Software Craftsman: James Bell


I'm living the dreams of my dreams

I started my professional career as a PC Technician I. My dream was making it to PC Technician II and I've accomplished far more than just that original goal. Since then I've learned from the best in Tulsa, Oklahoma building enterprise-grade EDI/X12 Healthcare payment analytics engines, distributed automation systems, infrastructure platforms that scale to tens of thousands of concurrent workloads, and even some pretty good web apps. I've enabled engineers to automate away toil, setup scalable CI/CD pipelines, and helped improve reliability of sites/systems. My passion is to make the world a better place with my work and show people around me how they can help too. 

I've had an amazing journey as a self-taught programmer, truly blessed, finding awesome people who have let me do things I never thought I'd get the chance to do. I taught myself how to program and architect cloud-ready systems; continuing that effort everyday to become better at my trade. I believe anyone can live their dreams and I am determined to enable them to do so, to enable as many people as possible, I serve as technical community advocate to leadership wherever I go making sure the next generation of technologists are diverse in thought and inclusive to new ideas.






Data tech

I started my career mining big data sets to empower organizations to make better decisions and visualize processes with data driven applications.

  • PostgreSQL: I've architected, interacted with, and supported numerous installations of PostgreSQL. It is my preferred RDBMS due to it's high availability and superior JSON support.

  • MongoDB: I've architected, interacted with, and supported numerous installations of MongoDB. It is my preferred NoSQL/Document-Driven database. It has an excellent replication system and robust libraries in all of my supported languages

  • Kafka: I've used Kafka to enable horizontally scaling systems as well as event driven architectures. I find it very useful for emitting data to external systems as well as performing non-blocking event systems such as EDI processors.

  • Redis: I've architected, interacted with, and supported installations of Redis. It is an excellent Key/Value store for caches, ephemeral data, and other unique use cases where a more complex database isn’t required

  • MySQL: I've interacted with and supported MySQL.

  • Microsoft SQL Server: I've interacted with and supported MSSQL.

sorted in rank of proficiency


My day-to-day work is building API driven systems to enable powerful user experiences and automate operational workloads in the enterprise.

  • Python: I have a love for Python. It is cross-platform, performant, flexible and useful for almost every task. It makes building applications of any kind easier and there is a plethora of community supported packages making it easy.

  • Java/Kotlin/Groovy: A comfort language for me, and one I have built multiple successful enterprise ready systems with. I can build just about anything inside the the JVM, and often find myself reaching for it when I need to get something spun up. Generally I use Ratpack now a days, although I have extensive Spring experience as well.

  • GoLang: I am a huge advocate for GoLang and have promoted it professionally even. I love the simple syntax and ability to build powerful systems with minimal code. The community is awesome and I enjoy finding new applications for the language everyday from Machine Learning to Web Development.

  • PHP: I started as a PHP developer and still love the language to this day. It's a powerful language for building OOP interpreted web backends that can scale. It's my favorite technical community and I enjoy programming in it every time I get to.

  • C/C++: I have done work in C/CPP codebases to customize components of PHP source and write custom Python extensions

  • C#/.NET Core: I am learning to love C# again with .NET Core. I enjoy writing .NET applications that have the power of C# with the portability of GoLang.

  • C#/ .NET: I have done some C# development in the past to enable Windows desktop users.

sorted in rank of proficiency


I have built web and mobile experiences for users enabling visualization of data sets and business applications.

  • React: I have used React to build rich web experiences for things such as chatbots, automation UI and data visualization.

  • AngularJS: I have built web experiences for business applications and visualization of data

  • Ionic (iOS & Android): I have helped construct mobile applications for enabling visualization of I.T. infrastructure

sorted in rank of proficiency

Frameworks & Projects


  • PHP

    • Laravel

  • Java

    • SpringBoot

    • Ratpack

  • Kotlin

    • Ratpack

    • SpringBoot

  • Groovy

    • Ratpack

    • SpringBoot

  • JavaScript

    • React

    • Angular

    • JQuery

  • Python

    • Django

    • Flask

    • Sanic

    • TensorFlow

    • Ansible

    • GREASE


  • Fedora Linux (CentOS as well)

  • Debian Linux (Ubuntu as well)

  • Docker

  • Kubernetes

  • ESXI

  • OpenStack

  • Digital Ocean

  • Amazon Web Services

  • Google Cloud Platform


  • Telegraf/Influx/Grafana

  • Zabbix

  • Prometheus

Open Source


  • Cisco iOS

  • Juniper Junos

Work History

I work currently at Target as a Senior Release, Runtime, and Reliability Engineer. I spend my days architecting and constructing the Target Application Platform. In my current role I am responsible for the deployment and operation of the hybrid cloud environment, tens of thousands of workloads from thousands of developers. I help enable teams to migrate towards modern engineering principles by providing cloud ready and cloud native solutions in highly distributed environments. I write most services in Java/Kotlin with Ratpack to deliver scalable, non-blocking, services (and microservices) on our infrastructure platform. I design and implement Spinnaker components, Kubernetes API compliant infrastructure back ends, as well as custom solutions.

Previously I worked with Guest Reliability engineering building enterprise-ready systems to automate operations workload like building GREASE, root cause analysis to enable bug fixes, and consulting teams on how to build more reliable systems. Spending the remainder of my time on the innovation lab researching autonomous diagnostic chat, transparent observability, and seamless inventory tracking systems.

I also work as a developer advocate, encouraging usage of GoLang, Python, and cloud-ready architecture principles. I volunteer to plan our annual internal conference, biannual internal hackathon, and serve on the Target Open Source Committee encouraging FOSS usage and contribution at Target as well as serve as an editor of the Target tech blog. I host weekly “Tech Lunch“ where I schedule ~52 internal speakers a year (one per week) to create innovative, inclusive, and interconnected engineering communities.

I spend my time at ABILITY helping construct CI/CD pipelines for their PHP applications and working as an engineer on their "All-Payer" platform. Working on making 837(I/P) and 835 claims data more available to providers for deeper insights into their reimbursement patterns. My final project was designing their PHP5 to PHP7 migration plan which included a completed CI pipeline to ensure as the migration happened regression was prevented as much as possible.

At Tenstreet I was their Site Reliability Engineer encouraging the usage of modern tool chains, constructing a monitoring installation, and helping convert to a completely virtual infrastructure strategy via KVM and Docker.

I started my career here as a PC Technician I. During my time at NHS I helped enable the transition of their network from Netgear to Juniper, copper interconnects to fiber, and helped multiple users restore data from crashed machines. During my time as a developer there I built data driven web applications to improve the experience of employees & enable visualization of data. I also got my start in data mining here working to enable better payment of claims.