How DevOps Specialist Falls victim to Automation

Original author: automatedoutofmyjob
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Note perev. : Noteworthy was the most popular subreddit publication / r / DevOps for the last month: "Automation has officially replaced me at work - a trap for DevOps." Its author (from the USA) told his story, which brought to life the popular saying that automation will kill the need for those who support software systems.

Explanation on the Urban Dictionary to the phrase that has already become stable (?!) about replacing a person with a script

So, here is the publication itself:

In the environment of DevOps departments you can often hear such a joke: "If we automate everything, we will remain without work."

However, this is exactly what happened to me and about a hundred other DevOps engineers. I can’t go into details because of the non-disclosure agreement: I’m sure that sooner or later the information will come up, but I don’t want to be the one who will voice it.

I will try to give a general idea of ​​how exactly everything happened.

About five years ago, I worked as a manager in the DevOps department of a medium-sized technology company, receiving an excellent salary at that time (190 thousand USD), compensating for our incredible amount of forced processing.

As usual, a LinkedIn recruiter contacted me. He represented the largest multinational conglomerate, completely not interested in me as a potential job. The recruiter wrote that the company is actively expanding its teams of software engineers, developers and DevOps in anticipation of several major projects, and noted that they would like to invite me for an interview.

I refused and said that I was not interested. He asked how much I earn, and emphasized that the conglomerate would certainly offer much more. This spurred my curiosity - because I thought I already had a great salary.

In short, I flew to the interview, got a Senior Lead position with a salary of 275 thousand USD plus options for stocks and bonuses, as well as the ability to work remotely (i.e. I did not have to move), although the idea was to work for a huge corporation I didn’t like it. However, the offer was too good to be rejected (they promised me much more than Amazon earlier that year).

The company had a DevOps department, but it consisted mainly of senior system administrators who could write enough in Python / Bash / PowerShell to make it dangerous. Therefore, they needed a team of real DevOps engineers with programming experience in lower-level languages ​​to work on complex projects.

Over the next three years, our department grew. I must say that the management did everything right. We were almost never refused what we asked, and more than 90% of the planned projects we completed on time and met the budget, which is really amazing.

However, about a year and a half ago, it became apparent that we automated literally * everything *. Of course, regular maintenance and inspections were still carried out, however, for the last year and a half, I actually worked only 1-2 hours a day, since there was practically nothing to do. I was not going to quit such a high-paying job, but I was afraid that Day X would eventually come, and so he came yesterday.

In fact, it was announced that most of the DevOps teams were disbanded (there were 75 people left who were engaged in specific applications), because the IT and Software Engineering teams could handle all the code, and for the guys from DevOps there was simply no more work.

I was offered a position in the IT team, but the salary there was almost half that. I could continue to work remotely, but they wanted me to eventually move to the city where the office is located, and more likely to appear in it.

It’s a pity that it happened because I liked working there. The company took good care of us (apart from the dismissal, of course), and there are not so many places for DevOps with a salary above 200 thousand USD and a standard 8-hour working day, with almost no processing.

Fortunately, I wisely managed my money and managed to fully repay 4 mortgages over the past 5 years. Now I have a small additional income, expenses are limited, so I can afford to slowly look for a new place.

Additions (from the translator)

The author himself comments on his headline this way: “I apologize if clickbait turned out: I was just trying to add a bit of humor to the headline, not going to turn my story into clickbait or DevOps horror.”

And not all commentators agreed with the mentioned “trap”, “pitfall” in the context of DevOps : “Why a trap? You got a good salary (even bigger than described as “excellent” earlier), got rid of extra hours of work, did an excellent job and got a great resume entry. ”

A couple of additions from the author's other comments about this story:

  • About the salary. Important factors are regional and professional. The author, being a software engineer with 25 years of experience, held the position of manager of the DevOps team. At the same time, his experience is not limited to knowledge of the modern infrastructure, but extends to programming languages ​​such as C ++, Fortran and Cobol, which was critical for interacting with developers in the organization.
  • For those who also thought that 75 DevOps-engineers is a lot. This company " employs more than 50 thousand people and literally thousands of applications function."


If you have not read a recent interview with our technical director, Dmitry Stolyarov ( distol ), for the DevOpsConf conference and the DevOps Deflope podcast , then a similar question was raised. And here is the look that was voiced:

- And what then [in the case of greatly simplifying the use of K8s] will happen to engineers, system administrators who support Kubernetes?

Dmitry: And what happened to the accountant after the appearance of 1C? About the same. Before that, they thought on a piece of paper - now in the program. Labor productivity has increased by orders of magnitude, and labor itself has not disappeared from this. Previously, 10 engineers needed to screw in the bulb, but now one will be enough.

The number of software and the number of tasks, it seems to me, is now growing at a speed greater than new DevOps and the efficiency is increasing. There is a specific shortage on the market and it will last a long time. Later, everything will go into a certain norm, at which the work efficiency will increase, it will become more serverless, they will attach a neuron to Kubernetes, which will select all the resources right as it should ... and in general, do everything yourself as it should - man, get away and do not bother.

But anyway, someone will have to make decisions. It is clear that the level of qualification and specialization of this person is higher. Now in the accounting department you do not need 10 employees who keep books so that their hand does not get tired. It is just not necessary. Many documents are automatically scanned and recognized by the electronic document management system. One clever chief accountant is enough, already with much larger skills, with a good understanding.

In general, this is the way in all sectors. It is the same with cars: earlier, a car mechanic and three drivers were attached to the car. Now driving a car is the simplest process in which we all participate every day. No one thinks that a car is something complicated.

DevOps or systems engineering will not go anywhere - high-level and operational efficiency will increase.


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