Written by Anthony Meredith & Nathan Davies, Interns at DevOpsGuys
The National Software Academy (NSA), is an initiative run by Cardiff University; providing university students with the skills required to enter the industry as a commercial software engineer. Students operate in small teams using Agile development methods and work alongside industry partners on real-world commercial projects. The NSA currently has around 25 students and is based in Newport.
Anthony and I are two Interns from the class of 2015/16 ESTnet Intern Programme (http://www.estnet.uk.net), currently on placement at DevOpsGuys. We were asked to present to the students at NSA to give them an insight on all things DevOps alongside our experiences of being Interns and taking a year out in industry as part of our degrees.
When we arrived at the NSA (I’m starting to think this naming strategy wasn’t a coincidence), we were given a brief tour of the facilities before having the opportunity to meet the students during lunch. Joining the students for lunch allowed us to break the ice and put us at ease before our presentation. It also led to them disclosing the location of a chippy to be utilised on our journey home. They were a fantastic group of students and it was immediately obvious to us that they were completely engaged and passionate about their subject area.
The nature of the presentation was that of a ‘lunch and learn’ format, so the atmosphere was very informal, which made it much easier for us. We started by introducing ourselves, before kicking off a code demo. The demo was to deploy the infrastructure for DevOpsGuys’ website into AWS, including domain management and monitoring via Terraform and Ansible. This was a great demo for us to do as we played a major role in the design and build of the infrastructure and thus know exactly how it works. I initially explained a bit about the demo and then we jumped into our DevOps 101.
We discussed why we do DevOps, by explaining the problems businesses are continuing to face as technology advances at an exponential rate. We then moved into the details of what DevOps is. We decided to include the statistics relating to company deployment rates, which seemed to really strike a chord with the students and clearly demonstrated the advantages to business of embracing DevOps. One student managed to pretty much guess straight away Amazon’s deployment rate of one every 11.6 seconds!
We then went onto explain a bit about DevOpsGuys, the services we provide, the tooling we use and the work we as Interns primarily get involved in. The students were really engaged and had a number questions relating to our tooling; such as ‘Why do we use both Bitbucket and GitHub?’. At DevOpsGuys we use a variety of tools and this is largely driven by customer demand and preference.
The discussion then moved towards the work we’ve been involved in over the past six months. In my opinion this forms an impressive list, especially considering in August we were completely new to the ideas of Agile and DevOps. We were able to share real life experiences of the tools and projects we’ve gained knowledge of with the students, notwithstanding some of the funny experiences we’ve shared!
We finally turned back to the code demo where we went on to show them what the 20-minute shell outputs had achieved. Admittedly, the live demo didn’t work completely as planned because the tags within Dataloop weren’t applied correctly, so we showed them the live monitoring dashboard instead.
Overall, this was a great experience for us to be involved in, and hopefully the students will feel the same too.