I’ve been working on a bucket list item for 8 months now: “grow a year beard”.
What’s a year beard? That’s simple: a year beard (or yeard) is a beard that is allowed to grow, untrimmed, for a full year. Some might say I cheat, though, because I do keep my mustache trimmed. (more…)
Check out this great reading list for Software Developers. If you’re thinking of getting into this line of work, or you’re in it but want to bring up your game, this instant library should be helpful in building good work habits out of best practices.
“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin
Many of the best software developers have T-Shaped Skills: Deep expertise in programming and software development, and broad knowledge of diverse areas including testing, DevOps, UX design, team organization, customer interaction, and their domain areas. While there is unfortunately no substitute for experience, reading is probably the next best thing. Over the past 10 years I’ve read a lot in an effort to deepen and broaden my knowledge as a software developer. Along the way I’ve been organizing books and concepts into the reading list I share below. I have been trying to design a core curriculum for “modern” software development by asking myself:
What core concepts are required to be a world class software developer?
What is the best book for introducing and teaching each concept?
The result is a list of 16 essential software development concepts presented by 16 excellent books…
I’ve been working full time in IT for about 20 years now, and I’ve had computers at home for a little over 30 years. My personal interests and passions sometimes lead me to getting a bit carried away. There was one point in my life where I had over 300 computers in a 1,500 square foot house. Yes, really.
After the pain of moving several times, tearing down and rebuilding the home lab, it got to be too much. I tired of $1,000 electricity bills every month. I tired of the noise, the heat. And when I moved back from Pennsylvania to North Carolina about 10 years ago, I distributed 99% of my hardware to the winds and didn’t take it with me.
The industry has changed tremendously in the last 10 years, as IT is wont to do. The skills I use today bear superficial resemblance to those I had to bring to bear back then. And I’m learning so much of it on the job now. This has led me to a good bit of frustration, knowing I have to focus on delivering value to my employer even if that means I can’t dive as deeply into something new as I’d like, or take a little extra time to really deeply grok a new thing.
The homelab was always great for this. I dare say I had, for many years, a more impressive and resilient infrastructure in my house than I was ever allowed to create for any of my employers. It worked, it worked well, and there was a certain pride in good engineering work that went with it all. I kind of miss it. Even the heat and the whining fans. (more…)
In Part 1, we talked a bit about this DevOps thing and why people won’t stop talking about it. In Part 2, we’ll talk about the areas where you can change your IT focus today to help benefit from DevOps.
A classic mistake is to focus primarily on the tools associated with successful DevOps shops. It’s not as if you can bring up your own Deployinator and suddenly become as high-functioning an IT shop as Etsy. The tooling is important, but won’t succeed if used for its own sake. The most relevant tooling is used to support a culture that can consume it effectively.
If you’re like me, you may be suffering a bit of buzzwordfatigue, especially relating to how this word is used (or misused) within the IT community. But for those of us who have been a part of the community for awhile, it holds deeper meaning than the oft repeated platitude of “Software Developers and Sysadmins working together, riding unicorns over rainbows“. Okay, while I may have gotten slightly carried away, you get the point.
What is DevOps to the broader community that embraces it, and is helping even now to define it? What does that even mean for Red Hat’s IT efforts? We’re going to dive deeper into both questions in this installment.
A few short months ago, I was managing an operations team at another firm. There had been a sea change in executive leadership over the summer, and the DevOps transformation that I’d helped to kick off was quickly being unraveled by the sorts of executive shenanigans that can ensue when a C level departs and leaves an opening. I was open minded to a change in scenery and got the call of a lifetime from a Red Hat recruiter.
You see, I’ve been involved in the Linux community since around 1998. I helped grow the Triangle Linux Users Group in its early years, and served a term on the steering committee as Vice Chair. When the community was looking for an enterprise class Linux distribution without the cost of a subscription model, I joined the cAosity project (now gone) and helped deliver CentOS to the Linux community. Open Source was in my DNA, and living in the Raleigh area the success of Red Hat was always right there for me to admire. “Someday I’d like to work there,” I often thought to myself.
This DevOps thing has gotten a lot of traction with me. I’ve been a volunteer co-organizer at Triangle DevOps, and have even given a few public talks on the subject, too.
So you might think that evoking the word “politics” might mean there’s going to be a rant coming. There will be nothing of the sort. Politics is not necessarily a belligerent act in the corporate world, though it’s often perceived that way. And while sometimes there are people who engage in a bit of belligerent politics to improve their own situation instead of the organization that they serve, those guys are pretty easy to spot and are usually well known as assholes anyway.
We’re not here to talk about the assholes today. We’re here to talk about good, competent people who struggle with consensus sometimes for very understandable reasons. (more…)
We were planning on having Gene Kim come out tonight to give a talk to a packed room in Durham. Unfortunately, Gene has fallen ill and we’re off to “Plan B”. I’m putting together some slides now to deliver a DevOps 101 talk. Mark Mzyk, Nathan Walls, and myself will each be delivering a talk.
I’d been neglecting this blog for a good while because it seemed to mostly be a source of comment spam, which was a drain on my time to police.
Recently, I had someone from a big recognizable powerhouse of an Open Source company approach me about an important position they were trying to fill. Apparently they had seen my blog here, and it had something to do with their interest in me. And here I only thought a small number of illumos and Tor users had been following.
There are some big changes coming in the world around me soon, and I expect I’ll be better able to write about technology and the tools I’m working with again. Stay tuned.