After a career change in 2015 and in the way a that a lot of recruiters do, I fell into the industry and perhaps I started with one of the most notoriously difficult to define areas of the tech market: DevOps.
There are consequences for recruiters when there’s a lack of clarity around DevOps positions. If employers and hiring managers don’t understand what DevOps is, they can expect DevOps Engineers to either fit into the definition of a pure developer or that of an infrastructure engineer so they rely on a hiring process that weeds out one or the other making it impossible for any DevOps Engineer to measure up.
There is also a lack of understanding on how wide ranging the role of a DevOps Engineer is and how much access they have to the entire project. An understanding of the role, the wider methodology and the cultural implications are crucial for recruiters so that they can manage the expectations of both clients and candidates throughout the hiring and onboarding process.
So, from a recruitment perspective, what is DevOps?
Of course, there are certain tools that DevOps Engineers tend to use and as a recruiter you can easily identify them but this doesn’t lead you to a real understanding of what DevOps is.
In its most simplistic form, DevOps is about Development teams and IT Operations teams working together in a more Agile way, mainly by implementing the use of automation tools to speed up processes in the software delivery lifecycle.
But Agile Methodologies can be considered to have lead to DevOps and I consider them to still go hand-in-hand. So an understanding of DevOps starts with an understanding of Agile methodologies.
For me, Agile is an approach to working that is more collaborative and emphasises incremental delivery of software (rather than all in one go towards the end of the project), continual planning and continual learning.
From the start I have been told that DevOps is about a company culture. Broadly DevOps is a mixture of cultural philosophies, methodologies and tools put into practice with the aim of making an organisation work smarter and more efficiently. A well implemented DevOps strategy allows the business as a whole to run faster and more smoothly, effectively so they can beat their competition in the market.
For me, having worked with organisations at various stages of implementing a DevOps environment over the last 3 years it seems that everyone has a different definition. What’s clear is that just having a DevOps Engineer on your team does not necessarily a DevOps environment make. There are no shortcuts when it comes to changing a culture, or implementing one if you’re starting up.
I’ve spoken with many engineers who claim “I was doing DevOps before it was called DevOps” and I’ve also spoken with Junior Engineers that tell me they don’t come from either a Development or an Operations background like most DevOps Engineers because they got into the industry recently enough to have started their first job as a DevOps Engineer straight away. So DevOps, although often considered a relatively new concept, could also have been around a long time, depending on your perspective.
During the short course of time I have been working in recruitment and focussed on this section of the market, I would like to think I have gained a fair understanding of what DevOps is. It is certainly a learning curve that I have enjoyed and I look forward to more conversations with clients and candidates, more listening at meetups and further reading allowing me to develop and improve my knowledge of DevOps as time goes on.
Please feel free to leave your comments and correct me 🙂
Along with my experience, I used the following sources to help me put this post together:
The Phoenix Project – Gene Kim, Kevin Behr and George Spafford. (IT Revolution Press, 2014).