It’s All About the Culture: Advice from Two DevOps Institute Students

It's All About the Culture: Advice from Two DevOps Institute Students

It's All About the Culture: Advice from Two DevOps Institute Students

It’s difficult to condense the many hours of training that go into a DevOps Institute certification course into just a few paragraphs of description that appear on the website.

Often, the best picture of what a class is really like comes directly from past students. Having gone through the courses themselves, they are uniquely qualified to explain what they learned and how it was beneficial to their career. Many new students decide to take DevOps Institute courses because a friend or co-worker recommended that they do so. In fact, new students often say that previous students raved about the classes so much that their colleagues felt they had no choice but to check them out.

The stories that follow detail the experiences of two recent DevOps Institute students who are among those enthusiastically encouraging their colleagues to attend the training. They also shared their thoughts and advice for other IT professionals who might be considering DevOps training.

Case Study 1: Nikhil Gupta

Nikhil Gupta holds a bachelor’s degree in technology. Before taking the DevOps Foundation® course, he was working for Tata Consultancy Services as a build engineer on a project for Walgreens Boot Alliances. More specifically, he was in charge of maintaining the continuous integration pipeline for applications that his team was building.

Because his work was on optimizing build pipelines, Nikhil was already directly involved in DevOps activities before taking the DevOps Institute class, but he said that he didn’t really understand what DevOps was all about. “With DevOps being a buzz-word back then, I wanted to learn more about it,” he explained. “I started reading more about it on the internet and find about this and some other courses. What I liked most about this course was it is a lot [more] elaborate than other courses. The focus of the course was to teach DevOps ground up.”

Nikhil decided to take the DevOps Foundation class online through WebEx, one of the DevOps Institute’s Registered Education Partners (REPs). He attended the four, four-hour sessions in September 2016.

He was happy with both the course and the teacher. The instructor “was very patient with all the students,” Nikihil said. “He gave attention to each candidate and ensured active participation from everybody. The material was very good as well. Each topic was very detailed and with lots of practical exercises to ensure complete understanding.”

One of the biggest benefits he has seen from the class is a fuller understanding of the DevOps approach. “My earlier role was focused on automation aspect of DevOps, but the other aspects, i.e., culture, lean, measurement, and sharing, were not present,” he explained. “After the course, I developed multiple dashboards to measure KPIs, in-turn using them to reduce waste.”

Nikhil also shared his newfound knowledge with his teammates. “The one important thing I learned from this course is DevOps is primarily about people rather than process or technology,” he said. “I started communicating the same message in the team, and I can definitely say my team now is a DevOps team in the way we operate.”

Not only was Nikhil impressed with what he learned in the course, his co-workers were as well. Already seven of them have completed the same course, and others are planning to do so. Nikhil said he recommended the course to everyone, noting, “I saw the potential in the course to teach the true DevOps and I want others in my team to learn the same.”

Case Study 2: Amit C.

Amit C. can’t use his full name or the name of his company in this case study because of his employer’s public relations requirements. He is a senior software engineer with a bachelor’s degree in electronics, and he became interested in programming during college.

His position involves a lot of configuration management and deployment automation, and his employer sent him to the Jenkins World 2017 event sponsored by CloudBees. Amit noticed that the DevOps Institute was doing some training in conjunction with the event, and he was interested because he’d been hearing the word DevOps more frequently and didn’t really know what it was about. “We had done a lot of automation, but we never called it DevOps,” he explained.

Prior to the event, Amit took the DevOps Foundations course and received his certification. Then while in San Francisco for Jenkins World, he attended the DevOps Leader (DOL)℠ course, which took place over two days in eight-hour sessions each day.

Students from all over the world attended the course Amit took at Jenkins World. When asked for his impressions of the course, Amit said that the instructor “is a phenomenal lady. There is no question of the class being boring when she is giving the training.” He added that the course was well-structured and he really enjoyed it.

For him, “the value stream mapping was the best part because I didn’t do value stream mapping before that,” he said. He also said that he learned more about how to save time and reduce waste and that he gained valuable information about structuring a team.

But Amit has faced some challenges in implementing his new knowledge in his workplace. His employer has a huge workforce, and the IT department has “siloes within siloes,” which isn’t very conducive to collaboration.

He explained, “I am doing my part;” however the change is “very, very slow because everybody is not on the same page.”

He added, “Everybody thinks that they know [DevOps]. Everybody thinks that other people know it, but in reality, when they try to practice, nobody knows what’s going on.” For him, the DevOps Institute training was an “eye-opener.”

“Different levels of maturity within the organization is a big concern” for Amit, but he is working to overcome that obstacle by implementing what he has learned and then showcasing his work for other teams. When they see what his team is accomplishing, “They love it and now they all want to learn what we have done,” he said.

“It’s a people change and a culture change, so I hope, fingers crossed, that everybody understands that,” he said.

Key Recommendations:

These two students also offered several pieces of advice for other IT professionals interested in learning more about DevOps and implementing DevOps approaches:

  • Focus on the culture and people rather than technology.
  • Involve as much of your team as possible in the training.
  • Changing people takes time, but don’t get discouraged by the slow pace.
  • Start your DevOps transition by having discussions in your workplace.
  • Showcasing your efforts to embrace DevOps can interest others in doing the same.
  • Training can help “get everyone on the same page.”

Amit summed up their recommendations by saying, “Go through the training, any training, but DevOps Institute is one of the best.”

Cynthia Harvey

About the Author

Cynthia Harvey is a freelance writer and editor based in the Detroit area. She has been covering the technology industry for more than fifteen years.