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Our Jobs are Changing. Can We Keep Up?

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My talk from LISA 2013 in Washington DC

My talk from LISA 2013 in Washington DC

Published in Technology , Business
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  • 1. Our Jobs Are Changing Mandi Walls LISA 2013 November 6, 2013 Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 2. whoami • • Mandi Walls • • Sysadmin Technical Practice Manager at Opscode @lnxchk Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 3. Nope • What I’m not going to talk about: • • • Thursday, November 14, 13 Chef. It’s awesome. I talk about Chef all the time. DevOps. Some of this will start to sound a little DevvyOpsy though. Gender and diversity. It’s a thing, and other folks have the science.
  • 4. Yep • What I am going to talk about • • Thursday, November 14, 13 The future.Yours, mine, ours together. The world. It’s big and changing.
  • 5. Why I Care • • • Truth is, I work for a vendor I talk to our customers and community every day What I see in the industry worries me Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 6. Evolution of the Field Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 7. Legacies • • • Protect expensive, specially-purchased systems Run stuff Fix things Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 8. Monetary Investment • • Gear costs money: machines, networks, storage, electricity, cooling • Cost impacts attitude, behavior, creates a culture of “no” The higher those costs, the greater the risk of failure for new products, services, and features Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 9. The Generation of “No” • • • Sysadmins rewarded for protecting investments Hoarders of information BOFHs Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 10. Shoulders of Giants Progress in a field doesn’t happen when everyone has to start from scratch Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 11. Specialization • • • Over time, complexity bred specialties Networking, storage, datacenter operations, web operations, IT Federation of tasks can create positive outcomes and negative outcomes Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 12. Evolution of Practice • Three stages of the evolution of a field • • • • craft commercial engineering Mary Shaw at CMU “Prospects for an Engineering Discipline of Software” Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 13. Craft Stage • • • Talented amateurs Use of intuition, what “feels like it will work this time” Early tools built mostly for their own use Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 14. Commercial Stage • • • Market expansion, greater demand Standard procedures start to emerge Practitioners are more carefully selected and have some training Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 15. Engineering Stage • • • Practitioners begin to apply scientific principles Principles emerge Experimentation becomes more sophisticated Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 16. Where Are We? Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 17. Challenges to Moving Forward • Unskilled workers hold organizations back • Thursday, November 14, 13 Investing in training and professional development
  • 18. Bringing individuals up to speed is a tough job Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 19. In the meantime, the ground under our feet is changing We have to continue learning as well Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 20. Why Does it Even Matter? Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 21. Digital Economy • • • Increasing: more of day-to-day life is lived, or augmented, online Expanding reach: more non-technical people engaging with tech Globalization: developing economies without technical legacy Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 22. Reach of Technology • • In many countries, connectedness is near constant • Users expect all services to perform at a certain level The systems behind these services are increasingly complex and interconnected Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 23. Engagement of Non-Specialists • • • Barrier to entry lowered to engage more consumers They’re not “muggles”, they’re users, customers Change the way we engage with others Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 24. Globalizing • • Emerging economies leapfrog over legacy infrastructure requirements Individuals find new ways to use technology to better their lives Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 25. Ubiquity • • • Escaping technology takes work The growth of technology mean more opportunity for more people Unlikely uses for technology fuels improvements in quality of life Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 26. What Do We Enable? • • Projects like Nano Ganesh from Tata Indicom Indian farmers use mobile technology to water crops Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 27. What Do We Enable? • Companies like Cemex Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 28. What Do We Enable? • Changes to education, healthcare, safety Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 29. There is No Place for BOFHs in this New Technological World Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 30. How Do We Enable Ourselves? • • • Self awareness Organizational awareness Participation in the field Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 31. New Skills Borrowing practices from software engineering Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 32. Learn To Touch Type • • Dude. Seriously. Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 33. Version Control • PTSD from that one time you checked something in with RCS and forgot to leave a local copy • • Modern tools like git integrate with other systems, deployment tools • • Create a single workflow for everyone, including dev if you have it It’s important to have history - not just for code, but for your config files on your systems Pull early, push often Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 34. Learn To Code • • • Scariest slide in this talk • It’s a skill that you can learn, it’s not magic, and it can’t be limited to people who have “software engineer” in their job title Pick a language, learn it. bash counts. PowerShell is awesome. Increase efficiency, repeatability of your work - the maturation of tools brings the whole profession forward Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 35. Working in the Cloud • The cloud is our fault. Say “no” enough times, your organization will stop asking you for things • • The commoditization of the hardware layer will catch up with us • Use the cloud to learn new things you might need in your job Utility computing brings new challenges and shines light on the “what ifs” we’ve been talking to others about for years Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 36. Document Systems • • • Foster transparency and trust by documenting your processes If your team doesn’t have (or like) wikis, use something like sphinx Give everyone access, no hiding and hoarding Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 37. Testing and Code Review • • • A set of still emerging tools, like serverspec Builds trust in your processes when you know your change works If you have multiple people on a team, check each other’s work, formalize the process with a tool like garrett Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 38. Common Thread • • • Be proactive Say Yes If you can’t say Yes, ask questions before saying No Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 39. Where Do We Go • • Cost of systems Now mitigated by the cloud and other services Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 40. • • Cost of bad behaviors We can work on getting to Yes Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 41. • Cost of information hoarding and reinventing the wheel - the opportunity cost of repeating work • We can be open and share our knowledge Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 42. We can build amazing things, but not by ourselves Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 43. Our future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 44. Next Steps • • • Changing our first principles • Finding our value proposition when we aren’t the guardians of large expensive systems - we’re the facilitators of large amazing ideas Rejecting the pull of the BOFH Refocusing systems work on enabling the organization to do great things Thursday, November 14, 13
  • 45. Why? Because some day we are going to be running the O2 systems on starships Thursday, November 14, 13