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The Start of my Devops Personal Projects Journey

Why am I doing this?

I am a software tester - have been one for more than 3 years. Before that, I'd worked in IT support for several years. I started helping out with some DevOps tasks at work over a year ago when the main DevOps guy in our team quit. I have since discovered that I enjoy the challenge of working in DevOps, especially because I am constantly learning new things.

Anyway, I decided to do some personal projects to improve my knowledge. Cue the CloudResumeChallenge which I think is one of the best things that could have happened to me (and the DevOps learning community at large). The challenge is well thought out and encompasses all the different aspects of DevOps, in my opinion.

I started the challenge, got distracted with work and life stuff, and quit after about a month. I picked up the k8schallenge when it started in March 2024 but got distracted from that as well, (I promise I don't have attention difficulties, at least I don't think so).

Anyway, I started thinking, that instead of doing such challenges, I could just document little things I do at work and in hobby projects that are related to DevOps, similar to collecting fieldstones as described by Gerald Weinberg in his book - Weinberg on Writing: The Fieldstone Method. It could simply be that I had been overwhelmed. That led me here. I haven't given up on either of the challenges yet - I'm just taking the longer route to complete them (at least that's what I tell myself hehe).

In the course of completing the cloud resume challenge, I received a $200 free credit to use with Azure as a new subscriber and let that lapse because...well, life. I did the same with DigitalOcean so when I decided to get back to it, I thought, do I have to pay to use these services now? I didn't want to (and didn't think I could even afford to, not in the long run) so I decided to start doing something (anything) on my PC.

I then remembered that, in my first year with my previous company, I had received a Raspberry Pi 4 (I may not remember exactly how I got it but I know it was from the company, I still have the package addressed to the former CEO lol - it was likely a Christmas gift or a prize for winning a game). When I got it initially, I didn't know what to do with it (I was still working at the Service Desk at the time with little knowledge of software development) so I tried to use it to teach my kids about computers with some raspberry projects. It was fun at first but their interest quickly fizzled out (they blame my teaching skills, the little buggers). So the Raspberry Pi went into a box for the next few years.

Cue the lightbulb moment! I could use the Raspberry Pi as a server for pretty much anything. I learned that in the course of completing my DevOps tasks at work. I didn't need Azure, DigitalOcean, or any other cloud providers, not for my immediate needs. It was a personal project, I didn't need to pay anything. I could set up applications of all kinds, the world was my oyster, oh the joy!

So that's how I came to be writing this! It's mostly a way to track my progress and stay accountable. I'll start with setting up a Gitlab server on the Raspberry Pi because I want to set up pipelines for other tasks - just one of the things I haven't gotten to do at work yet. Hopefully, I'll get ideas for other tasks as I go along.

Cover Photo by Katerina Holmes:

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