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Going From Infrastructure to Developer Is A Reality

Mike Levan
DevOps Researcher┇Principal Site Reliability Engineer┇ R&D Enthusiast┇Published Author┇HashiCorp Ambassador
・2 min read

If you look at conferences from say, five years ago to now, it's changed drastically. There's no more talk about operating systems or server versions. Instead, it's all about "the cloud" and "development". Conferences like:

  1. MS Build

  2. AWS re-invent

  3. MS Ignite

and even smaller conferences/meetups.

What does this mean for infrastructure people?

Well, here's the thing... it's exactly what we've always seen in tech, a transition. The same transition as when bare-metal server folks had to start thinking about virtualization. It's just another shift. The biggest difference is this shift is happening pretty fast.

It also kind of feels like the standard sysadmin/infrastructure engineer is being pushed to the side, which may be the reality. However, this reality isn't a death sentence. It's an opportunity. Let me explain why.

When people think of a "developer", they automatically think to be a developer you have to build the next Twitter or some other crazy app. The simple fact is, that's not the case. You can be an infrastructure developer or a cloud developer that writes code for cloud servers or on-prem environments.

The problem with the explanations we see today is no one is actually explaining HOW a sysadmin or infrastructure engineer can move into a developer role and STILL BE an infrastructure guy or gal. No one is explaining what concepts an infrastructure person needs to know to be a developer. A few of these concepts are:

  • Computer science concepts like declarative/imperative or pointers.

  • Testing (unit, mock, integration, etc.) infrastructure code

  • Source control. Not only GitHub, but a little history like distributed vs centralized source control

  • What sprints are and different types of cultural working environments

  • CICD for infrastructure

  • Code editors and IDEs

There's definitely more concepts, but I think these are the core focuses.

I recently created a YouTube video about this and I'm going to start a little series on this. Let me know your thoughts :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-0T-JN0GZc

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