Stop trying to hire your own DevOps or automation engineers. The role is too loosely defined, expensive, and risky in the current job market. I know this is a demoralizing statement to IT leaders who know IT infrastructure automation is the most critical infrastructure initiative on their list. These IT leaders also know their current engineer pool does not have the necessary skills or bandwidth, and it’s absolutely true.
To help rationalize this way of thinking, I typically ask four questions:
- Do you currently possess the proper candidate vetting capabilities to ensure the individual will produce secure, operable, and efficient IT infrastructure automation capabilities?
- How will you ensure high quality work is being produced in an acceptable timeline and scope?
- Do you have the right engineer culture to attract and retain top talent?
- What happens when that individual leaves the company?
Experience has also shown that quality infrastructure automation engineers tend to operate what they build for only short durations before moving on. They enjoy the building aspect of IT infrastructure automation and want to continue to refactor old things and build new things. Many build something and leave after a short time, or they stay to build extremely complex automation platforms beyond the scope of what was actually needed and then leave. I’ve only seen a select few companies that have a true engineering culture and enough compelling work to entice automation engineers to stick around.
The alternative to speculative, risky hiring is the BreakFree Automate service offering supported by our IT Infrastructure Automation Delivery Centers. BreakFree is hiring and training a delivery force of automation engineers to conquer our customer’s IT infrastructure automation challenges. We’ve developed the BreakFree Agile Delivery Framework, which ensures our customers have complete transparency into what’s being built, and that the automations are of proper quality to handle production environments.
Most organizations have motivated and capable operations teams who have the ability to obtain the necessary skills required to operate and improve the BreakFree-built automation.
We tend to look at it like a car. BreakFree is the IT infrastructure automation manufacturer and our customer’s operations personnel are the mechanics who keep the car running and implement minor modifications, repairs, and improvements over time.
Hiring a DevOps or Automation engineer will have minimal positive and sometimes negative impacts on your organization, and there are huge risks associated with it including hiring someone that doesn’t know what they are doing, hiring someone who might only stay on for a short time, or in the worst case scenario, hiring someone who builds an unwieldy automation stack.
Avoid the tendency to want to build the next Netflix engineering core. Instead, it’s to your business’ benefit to outsource the role and focus on leveling up your own operations team, so they can operate, maintain, and improve the automation that BreakFree is building.