Is DevOps the plight of those who can do both Infrastructure (Ops) and Development?

There is something that is bothering me, something I want to share… I look at the industry today and I worry that the divide between Developers and Operators doesn’t appear to be closing. If anything, it appears to be expanding and I’m lost in the middle of it!

For those who haven’t, I highly recommending reading the Phoenix Project. It’s an amazing book that talks about IT in general, DevOps and setting up a business for success. It’s a book that gave me a lot to think about and gave me a good understanding of where I live in the world of IT.

So full disclaimer, I am at times a Brent. For those who haven’t read the book, Brent is a perfectionist and someone that must pull all the levers on everything he can get his hands on. The fact that the names Trent and Brent are similar is one thing, but the nickname of Trenticles which was donned on me many moons ago does imply that I have a fingers in a lot of pies. Some will say that’s me taking on too much or unable to say no but I must divulge, I think it’s because I’m simply misunderstood. Here is my story…

My journey in IT started like most, on a help-desk. This help-desk was actually a one man shop where I was responsible for looking after a public high school in Perth. I did that job because I in fact graduated from that very high school and was causing a lot of pain for the Managed Service Provider they had looking after their systems (hacking forward proxies were fun!). I did that job for about a year and when an opportunity came up in sleepy Fremantle (6 mins from home, a dream for 19 year old me), I moved to Notre Dame University to join their IT team.

It wasn’t long at Notre Dame (9 months) before I was one of the third tier System Administrators. I was given the chance of a life time and was taken under the wings of someone amazing that taught me the ropes of being an amazing System Administrator. Learning the importance of doing IT for the businesses needs, being responsible with costs, being security mindful and thinking about automation first on everything I do.

Automation first… If I could automate my entire life, I would consider it!

Unlike what the industry would consider as a ‘conventional’ System Administrator, with an automation first mindset, I learnt super early to code. It was something I never thought I’d need and it certainly wasn’t in my job JD’s as a skill I needed, but without any doubt, it has changed the way I work for the better. It’s helped me build some awesome solutions that I’m very proud of which without code, I’d still be tiring to put together. I even loathe myself like any other developer when I look back at some of the code I put together.

Some examples of learning to develop.

So here we are with the skills of both Infrastructure and Development it’s a complicated mess. We’re seen by some as both (fingers in too many pies), neither (he can’t help us here) or siloed into one (he’s only a developer).

So I have to ask, what are we in this DevOps world where we have both ‘Dev’ and ‘Ops’ knowledge? Is there a role for us or are we in a lost void? I would love to hear what others have to say about this?!

My thoughts right now. I’m a fraudulent Developer, wanting to continue to automate my applications and infrastructure code. I feel the power to automate this is resting in the hands of Developers, and not both!

Some good reads: