sentiment analyzer, a multi-player, web-based game, and BigChat—a SnapChat-inspired service.

"It is always gratifying to see a group of people who may or may not know each other go from being individuals to getting together and forming cohesive teams and producing real mini projects with Cassandra," says Niall Milton, our instructor for the day. Thanks to Niall and all our attendees for making our learning day so memorable!