How to Find the People and Build a Culture for DevOps

bumping silos

Working in a DevOps environment can be exciting and satisfying for everyone involved. At RightBrain Networks, we totally get this. Our engineers find that the shared sense of responsibility, collaborative environment and fail-fast mentality foster creativity. On the business side, DevOps helps us improve the quality of our customer’s software products and get to market faster. Unfortunately, for organizations that haven’t always been a DevOps shop, the transition can also be painful for everyone involved.

In the article Cloud, containers force IT hiring shift toward DevOps jobs on, Trevor Jones writes:

“One of the biggest challenges to shift to a DevOps job model is to find people with the skill sets and intellectual curiosity needed to have a hand in all layers of the stack. And with the growing adoption of public cloud and emerging trends, such as microservices and containers, it’s as much about the culture as it is about the technology.”

We understand this challenge. At RightBrain Networks we’re always on the look out for Windows and Linux Systems Engineers who have the skills and desire to work in a DevOps environment. (If you’re interested in applying, we’d love to hear from you!) Unfortunately, demand exceeds supply and it can be difficult to attract candidates who understand the entire application stack.

For large enterprise IT organizations, an even greater challenge lies in creating a DevOps culture. We’ve seen how a lack of trust between development and operations teams that have long functioned as silos can impede efforts to get the two groups collaborating. There can also be more than a fair share of finger pointing that makes it difficult to instill a sense of shared responsibility. In order to break down these walls, IT leaders must have executive support and be patient. It can take time to build a culture that is supportive, flexible and open to experimentation.

If you’re on the other side of the fence and are looking for a position in an IT organization that has adopted DevOps practices, then the last thing you want to do is land a new job in an environment that’s in turmoil. You also want to avoid accepting a position with DevOps in the title or a position within a discrete DevOps team. In either case you’ll find yourself working in yet another silo.

Despite these challenges, getting to DevOps is worth the effort. IT professionals who have the right skill sets and don’t want to deal with a messy cultural transition should look for positions in organizations that have operated as DevOps from day one. This will help ensure that you can enjoy the benefits of working in a DevOps environment from the get-go. If you work for one of those companies that’s struggling to make the transition to DevOps, then I encourage you to find some help. You can save a lot of time and effort working with a partner who can help you nurture the appropriate culture and help build the skills your people need in the new environment. Yes, it’s hard but it’s not impossible – and it can be a whole lot easier if you work with someone that’s already succeeding as a DevOps shop.