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Day in the life of a DevOps Engineer

Nomadic Infinity ~ Devops

I have been working as a DevOps Engineer with Cactus Communications for slightly more than 2.5 years.

In this timespan, no two days have been the same. DevOps is a good career choice for Software engineers who thrive on variety and creativity and are easily bored of monotonous and repetitive tasks.

The common factors include reducing toil, automating tasks, and enabling developers to deploy and release changes quickly thereby encouraging shorter/quicker delivery cycles.

A typical day at work looks like this:-

First few hours

0. Start1. Platform Engineering Standup (Teams)2. Work-logging previous day tasks (Jira) to understand the amount of time spent and on which tasks.

Warming up the human instance

3. Daily Operations Standup in which members of the DevOps team share their updates about progress, challenges, and how their current day looks like.4. Checking and tending to Emails (Outlook) based on priority5. Starting to tick off the items in my to-do list (Todoist) (starting from the easiest tasks first)6. Unblocking people as and when needed via 1–1 (Slack) calls/Huddles/Teams Meetings

Container (Human and Machine) Maintenance

7. Lunch, break time8. Deployment support tasks/Architecture Discussion/Deployment Launch plan reviews, updating relevant Documentation (Confluence)9. Buffer time for any ad-hoc tasks, incidents, or things which do not go according to the plan (Revert/Rollbacks/mitigation strategies, etc.).

End on a high

10. Work on topics like Audits/Cost Saving/Performance issues/Logging & Monitoring/CI-CD/Infrastructure as Code/BCP/Research (AWS (Amazon Web Services), CDK (Cloud Development Kit), Terraform, Github, Stack Overflow, Jenkins, SonarQube, Grafana, Graylog, NewRelic, Datadog, Redash, Sentry)11. End/Rinse, Improve & Repeat

DevOps is indeed a never-ending culture of continuously and constantly improving the processes, tools, and techniques to increase quality in the software development cycle.

`Uneventful` days are beautiful days, this is a catchy campaign phrase used by PagerDuty (Monitoring & Alerting tool).

However, every day is filled with challenges and incidents, like

Random alerts firing off, Synthetic Monitors failing, CloudWatch Alarms breaching, Slack channels being bombarded with error messages from bots, Expiring SSL Certificates, AWS Inspector finding out suspicious attempts, Budgets exceeding thresholds, Unplanned outages in managed third-party services. Don’t even get me started on patching 0-day vulnerabilities, looking at you: Dirty-Pipe, PwnKit, and a few others.

There are literally so many events, that sometimes one might feel overwhelmed with the pace at which they’re required to consume information and react (correctly/accordingly) in a split second as the margin for error is small.

Rough waves make seasoned sailors, extending this analogy, eventful days like these enrich your experience and skills as a DevOps Practitioner.

Software developers may often perceive DevOps engineers as a demigod/one-man-army because they have seen a number of incidents where we have sprung into action and successfully mitigated production issues in a jiffy. The amount of patience, empathy, and curiosity needed to excel in a field like DevOps is extreme.

Software Engineers can be visualized as T-shaped Engineers. Specializing in their primary area of expertise. The shift in belief to transform from a software engineering to DevOps is to break the T-shape mold and strive to become a Comb Shaped individual, gaining exposure across different skill-sets.

comb-shaped skills
Comb shaped skill-set

To simplify, DevOps is a vast sea of information and concepts, which require vast domain knowledge of disjoint/distinct topics that are relevant to the Software Development Life Cycle, and people practicing DevOps as a profession are expected to be a specialist in all these topics as compared to a Software Developer, Architect, DBA, or a Quality Assurance Engineer.

I hope the above story has not scared you about DevOps and that it has debunked some of the myths/common misunderstandings that people have about this field. I wish that everyone who reads this would be encouraged and empowered to make the shift from Software Engineering and embrace these DevOps practices in their daily activities.

If the above activities capture your interest and fill you with excitement such that you can visualize yourself walking this talk, do connect with me, I hope someday we can work together and add more adventures to this mystical realm of devops engineering.

We at Cactus Communications are hiring rockstar DevOps engineers (and across many other engineering roles). Do check out our jobs page https://jobs.cactusglobal.com/ or you can apply directly via our LinkedIn page.

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Welcome to the Cactus Tech community! We’re shaping the future of scholarly and medical communications with innovative solutions and cutting-edge technology. Like what we do? You can join us too! https://tech.cactusglobal.io/

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Omkar Kadam

Omkar Kadam

I’m a DevOps Engineer by profession, who likes to solve complex engineering problems with unconventional/out-of-the-box/ Innovative solutions.

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