19

Good developers should fit rule 11 of the Joel Test:

Do new candidates write code during their interview?

However, I know little to nothing about Docker containers, how to configure Jenkins or AWS, etc. What would be a good way to test if the person who applies can manage such tasks?

Sub-questions: I believe that a good devops employee can configure the build chain once and it should work from then on out. Can I then also expect him or her to be a developer in the company (DEVops)? As DevOps is a relatively "new" job, is it maybe better for small companies to share a devops employee or hire him or her as a freelancer whenever you need him or her?

enter image description here My confusion about the term originates from job offers like this, even here on stackexchange (= link where above screenprint was taken from).

I found this helpful, but possible opinionated article you might want to read if you stumble on this question: https://hackernoon.com/devoops-some-common-anti-patterns-1850ac2f5074

  • 3
    As DevOps is not a role (its a buzzword as such), you're hiring a modern sysadmin according to your description. – Tensibai Mar 10 '17 at 16:00
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because DevOps is not a role/job position – Tensibai Mar 10 '17 at 16:01
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    @Tensibal I agree with you but I am also tempted to leave this question open as it can help to clarify this misconception – and we can expect to see this question coming again and again and again and again. – Michael Le Barbier Grünewald Mar 10 '17 at 16:41
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    @MichaelGrünewald Add an answer clarifying this. If upvoted it will prevent the question from dissapearing, even if closed. Best of both worlds: clarifies the issue & remains visible as off-topic for the site, helping prevent future such questions (which could be duplicated to it) – Dan Cornilescu Mar 10 '17 at 17:02
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    @Tensibai FWIW, I don't think we should ever close a question on the basis that "DevOps is not a role." Every question where this confusion is evident is an opportunity to clarify. The answer to the question should include a clarification to that effect, and a link to that question. If we close questions just because they confuse the DevOps term, we will alienate new users and miss the opportunity to clarify. – Dave Swersky Mar 10 '17 at 18:47
13

It is a common misbelief that “DevOps” is a role in a company. The word merely denotes an organisational shift in software companies, this shift can be shortly described by the “You build it, you run it!” coined by Werner Vogels:

There is no need to distinguish between building and running, and according to Werner Vogels, it is much better than that:

Giving developers operational responsibilities has greatly enhanced the quality of the services, both from a customer and a technology point of view. The traditional model is that you take your software to the wall that separates development and operations, and throw it over and then forget about it. Not at Amazon. You build it, you run it. This brings developers into contact with the day-to-day operation of their software. It also brings them into day-to-day contact with the customer. This customer feedback loop is essential for improving the quality of the service.

This lesson is interesting, but this particular change in an organization is not always easy to implement.

This shift is concomitant of an increasing importance of continuous integration and deliveries methods. Please note that these ideas are much older than the formalisation of “agile” methodologies, some of them are already present in the NATO Scientific Committee report about software engineering published in … 1968!

While the wording can be overlooked, the short description of the DevOps proposal (this site) mentions “software engineers”:

Beta Q&A site for software Engineers working on automated testing, continuous delivery, service integration and monitoring, and building SDLC infrastructure.


Now if you are looking for a software engineer that can help your team getting started with these methodologies, engage them on this topic. Even if you are not familiar with this topic, following the “You build it! You run it!” slogan you can start from a programming problem and lead the interview towards question about deployment and maintenance of the application.

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    The confusion is also based on job offers like this: stackoverflow.com/jobs/135988/… – Thomas Mar 10 '17 at 17:40
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    Yes, there is a lot of people or organizations using “DevOps” as a role. No one can be blamed for being a victim of this and your question is useful to clarify this, so thank you to have asked it, even it will probably finally be closed. I hope you find this answer useful and that you will take the chance to otherwise contribute to this site or use it as an information source! – Michael Le Barbier Grünewald Mar 10 '17 at 17:46
  • @ThomasMoors : your prior (interesting!) comment should be integrated in your actual question ... even if it was only to document your confusion ... – Pierre.Vriens Mar 10 '17 at 18:54
  • @Pierre.Vriens done – Thomas Mar 10 '17 at 18:57
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    Synonym/related "eat your own dog food", don't do something you won't use – Tensibai Mar 10 '17 at 19:59
7

At the risk of getting vote down, off-topic or even heresy, I going to tell you, "Don't listen to the purists telling you that DevOps is not a role."

You are on the right track. It should fit your company. That's what matters when hiring.

If you need a DevOps, to work like a DevOps, produce results like DevOps, it is a DevOps.

  • Don't let anyone dissuade you otherwise.
  • Advertise anyway.
  • Interview anyway.
  • Hire anyway.

While at that, find out more about DevOps, how the concept can fit into your company, how does the person fits in.

Distill out more about the role you need to fill. Search for questions you can ask. There are plenty of example, even if you are not subject matter expert. Some good old-fashioned patience and hardwork.

Do you need an employee? Or freelancer? A jack of all trades? Only you know your company well.

Create your unique culture that is your interpretation of DevOps.

  • +1 to this. Purists have been hung up on the devops is not a role answer for too long, but the industry, job boards and recruiters have already turned it into a reality, and it's time we accept it for what it is. – grumpyops Jun 27 '17 at 13:46
6

"Hiring a DevOps" will be tough because DevOps isn't a role. IF you can find an engineer with software development and engineering skills, you're on the right track..

However,

Your hiring process will be complicated by a few factors:

  1. Site Reliability Engineers (Google's term for admin/engineers with coding skills) are rare
  2. Rare skills are expensive
  3. Rare skills are... rare.

The good news is you may not need a fully qualified SRE.

Your use case, as it were, is hiring engineers to establish your infrastructure (AWS) and automate deployments (Jenkins.) Those skills are not all that rare, but you may have a challenge finding them in a single person.

You also mention that you yourself don't have those skills. This is a further complicating factor. You don't have the skills necessary to evaluate the skills of your candidates. You must ultimately find a way to develop (or hire, as in an Engineering Manager) the skills needed to manage this type of resource.

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    That's common for human resource people to not have the skills of the people they are hiring. Usually the best idea is to interview with skilled people to have an evaluation of the candidates – Tensibai Mar 10 '17 at 20:03
  • I meant to say, I'm a good developer, but I also want to be surrounded with people who excel at other disciplines inside the company eventually, better than mine. – Thomas Mar 10 '17 at 21:19
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    @ThomasMoors that's a very good idea. Don't bother too much, I'm vocal about what I think about this site, but I'm just one in a crowd. Sorry if I sounded rude btw – Tensibai Mar 10 '17 at 21:39
2

There are two possibilities:

  1. You need help figuring out what are the changes your company needs to go through on your journey to DevOps.

  2. You know what you need and just look to hire people to implement this vision for you.

If you need someone to help you figure out which issues you need to concentrate on, there is a really good company called DORA (DevOps Research and Assessment), which is cofounded by Dr. Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble and Gene Kim. Nicole has run the State of DevOps survey for years and has been keeping detailed statistics of the industry for years. Jez Humble is a guru of Continuous Delivery and literally wrote the book on it. Gene Kim is the author of The Phoenix Project and the last two are co-authors of The DevOps Handbook. DORA provides an assessment of your company and help you answer those questions.

If you have a pretty good idea where you need to go and need someone to help you get there, getting a recruitment agency is probably not a good idea at this point. I would suggest to go to DevOps Enterprise DOES Conference or local DevOpsDays Conference and talk to people in the hallways. Look for recommendations and maybe even open a booth, make a poster about hiring.

Second option would be to come here and start asking those questions in this forum and look for the experts that answer them and get up-voted. Many of those might be actually looking for a job or a challenge. Sometimes even asking questions about your current situation and use case here could point you to the right course of action.

2

I look for a number of things in the people I have hired into this space.

  • a minimum of 'ha' level of agile (google shu, ha, ri for agile adoption if you need more)
  • technical hands-on experience - coding, automation, etc, but I'm tool and language agnostic
  • learning personality - they take the initiative to constantly learn
  • inquisitive and not looking to place blame - they can accept failure as a learning lesson
  • they are a team player who can trust and be trusted since psychological safety is the number one success factor for high performing teams
  • they can coach and mentor - they share their knowledge without being elitist - prima donnas have no place on high performing teams
  • they have "enough" social skills since they need to be team members and communicate well

I have yet to find a perfect candidate, so it's always some type of trade-off. In today's world, I looked through 65+ resumes that were "pre-qualified" as candidates by agencies and HR, discarded 50 or more as not meeting my minimum requirements on paper, interviewed 15+, and hired 3. This process took me the better part of 9 months.

  • And to complement, what I feel missing in your post is a description of what you feel was missing, saying there was some lacks without guidance on how to present things to cover these lacks doesn't help to get a better situation – Tensibai Mar 23 '17 at 22:52
  • If people do not submit a resume tuned to the job posting minimum requirements then they don't meet my minimum requirement to progress further in the process. If a person really wants to be considered for a position then they need to show it with some effort on their part. As a hiring manager it is my point of view that counts because I know what I'm looking for. – icewav Mar 23 '17 at 23:11
  • Sounds like a good advice to add 'posting a resume tuned to the job'. That's easier to check than guessing your requirement on the paper. if your requirements are the bullet points above then maybe ´my requirements above on the paper' could be a better wording – Tensibai Mar 24 '17 at 6:56
  • Unfortunately the bulleted list above is what I need to discern from the interview. My minimum requirements and my preferred requirements are clearly spelled out in the job postings I make, and they change based on what skills I need to round out a team. The applicant usually gets an interview if they meet the minimum requirements and almost always if they meet the minimum requirements plus some of the preferred requirements. While this may seem vague, I am quite specific in each job posting I make as to what I'm looking for in a successful candidate. – icewav Mar 25 '17 at 1:10
  • There is a percentage of candidates that falsely claim what's on their resume that simple fact checking uncovers. These applicants never get an interview with me. Example: claim you have a Scrum Alliance certification, since I have a few of their certifications, I can log in and check yours. – icewav Mar 25 '17 at 1:15
1

Aside other questions I believe the following answer is yet missing - I want to summarize what I have learned so far in a mostly humble tone:

Introducing DevOps skills to your team is probably not enough (that is to consider that you cannot hire a DevOps)! (Like asking on a lower level what are best tools to make things work, here you seem to want your organization work).

The real question is: what is your oganizations digital transformation strategy and how much good DevOps will help you to create more customer value and reduce your costs, still having a good climate?

DevOps reveals the need for change, and change requires taking responsibility.

Imagine a situation were working DevOps might introduce pressure on other teams. DevOps is sometimes a result of evolution from Agile and Continous Integration - what are your assets here?

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