Providing the Dev in DevOps
Ever since I was in my early teens, I’ve been fascinated by software. Whenever I was on our home computer growing up, I was always questioning how things worked as I used them:
- What was actually happening when I logged into a website?
- How did maps get loaded into the videogames I played?
- Could I somehow coax my mother into getting me a better video card for those games?
This all led to a fairly early start into my career as a developer, tinkering away on PHP web applications late into the night after high school. By the time I started my university education, I was already very well-versed in fairly abstract topics, such as Object-Oriented programming and API development.
This drive to learn, coupled with my freshly printed Bachelor of Science degree, allowed me to quickly find a job in software development, where I quickly and happily climbed to a senior developer position in a few short years.
DevOps: First Encounters
While working as a developer at a standard-issue 9-5 job, you typically have the luxury of being able to focus on one discipline and make that your true focus until you get bored. It turns out, I got bored a lot (and there were dynamic business priorities that pressured me to adapt). These are the titles that I held in my development career before Arctiq:
- Data Feed Analyst
- iOS Developer
- Backend Developer
- Android Developer
- Data Engineer
These disciplines are all different things, of course, but there is one main pattern that all of these disciplines have in common:
- You write your code.
- You test your code.
- You deploy your code.
Step one was variable across all these job titles – I’d be realizing a solution in PHP, Objective-C, Swift, Java, Kotlin, or Python, which all have their different patterns, APIs, and tooling. However, steps 2 and 3 – Continuous Improvement and Continuous Delivery – had fairly similar underlying approaches, with some of the finer details influenced by step 1. So while I was juggling multiple software development paradigms and languages, I was often the one to setup the CI/CD pipelines for these projects.
Getting to spend time developing these pipelines, and becoming very familiar with GCP as a practicing Data Engineer, I found my new love: DevOps.
Arctiq: New Beginnings
The interview process at Arctiq is pretty unique. It starts out pretty normal where you have a call with a team member to discuss life at Arctiq, and then a call with a broader set of team members to assess cultural fit.
Where things get interesting is the “mission” – a one-week long technical challenge which is meant to give you a glimpse into the daily life of a consultant at Arctiq and assess your ability to learn. At the end of the week, you must present your mission to the team at Arctiq. You also hear back about whether you’re extended a job offer pretty much right after your mission presentation, which is also pretty unique.
My first week at Arctiq was one of the most exciting (and scariest) times of my professional career. I flew across the country to Toronto so I could be onsite with the team for orientation and the staff Christmas party. While at the Toronto location, I attended several Holacracy meetings (as that’s the way the company governs itself – a paradigm I hadn’t heard of prior to Arctiq) and got started right away on some project work.
One of the things that was immediately apparent to me during my first week at Arctiq was the quality of my new teammates. I was incredibly nervous during my first week – after all, I had been a full-time developer up until then and had only been doing DevOps work as a secondary function of my previous job. However, everyone on the team was extremely supportive and understanding and I quickly found my footing at Arctiq.
The culture, coupled with the technical knowledge of my new teammates, is unlike anything I had experienced before, and swiftly cast aside any doubts that I had about my transition to DevOps.
As I reflect on all of this a month later (and in the new year), I can safely say I’ve grown more in the past month than I have in the past year. I’ve been involved in several exciting projects, collaborated a lot with my extremely talented teammates, and have been given the opportunity to learn a great deal about new technologies that I hadn’t been able to give my full attention in the past.
It’s also been really cool to be a part of such a small and flatly-structured team, where you are given the opportunity to influence and participate in the company as much as you want (a large departure from the bureaucratic hurdles that we all know from the 9-5 jobs we’ve worked in the past). This system works especially well because everyone at Arctiq just works really well together.
I’m excited to continue working closely with the team as we move into the new year and look forward to applying the rate of growth I’ve experienced in my first month at Arctiq to 2020 and beyond!