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Why I’m wary of “devops” positions

People that know me, know that I can go of on a rant about “devops” positions. They ask me about it so often, that I decided to put the opinion into a blog post. So here’s a short summary of my frustrations about current job market for “devops”, also known as a rant:

Little bit of context: I recently was on a job hunt for a little period, during which I took about 40 interviews at a wide range of companies. Some I took serious, others where done out of curiousity, as practice or as long shots for positions that I didn’t feel qualified for. Most of these interviews were terrific and I got to talk to some very bright and friendly people. My problem lays with the term “devops” being used for an incredibly broad spectrum of jobs.

A lot of these positions had “devops” in some capacity in their titles and let me start of that this in itself is already a red flag for me. Having a single person/team doing both development and operations isn’t devops, since there are few people in the world who can match the expectation of being good at both. I’m of the opinion that “devops” is something that the entire company should practice, devops is about breaking down the old ideas that development and operations are separate ideas that live seperately from each other, devops is about creating a communication workflow between these 2 sides (dev and ops) that have traditionally been separated.

Some have taken this concept of “devops” and distilled it down to a job description/title, while in reality that’s not possible. How do you boil down all the ideas, communication, principles and culture of a movement into a little description/title? You don’t and you shouldn’t. Attempting it goes against the core of the movement.

Something else that I noticed, is that some people think an ops team can can be replaced by devops. Which, as you might notice, does not match with the ideas that I described above. You can’t facilitate communication between 2 teams when 1 team simply doesn’t exist.

OK, but how to we solve this?

There are several options to solve this problem:

  1. Start recruiting devops people, not devops titles: Recruit the people you need to recruit for the job you need. If you want to have devops within the company, every potential hire should match the culture in the company.

  2. Start facilitating devops mentality: Recruiting devops oriented people is a way to introduce devops to a company. But just recruiting them and expecting them to completely do all the “devops” things in the company are leaving them to fight a battle completely on their own is a good way to lose those people fast.

  3. Give people space to practice devops: The best way to learn devops, is by doing some dev/ops when you’re in a ops/dev position. You’ll find out that sysadmins become a lot more reasonable when they understand the software they are running on servers. And developers will consider the implications of design decisions a bit more once they’ve been called out of bed because there feature crashed production.

  4. Devops isn’t magic: Devops isn’t some magical solution you can throw at a problem and expect it to be fixed. It takes time, knowledge and hard work to implement the methods and tech, but in the end, I do believe the rewards are worth the effort.

Sources

I normally mention the sources without context. But below are some blog posts that share my idea and frustration with current trends in companies.


This article was posted on 2021 M4 12. Some things may have changed since then, please mail or tweet at me if you have a correction or question.

Tags: #jobs #culture #devops #rant