4 ways of developing DevOps competences

I’ve been in DevOps for about 5 years so far and recently summed up the main ways of learning in this business.

The main challenges of DevOps learning are related to extremely wide technology and skills coverage that are presumed to be useful in this occupation.

While the toolset of DevOps highly depends on the technology stack, there are common areas of knowledge that (basing on my fails and trials) turned out to be crucial for system vision and approach.

First of all, DevOps is not only about development, as we can see from the name but also there is an Ops part. Therefore, any reading related to Operations Management is beneficial. You need to know how the company works from the inside out in order to be efficient in DevOps when improving delivery processes. One of my favorites are:

They will tell you how to build operations of your company as a factory – and you may argue that you work in lean/agile/cool startup and have nothing to do with blue collars from industrial areas – and would be mistaken. It is important to start looking at work being done by your company, as at something that you can measure and improve – not ephemerally but by means of time,  throughput and quality.

The second thing I learned about DevOps – is to always keep asking yourself – am I doing a right thing? Am I delivering value and improving the processes?  Do it all the time even out of work – for example, when attending tech conferences and reading literature. Try to make sure you are on track with the latest trends, and here I mean being on track conceptually. Do not try to chase each and every new tools or release – it rarely makes a really big difference comparing to using the old ones. Concentrate on following the concepts – whenever someone introduces a new way to doing DevOps – it is time to start digging in. When you introduce new concepts and take the best ideas to work – you change the rules of the game and you may get much better results than simply replacing the tools.

The third point – is to constantly and continuously improve your OWN operations. Think about how you handle the work that lands on your desk, think about yourself as a factory and the output that you produce. What do you need to improve? You may start with Time management, Memory skills, and Communication.

And the last, fourth way of learning is to always communicate your ideas – in blogs, comments, discussions with colleagues, and see how people react to them. This will help you understand the main pain points and weak spots of your concepts and improve them, with an assistance of others and from their perspective.

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