Agile Cloud DevOps Engineer

Designs like a Cloud Architect, Ships like a Developer, Operates like a Site Reliability Engineer. My transformation in 2020, and what Agile/Embedded DevOps Engineer Model is all about

2020 is finally over and it has been a hell of ride for me and I guess for everybody around the globe. Although, it was not the best year in my life personally as I have suffered a great length of social isolation due to COVID and some unfortunate circumstances, I still manage to hold myself together, be productive and kept growing. I may not be at my happiest state, but I certainly didn’t made this an excuse to stop myself from working extra hard to pursue my goals and dreams, while keeping up with my professional duties. I feel more resilient and confident as a result of all of it. Besides all the negative, career wise this year also felt like the most accomplished year for me.

2020 Highlights

First, a short list of my major achievements:

  • A great deal of improvement my technical skills in PowerShell, Azure Cloud, Azure DevOps, Docker, Infrastructure as Code, Automation, Monitoring, CI/CD and Automation.
  • Opened my first personal blog/portfolio website.
  • My first open source contribution to Azure quickstart repository.
  • My submission won the Azure Festive Tech Calendar Automation Deployment Hackathon

So What is Agile/Embedded DevOps Engineer

First of all, the exact terminology that we actually use in my company is “Embedded DevOps Engineer”, Agile is something I’ve come up with so it resonates with a larger audience. If you have never heard this concept, don’t worry I had not too until December 2019.

Making the best use of your DevOps Talent

Having a group of talented DevOps engineers in your company is great, but they are no good to anyone if they are isolated from the application development processes. If they are kept aside in yet another silo labeled as “DevOps”. Instead having them embedded in the software development teams, would make their knowledge, skills and their unique perspective available to the software project, from day one.
Increasing the engagement also allows for software and QA engineers to learn DevOps concepts. Likewise, as a DevOps engineer I feel like I have learnt a lot in terms of software development too.

What about company wide DevOps Challenges

This is where DevOps practice comes into play. Having embedded DevOps engineers are great, but this fills their day with development and operations tasks for their assigned product(s).

Key Requirements of the Agile/Embedded DevOps Model

Below are my key highlights of the necessary practices that needs be in place for a DevOps practice that works in this fashion:

  • Security starts from code; with strong collaboration between security, software and DevOps engineers, source code, infrastructure and our application architecture is secured and hardened according to industry best practice starting from the development phase.
  • Proactive and pre-planned work; this model allows for better allocation of DevOps engineer’s time in terms of task planning. They are clear of their responsibilities and priorities. This allows for better planning for their managers and themselves. This is a much better allocation compared to reactive and random project assignments that leaves DevOps engineers overwhelmed and alienated.
  • Collaboration and transparency is encouraged across the company. Inside the company, information is free to flow, so everyone can learn. Repositories, Wikis, document sites are there for us to work better and find solutions faster.
  • Sharing meetings, demos and similar workshops are regularly held.
  • On-demand training resources are easily available and bootcamp type more structured training is offered on a regular schedule.
  • Using Infrastructure as Code and end to end Automated Continuous Delivery.

Design Like an Architect — Your Personal Cloud SME

One my of duties is, acting as an immediately reachable Cloud SME(Subject Matter Expert), to my team and managers. Being a cloud enthusiast, this is one of the areas I excel at, and I have great pleasure when I have to work with this nature of a task or a story.

Ship Like a Developer — Scrum for Ops

One of the main differences in this working style is that, my work is also planned in 2 week scrum sprints. This forced me into breaking down my stories and tasks, have a plan and a list of deliverables, acceptance criteria in a well documented manner that works for us. Effort estimations were difficult at first but, the more you do it the easier it gets.

Operate Like a SRE (Site Reliability Engineer) — Modern SysAdmin in NoOps Era

Coding and releasing infrastructure is great and fun, but the story doesn’t usually ends there. A developer too can most likely put together some infrastructure as code or automation to bring up infrastructure for their projects, but performing as a SRE requires a unique set of skills and mindset which cannot be overlooked.

Conclusion

Overall, I can say that this year was another year of great deal of learning, accomplishment, recognition and action taking. I’m very proud of myself to go through this transformation and came out fine on the other side. I may be wronged in the future but I believe, our limits are defined by the mental ceilings we put for ourselves. I always actively try to set a higher ceiling and standards for myself. The only way to reach those ceilings is believing in myself that I will get there and put in the effort necessary, no excuses and by all means. I admit that I’m my own biggest fan and I suggest you should be yours too. If you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect others to do so.

Cloud DevOps Engineer & Microsoft Certified Azure Administrator

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