The Infrastructure as Code Paradigm Shift
Mapt: How did you become a developer?
Randall: I got a job doing tech support at night for an ISP while I was in college. After a couple of months, I was asked to set up websites for customers. From there, I taught myself unix, Perl, HTML, and PHP. That led to a successful career in systems administration.
M: What do you think has been the biggest game-changer within the industry?
R: The biggest change, from an operations standpoint, has been the paradigm shift to “infrastructure as code.” It started with virtual machines and the ability to rapidly spin up resources as they were needed, but it really took off with the widespread adoption of configuration management.
Docker took that idea and kicked it up another level. Docker allows developers and ops to apply tried and true development techniques such continuous integration to the infrastructure. An entire application deployment can be automatically built, tested, and deployed is a consistent, repeatable, and reliable manner. Overall, the infrastructure as code paradigm has been a huge win for the industry.
M: What is the best way to learn new skills? How do you think smart companies keep their employees relevant?
R: Companies need to ensure their employees have time to learn. An employee who is so buried just trying to keep up will never have time to grow or even keep up with the industry. Online training resources, like Mapt, are a great way to provide employees with that training without the travel expenses.
M: What advice would you give to a young developer today?
R: Stay flexible. The industry moves fast. Languages come and go and there are always new ways of doing things. A systems administrator who insists on hand-crafting every server as was the norm just 15 years ago, is almost irrelevant in today’s industry.
Don’t be afraid to dive into a new technologies because they are shiny but also remember to be cautious about deploying it. Make sure to fully vet any technology before rolling out something that your applications will depend on.
M: What are you working on now?
R: I’m writing a video training series called “Docker Solutions” for Packt. You can also check out my blog at perlstalker.blogspot.com and follow me on twitter at twitter.com/perlstalker.