Is DevOps killing the <insert position of the day here>?

Posted by:

29 May 2014

We’ve already had fear-mongering about DevOps potentially killing off operations positions (thanks NoOps) and now it’s the turn of articles about DevOps killing off the developer. Terms like full stack developer are thrown around and other un-helpful terms that recruiters seem to love.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear. I don’t believe DevOps is about training people so that people can do each other’s jobs equally well. That doesn’t make sense. There always needs to be specialists. The cultural changes encouraged by the DevOps movement should result in people in Dev and Ops having an appreciation of what the other groups do and the kind of decisions they have to make and why.

All too often I have witnessed developers putting technology X into a product because it is new and hot and they want to use it, no matter what the consequences to QA, operations and so on.

Dev and Ops should work together. Sure, that might mean that someone from operations spends some time in code working with developers getting an understanding of what’s going on and why, especially when it affects infrastructure design. The same goes for developers, spending some time doing some basic administration and maintenance of systems that traditionally fall outside of the developer role is a good thing. That said, having spent most of my time on the development side of the house and working very closely with operations I believe that developers should be involved in the consequences of their decisions. In fact the best developers I have worked with have cared about this and were extremely happy to work with operations teams if given the chance.

Of course there has to be balance. If as a developer you are spending less time developing and more time playing with databases, infrastructure of whatever else you blame DevOps for I would guess there might be a couple of things going on:

1. The development team put something together than is hard to maintain once it is out of the hands of development and you are now being held accountable, or
2. You have a management problem.

Either way I would say it’s not something DevOps should take the blame for.

Perhaps this sounds like I am bashing developers! What I have said applies to Ops too. I’ve witnessed Ops being so resistant to change that developers feel like they are working with one or even both arms tied behind their backs due to constraints imposed on them.

So no, DevOps isn’t killing off the developer, it’s not killing off operations or anyone else. It should be helping you collaborate and work effectively which will ultimately let you spend more time doing what you do best.

Jonathan Thorpe

I am a technical marketing manager at CFEngine. I spend time engaging with the CFEngine community, writing demos and spreading the word about CFEngine. I'm a also a dedicated DevOps enthusiast.