How to Spot a DevOps Faker: 5 Questions, 5 Answers

How to Spot a DevOps Faker: 5 Questions, 5 Answers

  • Nick Piette
    Nick Piette joined Talend in 2017 as the Director of Evangelism. In this role, Nick is responsible for providing thought leadership, brand awareness and community outreach. Prior to Talend, Nick held roles in customer support, technical presales and product management at a leading integration company.

With the rapid growth of DevOps teams and jobs, it follows that there are candidates out there who are inflating--or flat-out faking--their relevant skills and experience. We sat down with Nick Piette, Director of Product Marketing API Integration Products here at Talend to get the inside scoop on how to spot the DevOps fakers in the crowd:

What clues should you look for on a resume or LinkedIn profile that someone is faking their DevOps qualifications?

Nick: For individuals claiming DevOps experience, I tend to look for the enabling technologies we’ve seen pop up since the concept’s inception. What I’m looking for often depends where they are coming from. If I see they have solid programming experience, I look for complimentary examples where the candidate mentions experience with source control management (SCM), build automation or containerization technologies. I’m also looking for what infrastructure monitors and configuration management tools they have used in the past. The opposite is true when candidates come from an operations background. Do they have coding experience, and are they proficient in the latest domain specific languages?

What signs should you look for in an interview? How should you draw these out?

Nick: DevOps is a methodology. I ask interviewees to provide concrete examples of overcoming some of the challenges many organizations run into, how the candidate’s team reduced the cost of downtime, how they handled the conversion of existing manual tests to automated tests, what plans they implemented to prevent code getting to the main branch, what KPIs were used to measure and dashboard. The key is the detail–individuals who are vague and lack attention to detail raise a red flag from an experience standpoint.

 Do you think DevOps know-how is easier to fake (at least up to a point) than technical skills that might be easier caught in the screening/hiring process?

Nick: Yes, if the interviewer is just checking for understanding vs. experience. It’s easier to read up on the methodology and best practices and have book smarts than it is to have the technology experience and street smarts. Asking about both during an interview makes it harder to fake.

How can you coach people who turn out to have DevOps-related deficiencies?

Nick: Every organization is different, so we always expect some sort of deficiency related to the process. We do the best we can to ensure everything here is documented. We’re also practicing what we preach–it’s a mindset and a company policy.

Should we be skeptical of people who describe themselves as “DevOps gurus,” “DevOps ninjas,” or similar in their online profiles?

Nick: Yes. There is a difference between being an early adopter and an expert. While aspects of this methodology have been around for a while, momentum really started over the last couple years. You might be an expert with the technologies, but DevOps is much more than that.



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