Why you shouldn't hire a devops

Lately there have been a lot of organisations trying to hire a devops engineer.
I myselve have been asked to fill in devops roles ..

There's a number of issues with that.

The biggest problem is that I always have to ask what exactly the organisation is looking for.

So you want a devops engineer with experience in Linux, MongoDB, MySQL and Java , does that mean you want a Java developer who is familiar with MySQL and Linux and breaths a devops Culture.
Or a Linux expert who understands Java developers and knows how to tune Mongo and MySQL ?

It's absolutely unclear what you want when you are hiring "A devops engineer"

The second problem is that you are trying to hire people who are knowledgeable about devops,

Yet a lot of those people know that you can't do devops on your own , devops is not a jobtitle. devops is not a new devops team you create.

To some of them you are even making a fool out of yourselve, as to them you show that you don't understand devops

On top .. the ones that do apply for this fancy new devops role, are the ones that might not get the fact that the problem isn't about tooling but about people working together and helping eachother , so you end up hiring the wrong people.

Even in todays devops culture a system engineer is still a system engineer, and a developer is still a developer.
You might have developers supporting the build tool chain, or system engineers focussing on infrastructure automation.

But as John said almost 3 years ago they are good at their job.

Devops is not a word you slap onto a tool, a team or a person and expect magic to happen

Let's face it .. devops is hard, you can't do this on your own .. you need to find the right people ..


Sheeri's picture

#1 Sheeri : A title isn't necessarily clear

A job title doesn't have to be very clear. Even "DBA" isn't very clear - do you just make sure the server settings are right or are you architecting schemas and queries, too? That's why there are job descriptions.

Mozilla has a 'webos' team (made up of devops folks), which helps the developers release their software and tunes the servers so that the software runs well. There is a long list of skills our webops have - apache and other web/app server configuration, DNS, understanding of how databases work, understand monitoring concepts (preferably familiar with Nagios and graphite), be able to debug runtime problems with Java, python and PHP, and have a good knowlege and good resources to find out about helper programs such as logstash.

Saying that you shouldn't hire a "devops" engineer because many people are doing it wrong is like saying you shouldn't use a database, because so many people are doing it wrong. In reality, what you want to say is "the word 'devops' is unclear, please clarify what you mean."

Otherwise, you look silly, as plenty of places have devops teams and hire devops folks and have no problems finding great people to do the specific work in the job description.

Bad job descriptions are nothing new in the industry.

Michael@programmer's picture

#2 Michael@programmer : DevOps

In my opinion, a person should have knowledge of different technologies and environments, but should be hired for his main qualification.
Otherwise, it's like trying to kill two birds with one stone. It's probable that neither job for which the DevOp was hired would get as well done as if a dedicated employee would do it.

alessandro's picture

#3 alessandro : Hey! I pay dearly for my

Hey! I pay dearly for my DevOps Certified Engineer (TM) title, you mean it's worth nothing (or more or less like my VCP?) now?

Kris Buytaert's picture

#4 Kris Buytaert : Wrong account

I`m sorry I still didn't receive your funds ?

I think you've wired them to the wrong person ..
Contact me to arrange the money transfer again .


Anonymous's picture

#5 Anonymous : Your funds have been transfered.

My mistake. That 6 mill USD is on it's way. The check is in the mail so to speak and thanks for the laugh!

Edmar's picture

#6 Edmar : It may be specific to

It may be specific to software-as-a-service, but I like Amazon's Werner Vogels perspective: "The traditional model is that you take your software to the wall that separates development and operations, and throw it over and then forget about it. Not at Amazon. You build it, you run it."


byron's picture

#7 byron : It is an interesting issue..

I took a stab at writing about silos on my blog - http://byronm.wordpress.com

The problem I believe stems from a mix of ideas that seem to have a common foundation. There really seems to be an abstract culture and abstract toolchain and abstract "ideal" candidate to fill an abstract role of "devops" and it is sort of disheartening.

I think it mostly stems from the fact that devops as a word simply is combining dev and operations and the reason a lot of people do this combining is because of the superhero aspect of a lot of people pushing it. There is even a response on my blog from someone who felt devops was a flattening of organizations because in a flat organization he could do it better.. (paraphrasing)

It's an interesting paradigm to be in.. maybe the "CAMS" movement needs a new name and the ol' devops can be a merged role of hybrid developers/ops people where organizations feel the need to define such a role.

llameadrpc's picture

#8 llameadrpc : What they mean by 'devops'

When they say 'devops' they usually mean:

We need a developer AND a Linux sysadmin AND a DBA, but only have budget for one person. This person must be willing to work 3 full-time jobs simultaneously. It is better if this person lacks distractions, such as family or friends.

Kris Buytaert's picture

#9 Kris Buytaert : superhero for free

It indeed often says we need a super hero but have no budget ...

Which is a sign of broken culture anyhow :)