Hi! I'm CJ Cenizal (he/him). I live in Los Angeles with my wife, our two kids, and our dog. If I'm not on a hiking trail or playing with my kids, you'll find me sitting on my deck, listening to the birds with a steaming mug of coffee in one hand and a paperback in the other.

I currently work as Head of Front-end Engineering at Vectara. I like thinking, writing, and speaking about people management, software engineering, product management, technical writing, and interaction design.

You can contact me via LinkedIn and find me on GitHub and Twitter.

Previous work

I've been a front-end engineer, a game dev, and a VFX artist. Over the course of my career I have...

Other writing


One of my personal goals it to develop my public speaking ability. I enjoy public speaking. I tend to think I'm not very good at it but I think I'm getting better. Here are the talks I've given.

Scale up: How to grow your team without growing headcount

2022 saw a shift in hiring in the tech industry, with many larger companies implementing freezes or layoffs. As engineering managers, how do we grow our teams’ ability to execute and succeed when we’re unable to hire more people? On October 26, 2022, I spoke on this topic at LeadDev San Francisco. Watch the talk, see the slides, or read about my experience.

Upgrade Assistant to the rescue

Upgrading Elastic's products is hard! But it doesn't have to be. My team and I invested in making the upgrade process to version 8.0 of the Elastic Stack the smoothest yet by redesigning the Upgrade Assistant UI with the user experience in mind. I shared an overview of this UI's features in a 15-minute lightning talk for the 2021 ElasticON conference. Watch the talk.

Cost-effective data storage with data tiers

I partnered up with Elasticsearch Tech Lead Jason Tedor to share best practices about using Elastic's data lifecycle management and storage features to strike the best balance between data storage cost, performance, and data duration. Watch the talk or see the slides.

Kibana UI: Under the hood

In 2017 I kicked off an effort to convert Elastic's largest front-end codebase into a framework of React components. I shared the details behind this process at a Meetup at Disney, in front of a crowd of ~100. See the slides.

Solving CSS at scale with your own UI Framework

I was fortunate enough to be one of nine speakers at CSSDay.io 2016. I spoke to an audience of roughly 200 designers and developers about some of the common problems I’ve encountered on various teams while working with CSS at scale, and shared some of my favorite solutions to these problems. Watch the talk.

Principles of motion

A long, long time ago, I studied design as a UCLA undergrad. A couple years after graduating and establishing a career in visual effects, I returned to give a guest lecture at a class on Motion Design. I share this here as a sort of "memento vivere" – to remind myself of my professional origins in the creative arts. See the slides.