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Nexus Innovator: Jasmine James of Delta

Previously, Jasmine James explained how she rolled out Sonatype at Delta Airlines. Today, she gives us a deeper glimpse into her career - How did she discover Nexus? How can others can follow a similar path? Learn from this DevSecOps leader.

Remember when Americans were flooded with CDs, urging them to “go online”?

That was the era when Jasmine James grew up in Atlanta. She loved playing around with HTML and MySpace, the early social media site. Her natural interest in, and aptitude for, computers eventually led to a computer science degree at the University of West Georgia.

She worked her way through school as a retail AT&T sales consultant. “They had a great program, tuition reimbursement,” says James. After graduation she secured a job at AT&T's corporate office doing test automation. “In that role, coding was always fun to me, but I really loved the way that we were able to make the QA experience more efficient through automation.”

Her efforts at automation began a journey of learning. She transitioned first into mobile automation, then automating iOS test cases and Android test cases. Then she expanded automation to all of AT&T’s mobile applications, and eventually lead a team of automation engineers.

Discovering Nexus

“That's where I actually first implemented Sonatype's Nexus Repository, the open source version,” says James. “We built our own framework, we packaged it, it lived in Sonatype and it was propagated throughout our team, and everyone leveraged it. That was my first taste of Nexus.”

“We used Jenkins at the time, open source, and had our own internal Sonatype server. It was just for the purpose of automating test cases,” she adds.

Going Pro

James moved to Delta Airlines next, and brought her appreciation for Nexus with her.

Today, Delta uses the professional version of Nexus Repository and uses it as an enterprise repository.

“I was an engineer on the team as we were standing up Nexus. I just remember not having any systems engineering experience [...] I was more a developer. [Sonatype Support helped] us figure out: ‘how do we set up Engine X, how do we make sure that our certificates are there?’,” James recalls.

She says Sonatype Support was “super supportive,” adding, “it's kind of like that private jet experience, like white glove support. It was a very, very positive experience.”

“Essentially all Delta artifacts built using modern CI/CD practices are housed within our enterprise version, and we also use it as a proxy for a lot of our external repository. We proxy a Red Hat repository we use on rail,” she explains.

“So, all of the Red Hat jars for middleware, we leverage it to proxy those, we use it for raw hosting binaries, for raw repository types. So, windows, binaries -- anything that doesn't fit the Java standard build type,” she adds.

Right now, exciting things are happening with Java at Delta.

“We're working on establishing a pattern. We do a lot of Windows distributions through a tool called Radia. We're working on proving out a way to distribute software to all of the equipment that's out there like laptops, desktops, server -- all through Nexus,” says James.

She continues: “It's pretty much Windows -- it’s going to be like Linux, where you can have a Yum proxy. So, we're going to establish all of that. We have everything coming from the one place [Nexus], not just Java, not just Raw, but everything coming from that one location, because then we get the visibility that we need to understand what's where and how many people are using these open source artifacts.”

Looking Ahead

James used Nexus as she moved from a Development Tools Engineer, to a Senior role, and now, IT Manager for the DevOps CoE at Delta.

“One of the main things that I love about Sonatype is, just in the short time we've been a customer, you all have grown tremendously from a documentation standpoint,” She adds: “I love the growth that I'm seeing.” She is excited about HA, as well as using Nexus API to automate even more of her team’s tasks.

James recently added an MBA to her professional portfolio from LSU Shreveport.

What will she do next? She has a few ideas, explaining there is still plenty more she wants to do at Delta to empower developers and develop secure software. “I consider myself to be, like, an advocate for developers and just making sure that they're enabled to deliver awesome stuff.”

As for mentors outside of Delta, or DevSecOps specifically? James emphasizes her own good fortune in school and after graduation. She takes a proactive stance to connect with industry peers, but also looks to leaders in other areas, too, for inspiration.

“In Atlanta, we have the CIO of the City of Atlanta. She's doing some great stuff in the government world, which is always challenging in and of itself. I've had the opportunity to hear her speak and, yeah, just any women that are just doing innovative stuff in areas that don't really see innovation too often, like government agencies. So, focusing on that.”

To learn more about how Delta implemented Nexus, watch this video with Jasmine James and Chris Bolton. 


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Written by Katie McCaskey

Katie is an experienced technology writer and entrepreneur. At Sonatype, she's focused on creating and finding great content.