It’s no secret that establishing a DevOps practice is currently the sexy thing to do in the IT Industry. DevOps is a very lucrative career path and the engineers that are equipped to handle this type of work are few and far between. What does that mean for the DevOps community? Basically, you’re wanted and you’re worth a lot of money. As an IT Recruiter at Relus, I conduct internal hiring for our Cloud team and speak with DevOps engineers daily about their interests. I asked a few of our internal DevOps engineers and the DevOps community here in Atlanta (via the Tech404 Slack Channel) what they value when selecting an employer.
Reader, prepare to take notes. Your DevOps employees should be the apple of your eye and I promise that if you aren’t taking care of their interests, I’ll pull them from your company and get them to work for Relus or another organization.
What are the Most Important Factors to the DevOps Community?
Executive Buy-In for Tooling DevOps Teams
I can’t count how many times I’ve heard from DevOps engineers that their current organization is not forward-thinking enough. While tech giants like Google and Amazon are setting industry standards and venturing into new technologies, not every organization should or can function that way. I think what organizations can learn from iconic tech brands is that they prioritize technology and innovation over a concern for budget. Of course, they have big bucks to spend, but Google is known for creating new technologies simply to see if it works. Case in point: Google Glass. Google Glass did not exactly take off, but I bet the engineers that worked on it had a blast. At the end of the day, companies operate to make money. Google is risky and innovative. In the same way, the executives ought to be risky as well. Your DevOps teams are good at what they do. They eat, drink, breathe, dare I say even bathe in DevOps. They know what tools work and what don’t, as they work in your environment every day and probably know it better than you do. Value their input and both parties will win. Your DevOps team will have a blast building and implementing the tools they are most passionate about and your company will have an awesome DevOps culture.
DevOps Engineers Cling to Innovation
DevOps is a fast-moving role that requires innovation. I mean, engineers are building tools to automate tasks that would typically be completed manually. Not every organization is ready to add more complexity to their environment, but if you are attempting to establish a DevOps culture, your organization need to unify the DevOps team with the entire organization to see the value of implementing these tools. Otherwise, one area an organization might have the idea that Chef would be the best tool to implement whereas another group would prefer Ansible. Kubernetes is an amazing tool for managing Docker Containers, but others may not agree. I mean, why fix what’s already working, right? Innovation in this instance means not only keeping a pulse on and being open to which new technologies can benefit your organization, but also fostering a culture that emphasis educating employees on how these new technologies can benefit their department. Of course, it shouldn’t go without mentioning that the DevOps team must be unified. Each member may have their own philosophy about which tools yield the best results, but what fosters unity within the DevOps team is having the team lead and C-Level executives communicate with them on how valuable their skillset is to the entire organization. To achieve full optimization desired by the organization, they must work together collectively. This also means that you need to know what each DevOps engineer’s green-field environment would look like for them. This means understanding the type of environment each member of the team would like to build if they could do it on their own. Make sure to keep that in mind not only when expanding your DevOps team, but also when considering which new tools you want to build in-house.
Know Your DevOps Engineers – SysOps/DevOps/Building Cool Stuff
To be specific, DevOps engineers tend to have both a systems engineering and a development background. It’s hard to identify the spectrum on which DevOps engineers want to focus. You’ll find DevOps engineers on your team that want to focus on deployment and others that want to focus on SysOps work, but typically there should be involvement in both. DevOps engineering is hybrid by nature and so you can’t just call a position “DevOps” if you are exclusively focusing on the SysOps piece and expect members of your team to be happy. If you have DevOps engineers on your team that want to concentrate on the deployment side of DevOps, and yet you throw them into exclusively SysOps where all they do is monitor and troubleshoot the tools that are already built post-implementation, a fat paycheck won’t keep them there. Your organization would not be leveraging their skills to the best of their abilities and interests. I’ve heard numerous occasions where a DevOps engineer is entertaining a conversation with me after being thrown into exclusively SysOps responsibilities because of perceived company demands from upper management. Don’t be the company that simply tries to use a square peg to fill a round hole for an internal role. You’ll soon have to fill 2 roles instead.
Honorable Mentions from #DevOps on Tech404
It wouldn’t hurt for companies to add these to your environment as well!
- Work from home/flexible hours
- Working with smarter people (it isn’t always fun being the smartest one in the room)
- Flexible laptop choices (no one has time for Windows laptops on Linux servers)
- Lunch and learns, tech talks, opportunities for professional development