Lee Penkman

Work Experience

Canva Logo
Canva - Image Processing/Machine Learning Engineer

May 2019 – Present

Canva is a leading graphic design product,
I work delivering image processing and machine learning capabilities to the photo editing experience, previously as a Security engineer.

Technologies: Terraform, PyTorch, AWS, Docker, Python, GLSL/OpenGL.


  • Image background removal using Machine Learning
  • Dataset collection and curation pipelines for training ML algorithms
  • Object detection
  • Phishing detection
  • Infrastructure security, CI/CD systems
  • Penetration testing
  • Incident response/on call
Fairfax Logo
Fairfax Media - Tech Lead

May 2018 – May 2019

Fairfax is a leading media/news company,
I worked as a tech lead in a cross functional team on full stack web development, testing and data engineering/warehousing/science projects.

Technologies: Terraform, Django, AWS, Docker, Node.js, React, Google AdManager/TagManager/Optimize/Cloud.


  • Rolling out paywalls to high traffic news sites
  • Scaling/developing high traffic news sites
  • Building end to end analytics pipelines and reports
  • Video/Ad Optimization
Weta Digital Logo
Weta Digital - Motion RnD Technical Director

September 2015 – May 2018

Weta Digital is a world leading, award winning, premier visual effects company.
I worked on supporting Animation, Motion Editing, Crowd Simulation, Mocap and virtual artists by:
Gathering requirements, prioritizing features, developing/operating/reliability engineering on scheduling, stats gathering, machine learning/big data analytics and content creation/curation software.

Technologies: Python, Node.js, React, Ansible, Docker, ELK, Graphana, Redis, RabbitMQ, Postgres, MySQL, Maya, Nuke.


  • Data engineering, syncing, queueing and reliability engineering of data warehousing projects
  • Production tracking/Product management tools, Data analytics, batch/realtime data warehousing and report generation
  • Improving artists workflow
  • Image processing pipelines, warping cameras, rendering workflows
  • Versioning, tracking, publishing, diffing of; 3D artwork, video/cameras, meshes, textures/shaders, skeletal/puppet motion and timeseries data
  • distributed 3D data pipelines, format conversion, performance optimization
Dot NZ Logo
.nz Registry Services - Developer

August 2014 – September 2015 (1 year 2 months)

NZRS manages the DNS and .nz namespace in New Zealand.
As a subsidiary of internetNZ, NZRS works towards making the internet better for everyone.

Technologies: AWS, Python, Puppet, Ruby/Rails, D3, Hive, HBase, Hadoop, Scala/Spark, Postgres, Elastic search, Docker, Elastic Beanstalk.


  • Registrar stats dashboard
  • BroadbandMap.nz
  • Internet topology visualization in D3
  • Mentoring student projects in Hive, HBase, Hadoop
Infoxchange Logo
Infoxchange - Developer

December 2013 – July 2014 (8 months)

Infoxchange is a not for profit working closely with the Australian Government to make sure Technology is Easy to use and Accessible.
At Infoxchange i worked remotely in an agile environment, telecommuting into stand-ups, retros and planning poker meetings and communicating pro actively via chat.
I introduced behaviour/test driven development with Jasmine, code quality improved and bugs became under control.

Technologies: Python, Puppet, Django, Docker, Bash, Less, Backbone, Bootstrap, PostgreSQL.


  • Human Services Network for NSW Government
  • Service Seeker (Similar to Google Maps)
99designs Logo
99designs - Developer

April 2013 – December 2013 (9 months)

99designs is the world’s largest crowd sourced graphic design website.
At 99designs i became extensively experienced in responsive and mobile first design, distributed and cloud computing, Amazon web services, Agile development methodologies and performance optimization.

Technologies: PHP, Go, JavaScript/jQuery, AWS, MySQL and MongoDB.


  • Design annotations (commenting on part of an image).
  • Campaign monitor to Mailchimp migration with no downtime with SQS
  • Migrating data to a new SSO service
Kiwiplan Logo
Kiwiplan - Developer

November 2012 to April 2013 (6 Months)

Kiwiplan provides intelligent solutions for the manufacturing industry.
I was on the special projects team covering fixing bugs, increasing developer productivity, test automation and Data Warehousing/Business Intelligence.

Technologies: Pentaho BI, Java, ExtJs, MySQL, MSSQL, Jenkins, ETL workflows.


  • Developing Data Warehousing and Business Intelligence solutions.
  • Migrating distributed/service oriented systems to use Spring Remoting and service discovery.
University Of Auckland Logo
University Of Auckland - Teaching Assistant

March 2012 to November 2012 (9 Months)

I helped teach Java, Python and general computing to Students at the University. The work was fun and interesting as there was a large set of skills coming into computer science and many bright students.

Kiwiplan Logo
Kiwiplan - Developer Intern

November 2011 to February 2012 (3 Months)

As an intern at Kiwiplan I was mentored through the whole software development lifecycle, from gathering functional requirements to designing mockups, modeling client server interactions and database schemas to development, test automation and quality assurance. Afterwards I gave a presentation about work I had completed and my great experience.

Technologies: Java, ExtJs, MySQL, Maven, SVN, Tomcat, Hibernate, Spring, Balsamiq, Jenkins.


  • Continuous Automated Scheduling Environment (rule based system).
SGB Services Logo
SGB Services - Web Developer

January 2010 – July 2010 (6 Months)

I was a Web Developer Apprentice at a small startup which mostly imported goods and developed E-Commerce websites to sell them.

Learned: LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL PHP), HTML/JS/CSS, AdWords/Analytics/AdSense, SEO/SEM, Marketing.


  • Designing and building E-commerce websites from scratch and marketing them.
  • Developed a flight time calculator.

Pet projects

Bitcoin Logo
BitBank.nz - Live Cryptocurrency Prediction Dashboard

Accurate, actionable predictions explained with evidence

Technologies: Python, Postgres, AI/Machine Learning, Google cloud, Material design.

How.nz Logo
How.nz Tech Blog

Technologies: Node, Hexo.

Mom.nz Logo
Mom.nz Blog of a mom

Technologies: Node, Hexo, now Ghost.

Reading Time Logo
Reading Time - Helps Kids Read

Technologies: App engine, Reveal.js, Python.

Ring Logo
Ring.nz - Find Your Perfect Ring

Find perfect rings from Pascoes, Micheal Hill, Swarovski, Pandora and more.

Technologies: Node, Express, Polymer, AWS, Elastic Beanstalk, Postgres.

reWord Game Logo
reWord Game

reWord Game - So Sentences Seem Sensible!

Technologies: Python, Google App Engine, JavaScript.

Big Multiplayer Chess Logo
Big Multiplayer Chess

Big Multiplayer Chess - Massive Chess Game!

Technologies: Python, Google App Engine, JavaScript.

WebFiddle Logo

Edit the web and share the results!

Technologies: Python, Google App Engine, JavaScript, Originally Node, Express, Heroku.

Evangeler Logo

Create Viral Marketing Campaigns! Promote Your Product With The Power Of The People!

Technologies: Python, Backbone, Facebook API, Google App Engine.

Multiplication master Logo
Multiplication master

Multiplication Master is a fun way of learning maths.

Technologies: Python, Bootstrap, JavaScript, Google App Engine.

Addicting Word Games Logo
Addicting Word Games

Addicting Word Games! Play Addicting Word Games Now!

Technologies: Python, Bootstrap, JavaScript, Google App Engine.

Word Smashing Logo
Word Smashing

Addicting & Fun Word Puzzle

Technologies: Python, Bootstrap, JavaScript, Google App Engine.

Shopping Smart Logo
Shopping Smart

New Zealand Price comparison website

Technologies: ASP.NET, C#, MVC 3, Originally Java & Google App Engine



Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

2010 2nd Semester
COMPSCI 101 Principles of Programming A+
COMPSCI 111 Mastering Cyberspace: Introduction to Practical Computing A+
MATHS 108 General Mathematics 1 A-
STATS 101 Introduction to Statistics B+
2011 Summer Semester
COMPSCI 105 Principles of Computer Science A+
2011 1st Semester
COMPSCI 210 Computer Systems 1 A-
COMPSCI 225 Discrete Structures in Mathematics and Computer Science A+
COMPSCI 230 Software Construction A+
COMPSCI 280 Enterprise Software Development A-
PHYSICS 140 Digital Fundamentals A+
2011 2nd Semester
COMPSCI 215 Computer Systems 2 A
COMPSCI 220 Algorithms and Data Structures A+
COMPSCI 335 Distributed Objects Services and Programming A+
MATHS 208 General Mathematics 2 A-
PHIL 105G Critical Thinking A-
2012 1st Semester
COMPSCI 350 Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science A
COMPSCI 351 Fundamentals of Database Systems A-
COMPSCI 369 Computational Science A+
COMPSCI 373 Computer Graphics and Image Processing A
EDUC 121G How People Learn B
2012 2nd Semester
COMPSCI 314 Modern Data Communications B
COMPSCI 320 Applied Algorithmics A
COMPSCI 340 Operating Systems A-
COMPSCI 367 Artificial Intelligence A


Kiwiplan Scholarship for excellence in Computer Science and Software Engineering

Top in the class Scholarship for CompSci 369 Computational Science

J.C. Butcher Award in Theoretical Computer Science


Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Bayesian Learning and Model Deployment in Python

Architecting on AWS

Coursera Machine Learning

Advanced Google Analytics

Google AdManager

W3Schools certified JavaScript developer (with excellence)

W3Schools certified PHP/SQL developer

W3Schools certified HTML/CSS/XHTML developer


I Graduated Computer Science in two and a half years

First place; CS101 game programming competition

We came 6th in the 2012 New Zealand Programming competition (Tertiary open) as part of team "'); DROP TABLE Teams;"

My interests

Big Data

I understand the challenges and trade offs faced when conquering big data, from data modeling in Relational vs NoSQL databases, implementing parallel ETL logic flows, Distributed processing Hadoop/MapReduce/HDFS, Data warehousing strategies like columnar databases, Star Schemas and OLAP Cubes to Data processing design patterns, I love these challenges that come with enabling smart decisions.

Data Analytics

I love manipulating and visualizing data, augmented intelligence and aiding understanding by presenting data in intuitive ways with latest graphical and code first technologies like plotly, D3, SVG, Graphana, Tablau, Google data studio, Leaflet/spatial data analysis.

Machine Learning

I love AI/human interaction, Knowledge transfer/distillation/compilation, PyTorch/Tensorflow, Differential data augmentation and 3D rendering, Fairness and balanced AI, Model and prediction interpretability, unsupervised techniques (GANs, student/teacher networks, clustering), User/data centric AI and building healthy data/product feedback loops.

The Web

I love hacking the web, pushing the limits with the worlds largest knowledge graph, web mash-ups, reusable service oriented architectures and open source.


I love playing and making games, 3D modeling tools (Maya, Blender), game engines (Unreal Engine, Unity3D)


I love pixels, Composition and video editing (Nuke, After effects), procedural art/simulation with Houdini, capturing/describing the natural world (video, motion capture, photogrammetry), graphics processing algorithms.


I love the arms race of cryptography, pen testing, hacks, network protocols, OWASP, privilege escalation, intrusion prevention/detection/response/postmortem, vulnerability scanning, low level programming and reading CVE's


I love developing trading strategies, secure distributed computing and consensus algorithms, smart contracts, time series forecasting/market prediction and online distributed machine learning systems.


I love not doing things too, Continuous integration and delivery, DevOps teams, Configuration management, Automatic development environments, Infrastructure as code, Docker.


I love having living documentation, having confidence to make change, knowing what things should do and what they actually do, testing often, Jasmine for in browser tests, Driving browsers for integration tests, Unit testing and dependency injection, Test driven DevOps, Big Data, Design and Development

User Experience & Design

I love making simple and easy to use apps, designing mobile and user first, making sure effort is best spent on critical features, prototyping user interfaces, card sorting, information architecture and Photoshop.


References available on request, Email me at leepenkman@gmail.com