People want to focus on their core competencies, so when you ask a developer to overlap into ops (DevOps), or for an ops person to go the other way, & shift left—sometimes it doesn’t work. It could be a lack of interest, or skill, and sometimes the other roles are even looked down upon. How many times have you heard someone say, it’s “Not my job!” or “that’s above my pay grade?” Even if it is or isn’t, a top performer will recommend solutions, and find ways to improve everything they touch.
There are very talented people out there that ebb and flow into many facets of IT (Dev, UX, Sec, QA, Ops) engineering. Not only that, they are also extremely good communicators and work well with other people. These talented individuals are rare and therefore definitely worth compensating a lot more than their counterparts.
Even within roles, you will find vast differences. Consider the ops person who only is reactive in situations. They are the type of engineer whose level of learning and automation stopped at typing “reset server” with their left hand. They don’t want to learn anything new. They feel like they need job security by taking a long time at everything they do. They manually type the same things over and over and over. They just reset the server, but don’t look for root cause. They don’t look for ways to improve their workflow or the infrastructure they work on. They are just there to “keep the wheels on.” They are still a good employee, they just have different interests and perceptions. They are likely paid less, but if they do what the business requires, GREAT!
Now consider another ops person who has an insatiable appetite for learning and automating everywhere they see an opportunity. They shift left into DevOps. They are always working on improving all aspects of their life both personally and professionally. They are skilled communicators and negotiators that collaborate to create something awesome. They are visionaries who can find, fix, and prevent problems long before a customer notices. They are effective and efficient. They get to the root cause quickly. They create effective monitoring and alerting to increase performance (and therefore customer satisfaction). They work effectively with developers to create great apps and infrastructure. They know that security comes first, rather than as an afterthought. They work well with developers and QA’s to know what they are needing, and provide solutions quickly. They lift themselves, others, and the company they work for. People look up to them and want to be around them. They are great leaders, even without a special title.
There is a huge difference between these two types of ops people. There are also various levels in between these two examples as well. It’s not that one is necessarily better or worse, but—I know which one I would want in my business.
If you want to hire me, and you can find me, maybe you can hire
the A-Team me.