October 5

Mikolaj Pawlikowski – Chaos Engineer, Crash Testing Your Applications #97

Author, Chaos Engineer, Distributed Systems, Software Engineering, Speaker



Mikolaj Pawlikowski has been a chaos engineer for about four years. He began with a large distributed Kubernetes-based microservices platform at Bloomberg. Mikolaj is the creator of the Kubernetes Chaos Engineering tool PowerfulSeal, and the networking visibility tool Goldgpinger. He is an active member of the Chaos Engineering community and speaks at numerous conferences.

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A note from Grant

One of the emerging roles in computer science today thanks the rise of large scale distributed systems is that of the chaos engineer, an engineer whose whole job is to break things in fun and interesting ways, but also in systematic and well thought out ways, all to make our large scale systems more resilient. 

Today’s guest, Mikolaj Pawlikowski is a practicing Site Reliability Engineer and also the author of the book Chaos Engineering: Crash Test Your Applications from Manning Publications. 

Mikolaj’s career didn’t start as a chaos engineer, he has held a variety of roles in software, after getting a bachelor’s and master’s in computer science. His roles have ranged from IT support to iOS developer to software engineer, director, CTO and these days Project Lead.  Along the way he’s worked for the likes of Bloomberg, Cozy Cloud, Bull and even started his own company, BrainJar. He is also the creator of the Kubernetes Chaos Engineering tool PowerfulSeal, and the networking visibility tool Goldpinger. He is also an active member of the Chaos Engineering community and speaks at numerous conferences.

-Grant Ingersoll


“I spent half of my time at the company that employed me and payed me roughly half of the money that I’d get if I was working there full time. During the other half of the time I had to cram in all the classes that you would normally have.”

“If you have your laptop and it runs for 10 years, you assume it is basically going to run forever. But if you have 1000 laptops, you’re going to start to seem them going down.”

“You can’t ever properly test things in any other environment than production. Because the data is going to be slightly different and the patterns of users will be slightly different.”

“We want to minimize the blast radius. The number of things that can be affected by what we do. In the practice of chaos engineering, it’s not completely crazy to introduce some of that failure to production systems.”

—Mikolaj Pawlikowski

Key Milestones

  1. What was Mikolaj’s career mindset when getting started in tech?  How has it evolved?
  2. What does a site reliability engineer do?
  3. Chaos engineering is a pretty new area of engineering, or at least a new name for the role of stress testing applications. What does the role involve?
  4. Mikolaj wrote a book on Chaos Engineering from Manning Publications. Before we get into it, I want to pause and do a give away.  The first 5 people who email us at hello@develomentor.com will receive a free ebook copy of the book. Who’s it for and what will they learn?
  5. Mikolaj is now an author and a speaker. How has this changed his mindset and career mindset?

Additional Resources

Sign up for Mikolaj’s newsletter for the latest on chaos engineering – https://chaosengineering.news/

Mikolaj’s Book – Chaos Engineering: Crash Test Your Applications – https://www.manning.com/books/chaos-engineering

Past Develomentor Episodes to check out:

Ep. 15 Kelsey Hightower – Tech Support to Dev Advocate to Keynote Speaker

Charity Majors – Systems Engineer & Cofounder of Honeycomb.io #66

Connect with Mikolaj Pawlikowski

Connect with Grant Ingersoll



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