The DevOps Department in Sii has been up and running for a few months as part of IT Operations Competency Center. Tomasz Zając is responsible for building and mentoring the DevOps team. In this interview, he tells us what DevOps is, about DevOps projects and how everyone can become a member of the DevOps team.
Klaudia Kwater, Marketing Specialist at Sii: Tomek, what is DevOps?:
Tomasz Zając, DevOps Architect: Today DevOps is a combination of experience and cultural values that has evolved over recent years. It means the consistent improvement of software development cycles, its quality and safety, and the ability to swiftly make use of information connected with the product. Our experience connects programmers with administrators, thus creating smooth cooperation, thanks to which we can benefit from the efficiency of the IT team. This is a broad understanding of the development methodology as Agile and maintaining methods based on the ITIL standards – by connecting them with the creation of the software and the management of infrastructure. Thanks to the development of cloud technologies and tools describing all aspects of the programming creation and life-cycle, DevOps allows to build self-testing and self-scaling applications.
K.K.: So is it true to say that DevOps approach adresses the needs of both clients who expect efficient software development and workers, who wish to work effectively with the help of new technologies?
T.Z.: Yes. Such an attitude benefits both sides. The DevOps approach results in the more efficient provision of IT projects, a reduction in the time required to implement changes and the quicker launch of a new product onto the market, which provides firms with a competitive edge. The major benefits for IT specialists are that it enables a working environment to be built, in which all fields of activity are automated, including those which formerly required time-consuming manual operations.
K.K.: These are new fields in the world of programming. How then did you start work in this area? What made you become a DevOps Architect?
T.Z.: I’ve always been involved in operating systems, mainly Linux and *BSD. I’ve been observing the growth of such systems for a long time, including the growth in progamming, languages, infrastructure, and ways to develop cooperation between different IT specialists. When ‘Docker’ container technology appeared, I began to take an interest in the whole ‘ecosystem’ connected with the development of this technology. New solutions, such as Openstack, began to appear, which allowed bespoke cloud solutions to be built. All of these systems and tools enabled the infrastructure described in the code to be built. Following a long evolution, today, as a DevOps Architect, I can prepare and design an environment and describe it all as a code. This creates new possibilities for the swift construction of data centres and programming environments with their own clouds, or else with any supplier.
K.K.: Can anyone become DevOps? Is it true that ‘soft’ skills in this branch are of equal importance as technical experience and technical skills?
T.Z.: DevOps is for everyone who wants to develop themselves beyond their previous fields of experience, who has a vision of themselves in the rapidly changing digital world. We are searching for those who consistently try to improve themselves and learn new skills. Usually, such a person will have experience in programming or administration, and are open and responsible. Those working in the DevOps area take full responsibility for a product from A to Z – no longer is there any distinction between creating and maintaining a software – we work on the principle that “you developed it, so maintain it.” This creates myriad opportunities for developing not only technical skills, but also character.
K.K.: What do you like best in this work?
T.Z.: That no one day is ever the same – the pace of change and the building of new tools means constant learning, creating the possibility of new and different solutions for the same old problems. I’d also like to add, as someone coming from the administrative side, that it got me into the programmers’ world. Today, their problems have become my problems.
K.K.: You haven’t been working in Sii for very long. Could you tell us what is so exceptional about the Sii team, that made you want to work here?
T.Z.: Sii is a partner of Microsoft, Amazon and RedHat, and thanks to this, as a team, we have the opportunity to test the cloud platforms, systems and tools of these firms. Great emphasis is placed on worker development, we are given certified trainings with AWS, Google Cloud and take part in conferences. As part of a team, we share our knowledge and experience. Most importantly, we are one team and workers are hired permanently, not only for the purposes of the single project. Personally, I’ve worked for Sii for couple of months, and I’m fully convinced that, despite the size of the organisation, we have real influence on the development of our careers. By working with new clients our team has the chance to become familiar with a range of technology, which means that work never becomes routine. Pay is competitive according to market rates – we believe that good work deserves its appropriate reward – and that’s exactly how things are for specialists in the DevOps Department in Sii.
K.K.: You’ve mentioned that you have access to the latest tools and technology. What technology do you use in your daily work?
T.Z.: At the moment, we are completing a project based on the technology of Kubernetes, Docker and Kafka. The target production environment will be scalable, in two data centres. The design is what is known as ‘High-availability Kubernetes Clusters’ for applications written in Java. The correct use of the HA mechanism, the choice of load balancing methods and network layers present us with a massive challenge. The solution is built in Openstack based cloud.
K.K.: You are completing various projects for clients. Could you be more exact about their requirements?
T.Z.: Our clients have different needs. They come to us with questions and problems they have already prepared, but it also happens, that their projects are at such an early stage of development, that we have the chance to start everything practically from scratch. We work for international clients in the banking, engineering and media sectors.
K.K.: Are you looking for specialists for your team at the moment?
T.Z.: Yes, our department is always expanding and we’re looking for new people. Communication skills, openness to new ideas and a desire to improve are what we are looking for in candidates. We’re looking for people with experience in technologies such as Docker, Kubernetes and Jenkins. People who are capable of building a CI/CD pipelines, are familiar with Linux systems and can program in scripts languages are the ideal candidates for work in our team.
K.K.: Tomek, thank you for the chat and sharing what you know about the DevOps approach.
Are You interested in working for the DevOps department? Look for job offers in Sii:
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Article written by: Klaudia Kwater