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9 hidden talents of devops ninjas

Adam Bertram | Jan. 26, 2016
The secret to devops success begins with an open, flexible, and lazy approach to systems and code.

The only constant is change in this world. This cannot be more true than in a devops environment. Constant improvement: that's what it's all about. We recognize problems, fix them, add the fix into our automated tests, and iterate. Rinse, wash, and repeat. To be a successful devops ninja, you have to set aside this routine mentality. Devops is a volatile work environment to be in. Changes are happening constantly. We're not in a waterfall world anymore where we plan, plan, plan and implement once a year. It's now plan a little, implement, get feedback, and iterate as quickly as possible. Never a dull moment, few repeated, predictable days -- that's the life of a devops ninja.

3. You're approachable

You are no longer allowed to pack your lunch, come to work, close your office door, and only appear to occasionally relieve yourself. You must be approachable. You must socialize with your team and work on issues together. Think of devops as a team sport. Devops is not golf or singles tennis. It's basketball or football. You have to contribute to the team to win. In order to do this, you must collaborate with your teammates.

A long, long time ago, IT was considered to be a business expense. IT was the department in the basement that was only necessary to keep the lights on. As a result, the industry self-selected and hired to fit that mold -- people who could code or manage systems, more or less on their own, sometimes literally in the dark. These were the kinds of people that few talked to for fear of what they might stir up in someone so isolated in the workplace, or for fear of inadvertently disrupting a basic technical service of the business. If you thrive on this kind of cone of silence, you may not survive in a devops world.

Everyone doesn’t necessarily have to like each other but we all must be able to make others comfortable with communicating with us. If not, you will soon end up being a dead man walking. If you're not contributing to the solution, you are inherently contributing to the problem.

4. You think at scale

When you don't have a vision, technical debt will ensue. Technical debt arises when you are caught up in the moment. "We'll get to that later," "That's not a problem with this current release," and "I'll do this manually this one time" are common statements that reflect an accumulation of technical debt. If you're someone who cannot envision what your code or system will look like when it's getting slammed with thousands of requests per second, then you're at a major disadvantage in a devops world.


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