Climbing Out of the Shell: From Sysadmin to Software Engineering

Speakers: Josh Wisenbaker

Level: All Levels, Lecture

Excerpt: Josh Wisenbaker, Head of Engineering at Orchard & Grove Inc, gives tips and best practices on making the jump from being a sysadmin to a software developer. This session draws on his personal experiences advising, developing, and teaching about software engineering.

Description: Josh Wisenbaker made the transition from sysadmin to software developer over the better part of the last decade. During his last four years at Apple, he focused on helping customers with their in-house app development practices for all of Apple’s platforms. Now he’s left Apple and is putting his money where his mouth is as the Head of Engineering at Orchard & Grove Inc. Not only is Josh setting up the company’s engineering department, but he also must tame an organic, unruly, codebase for all of the NoMAD product line.

First, Josh will share the things that he wishes he had known when learning about software development. Then, using the refactoring of the NoMAD AD Auth framework as an example, you will also learn how to create software that is robust, understandable, and extensible without drowning in buzzwords. In the end you will come away with strategies for software development and realize that you probably already know more than you think you do.

About the speaker

Josh Wisenbaker (Twitter: @macshome) – Head of Engineering – Orchard & Grove

Josh is the Head of Engineering for Orchard & Grove, an app development and consulting firm based in Austin, Texas. He arrived there from an 11-year stint at Apple where he worked closely with enterprise customers to help them deploy and manage Apple devices and software. His last four years at Apple focused on in-house enterprise app development, and he brings that scarring experience with him to Orchard & Grove where he can ensure everything runs the correct way.

Prior to Apple, Josh frequented the Mac conference speaker’s circuit as half of He also worked to increase Mac adoption in enterprise environments as a member of the MacEnterprise Steering Committee and as a sysadmin for Lowe’s Home Improvement and ComputerTree Technologies. These efforts helped place Josh in the inaugural group of the MacTech 25 nearly 75 years ago.

Josh has an undergraduate degree in European History from Western Carolina University and is self-taught in other areas such as metalworking, brewing, auto-repair, and software development. He lives alone, with the exception of his wife, three children, cat, two birds, a pair of fancy rats, and several fish, in Winston-Salem, NC.

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