• Daiany Palacios

The scariest move in my career: “I do devops now”

Bob: (Developer from the neighbor team): Hey Daiany! I see you are closer to us now (he and his team sit across the hall next to my new desk)…

Me: (With a normal-natural smile) Yes, I sit next to M. now (a.k.a. “the devops guy”)…

Bob: (With a surprised face) Yes I can see that, but, are you in the devops team now? Really?

Me: (With a smile turning from proud to nervous) Well, yes, I am in that team now..

Bob: (smiling, incredulous) Nahh, come on you gotta be kidding me…

Me: (now definitely with a nervous smile) Yes, look, my stuff is there, I sit next to M. now…

Bob: (With eyes wide open and a slightly higher volume in his voice) You do devops now as well? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!

Me: (Confused by his reaction) No I am not. I am in that team now as well…

Bob: (Turns to Tim, another colleague from the “devops” team sitting diagonally to me) Hahaha hey Tim! It seems you guys finally got someone who knows stuff here uh?! …. (laughs and goes away for lunch)

Me: Confused, I go back to my desk, wondering what the hell that was…

Tim: Do you work with Linux?

Me: Nope.

Tim: Haha, of course you don’t ! I just wanted to make some jokes! (and turned back his eyes to the screen in front of him)


First day at the new school


That’s pretty much how I felt that day, as the new one in the class. That story happened when I moved to the area where my new team is sitting. It hit me, probably ways more than it was supposed to, but I think it was because I had a wild mix of emotions on those days. I had just jumped in the cold water. I had just left a team where I felt like in a family, and we performed amazingly well together, to change to a very different setup, in a field of work where I literally never did anything before. Technically, I had voluntary run away from my comfort zone: I decided to change to the team in charge of the infrastructure automation, a kind of service provider for all other development teams in my department, a.k.a “the devops team”.


Me & DevOps


I started getting my nose in this “devops” thing in 2016 after my previous team managed to implement a delivery pipeline and be the first ones in our department to start doing continuous deployments. I joined the team when the work in that pipeline was going on in paralell to the business requirements and experienced first hand all changes needed to establish such a process, especially the cultural ones. The “devops" mindset, where we as a development team had the possibility and responsibility now of taking care of our deployments and operative aspects of the software we were creating, was a fascinating thing for me. So I started going to conferences and discovering a big and amazing devops community, where I even started telling our own stories.


And all of that happened while I was working as a system analyst at my previous team, a development team. I wasn’t coding myself but taking care of the requirements, acceptance tests, design, etc, in close collaboration with the developers and our Product Owner. So I never really took a closer look at all the magic behind the scenes that enabled us as a dev team, to overtake all these responsibilities and change our mindsets toward software operation. That was some interesting stuff that our local "Infrastructure Automation Team” was doing for us (as well for all other dev teams in the department).

That “magic” always seemed interesting to me but I never had (or found) time to learn what exactly it was. I was busy with my stuff as an analyst in my team.

Until it was time for a change.


Rescuing my technical skills


Early this year I took the decision to go back to software development. It was a very good opportunity in a new project with my previous team and I was very inspired and excited about it.

Unfortunately, that project was stopped shortly before we started with the development. It was a dramatic death of the initiative, a real pitty. And that moment coincided with a bunch of other changes in the department that ended up with a big restructuring, where some new topics arrived while others (like mine) where stopped, new teams appeared and old ones were modified.

I had the feeling that it was time for me for a bigger change, somehow. Partly due to the disappointment I had because of the cancelled project, partly due to a gut feeling that told me I should dare and go on a totally different path.

And there it was, the opportunity just waiting for me to dare and take it.




The cloud calls


It turned out that the so-called “devops” team in my department is planning a migration of the runtime architecture of all our applications from VM-based to Container-based on the cloud with OpenShift. And the management was looking for at least one more person to participate in the process. So I followed my gut feeling and asked my manager if I could join them. Even though I wasn’t really sure of what I was getting into.


An Alien on the infrastructure-team’s earth


That’s exactly how I feel now. Management somehow trusted me on being able to get myself to the appropriate technical level where I can truly help the team. Not only on the OpenShift migration, but on all other regular topics taken care of by the team. Well I guess at least I deserve some credit on having been able to convince them that I would be a good choice for the team.


Everyone in the department was surprised for this move, just like Bob, from the story from beginning. At first I was rather proud of being the one swimming against the current, and felt brave and unstoppable. Until that story from the beginning happened.


I ended up in tears on the bathroom telling to the stupid crying girl on the mirror that she needed to calm down. That she is strong and more than able to learn and adapt to new things. I was under an attack of Impostor Syndrom.


Leaving the comfort zone is scary, but I had already taken the step on my own. No one forced me into that, so I had to just face my fears and get my hands to work.



Challenge accepted


Well there is a loooot of stuff I need to learn now. But I am step by step developing a plan on how I will achieve all of that, while at the same time working on some team-building, getting to know my colleagues and how to get along with them, helping to establish a process that will support the team to achieve its goals till the end of the year. I am learning how to deal with the feeling of being an alien while actively doing my best to “get onboarded” and eventually start adding value to the team, just like a trainee.

I am confident that this experience will bring my professional career to a whole new level. It’s just a question of a couple of years. Every day I get more and more conviced that I took the right decision.


Now I am “oficially doing devops” :-P

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