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Helping Your Company Solve the DevOps Puzzle is Not about Finding “DevOps Engineers”

Recruiters and hiring managers in high-tech know that becoming familiar with technologies, moving beyond buzzwords and understanding what people actually do greatly enhances their creativity and resourcefulness when seeking tech talent. These abilities make them more valuable to their organizations and give them more credibility when working with technology professionals. Ultimately, this deeper understanding makes recruiters more successful. In fact, I believe when recruiters develop a thorough understanding of key technologies, it can benefit our industry as a whole.

This is especially evident with “DevOps.” DevOps is not a job function, a skill or even a technology. There’s no such thing as a “DevOps engineer.”

Calling somebody that, or looking to find somebody to fill that role, reflects a fundamental confusion about DevOps. This confusion is causing project and program frustrations and failures that are hurting businesses, sidetracking careers and creating backlash for hiring managers.

DevOps is a collaborative mindset that an entire “software-making” organization — coders, operations staff, QA — follows. Ideally it’s supported by a technology framework and related processes; these are also part of DevOps.

DevOps is about changing the way an organization functions. It’s a new and improved way of working together that views the “software-making” infrastructure as code or product. You can't hire one "DevOps" engineer when everybody involved in making software needs to be a “DevOps engineer” on some level.

DevOps looks differently in every organization. It’s best viewed as a puzzle. The people a company hires, the roles they play and the technology and best practices they put in place to facilitate collaboration, automation, agility and analytics are the pieces of the puzzle

Our industry organizations have been under pressure to “get DevOps,” and they’re hiring “DevOps people” with “DevOps skills” and implementing “DevOps technology.” But, they’re not actually changing their approach or their culture. They’re not putting the puzzle pieces together to create the picture that is DevOps.

My advice for technology recruiters is that when a client calls and says, “We need a DevOps person,” be truly prepared to help them. Reframe their request as, “You need to find people who have worked in successful DevOps environments and can help others in your organization succeed in making the shift to DevOps.”

Going one step further, I urge you to take a few minutes to read a couple of blog posts on this topic: 

No, You Are Not a DevOps Engineer

DevOps in Your Job Title is Doing You Harm

The Double-Edged Sword of DevOps in Your Job Title

As the DevOps buzz intensifies, it’s becoming more and more important that recruiters become part of the solution by understanding DevOps, appreciating DevOps roles and helping clients find talented people who are interested in working collaboratively and solving process problems, not just technology problems.

DevOps takes flexibility, perseverance, team spirit, strong communication skills and a sense of humor. It’s not something you install on a server or learn from a class. You’ll need to look beyond the buzzwords and deeper into prospects’ backgrounds to find the people who are ready for DevOps.

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