In our bi-monthly column - Behind The Code, we reach out to developers from the community to ask them about their learning journey and how they gravitated to the field of data science or DevOps. This week, we caught up with Saurabh Gupta, Senior Developer Advocate, DigitalOcean, one of the biggest cloud infrastructure providers based out of New York that provides a cloud platform to enterprises and startups to deploy, manage, and scale applications of any size.
In his current role as a Senior Developer Advocate with DigitalOcean, Gupta focuses on the latest cloud offerings like Kubernetes, databases, storage solutions from DigitalOcean and helping small and medium startups use these technologies, mentor and guide them and also create awareness amongst the developer community.
One of the biggest takeaways from Gupta’s DevOps journey is that he got a head-start in this field early on, at a time when the term DevOps wasn’t even around. His on-the job learning experience at startups and enterprises in the capacity of Devops Engineer, Lead and Architect helped him build a foundation in Cloud automation,CI/CD, Docker, Kubernetes and telemetry. “Most of my experience in the domain has been through on-job learning. That is always a benefit when you work with start-ups or small agile teams,” he said.
Today, we are witnessing a complete Devops Revolution in organisations across the globe and everybody is trying to be a part of this Devops journey. Gupta dishes out valuable advice for beginners who are interested in starting their career in this buzzing field.
Head-start In DevOps & Automation Field
Gupta, a graduate in Information Technology from Uttar Pradesh Technical University, re-christened as Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University started his career as a SAP support consultant. When recession hit the Indian IT landscape in 2008, he moved into Java development. And it was in his tenure at Flipkart that he was exposed to the world of DevOps. The DevOps and automation journey started at India’s tech-first startup Flipkart, now Walmart-owned. It was a time when not many knew about DevOps, a buzzword now which has gained massive popularity these days. He recalls his first brush with automation tools like Jenkins and Puppet.
“During my stint at Flipkart, I got a chance to work on CI/CD and automation tools like Jenkins, Puppet etc, but during those days we did not have the “Devops” term evolved yet. It was only after working on some of these tools, we came to know that these technologies in cloud automation are together called as Devops. I guess it was somewhere around 2013-2014 that Devops as a buzzword started gaining popularity,” he shared.
With 11+ years in IT, Gupta has experience working with complete end-to-end Devops tool stack starting from SCM (source code management) like Github, Butbucket, CI/CD like Jenkins,CircleCI, automation tools like Puppet, Ansible,Terraform and other related technologies like Docker containers, Kubernetes, ELK, Nagios,Prometheus, New Relic and Datadog. He has also extensively worked with AWS cloud and some experience with Google Cloud also. In the last six years, he has worked in DevOps with small startups as well as enterprises like Flipkart, Alten-Calsoft, Saltside Technologies, Kloud9 Retail and is now with DigitalOcean.
Advice to Beginners & Those Looking For A Transition
In the current scenario, DevOps plays a crucial factor in the growth of IT industry and all companies, enterprises and startups alike are trying to embrace a DevOps culture within their organisation.
In future, the impact of Devops automation tools is going to increase and new technologies like machine learning, artificial Intelligence, blockchain, cybersecurity will drive the Devops revolution.
“We have already started hearing Devops specializations like DataOps, SecOps, SRE, CloudOps, BigDataOps etc in the market focussing on very specific sections of the entire DevOps pipeline like Data, Security, Cloud, Big Data,” he said.
His advice to people looking for a transition into the field:
Online Resources: I was lucky to be a part of organisations that gave a chance to explore and work on the latest Devops and cloud tools. There are tons of resources available on Cloud, Devops and Automation tools on the internet.
Find relevant content: “Someone who is trying to learn these technologies or make a shift into DevOps, my suggestion would be that best free resource would be YouTube. Try to find out channels related to your area of interest and one that you can easily understand . Also there are many online academy for Devops, but I personally find Udemy, LinuxAcademy, KataKoda, CloudAcademy have very focussed and relevant content and it suits my taste,” he said.
Understand your learning style: There is no dearth of good content on Devops, Cloud and other related technology, you just need to find something that is easy for you to understand and suits your learning style(Self-paced or Instructor-led, fast or slow).
Learn standard tools: Gupta has worked on a broad range of Devops tools like Github, BigBucket, SVN in Source Code management, Jenkins,CircleCI,Buildkite in CI/CD Docker, Puppet, Ansible,Saltstack, Terraform in Configuration Management and telemetry tools like New Relic, Datadog, Nagios,Prometheus etc and then Docker container, orchestration tools like Kubernetes.
His key advice is that with the number of DevOps tools going up, it is practically impossible to work and gain experience with all of them, but some of the tools are more standard across organisations, so knowing them definitely helps.
Some of these tools , one should know are:
- Github for Source Code management.
- Jenkins for CI/CD
- Configuration Management: Ansible ,Terraform, Sensu, Sysdig etc
- Docker containers
- Telemetry: New Relic, Datadog, Prometheus,
- Some exposure with public cloud providers like AWS, Azure or GCP.
Move Up The Ladder In DevOps
With the IT landscape rapidly evolving, it is important for individuals to stay relevant by learning the latest in this domain. Nowadays, DevOps has gained significance and new tools and updates are coming out daily, so it is very important for an individual to keep himself updated. “The key challenge I see is that individuals get into a comfort zone in their current roles and fail to keep themselves in touch with the latest technologies in the market and hence it becomes very difficult for them to make a career switch or move up in the ladder,” he said.
If you don’t want to be stagnant in your career, make “Continuous Learning and Evolving” your mantra to survive in the tech industry.
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Richa Bhatia is a seasoned journalist with six-years experience in reportage and news coverage and has had stints at Times of India and The Indian Express. She is an avid reader, mum to a feisty two-year-old and loves writing about the next-gen technology that is shaping our world.