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Four things I wish they’d told me about DevOps.


I joined Click Digital almost two and a half years ago and was immediately dropped into “DevOps recruitment”.  Not only did I know little about “recruitment” at the time but I knew even less about “DevOps”.  It’s just Development and Operations together right? Wrong!

Below are four things I’ve learnt about the DevOps community (the hard way).

  1. It's a mind-set not a skillset.

 Probably the most important lesson I've learnt about DevOps is the fact that, primarily, it's about culture rather than technology.

Although the DevOps tool chain and “platform” is incredibly important, really you need an open and problem solving mindset to be able to deliver DevOps to an organisation.  This can be a hard thing to qualify (obviously) as it’s incredibly subjective.  I generally find the more passionate people are and the more willing to talk about their “battle scars” (cliché jargon I know) then the better they are as an Engineer.

  1. The Community is passionate.

 The IT industry overall is naturally very collaborative and community driven, a perfect example of this is being the popularity of open source software.  

I’d say that anyone wanting to know more about the DevOps space should attend one of the many (free) Meetups out there. You’ll find a plethora of people there willing to share their experiences and opinions on technology.  However, be selective where you’re going.  Some of the most popular ones aren’t necessarily the best, and you don’t want to waste an evening even if there IS free beer and pizza.  It seems there’s a meetup for every DevOps technology now so I’d say show support for the smaller ones!

I’d also recommend following some ‘Thought Leaders’ on Twitter and reading their blogs. Some are very entertaining and will give you a great insight into the latest trends.

My favourites are HoldMyBeerOps (@sadoperator), Tom Clark (@tomonocle) and Matt Saunders (@cm6051).  Also, I’ll take this opportunity to shamelessly plug myself … Follow me!

  1. …And they love to talk about “DevOps”.

When asked the right questions,  people love to talk about themselves.  Just don’t ask them “What is DevOps?”.  I was told to ask this on my first call EVER because no one really knew what DevOps was at my company.  Unfortunately I got roasted, BAD, and told to look it up on Wikipedia! Traumatising stuff…

It’s always good to have a base knowledge of any space you’re working in but asking good questions is the key to sharing information.  Read some of the great texts out there, but start at Gene Kim’s Phoenix Project.

  1. It’s just a buzzword

Unfortunately many Recruitment companies and Enterprises’ are looking to Capitalize on “this new DevOps thing”.   

However, what many of these people don’t realise is that Technologists have been employing DevOps techniques for years.  Before it was given a name, automation and the like was being used by many to help speed along production.  It harks back to that ‘Mind-set over Skill-set’ statement I made earlier.  DevOps is about cultural change and, primarily, bringing businesses value through that Transformation.

So, that’s my two cents on the DevOps space.  This blog post isn’t really aimed at anyone in particular, but one thing embedding myself in the DevOps space has taught me is that it’s not only worthwhile but important to share your experiences with others.  You never know how it might help.