Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you have probably heard the term ‘digital transformation’ at some point over the last 2 years. The fact is, whether you’re an experienced developer, a recruiter, a lawyer, a plumber, or anything in-between, you will feel an impact from digital transformation (or as I like to call it DX). DX is everywhere, DX is in every business, and we are the ones demanding it.
However, despite this huge demand and need for digital transformation – of which DevOps is a huge part I might add – 99% of the businesses I speak to struggle to hire DevOps talent (if you are a hiring manager and you are reading this, do not worry it’s not just you)
Today I stumbled upon a report done by Cloud Foundry in November of 2016. It is 2 years old – an eternity in today’s IT world, but somehow it is still spot on in predicting what is happening in today’s job market. (link to report at the bottom)
It is the niche skills that everyone wants. I have 3-4 clients in different industries, and different markets, sourcing for the same exact skill sets. Buzz words include Docker, Kubernetes, Terraform, and CloudFormation. We (Third Republic) estimate that more than 50% of the DevOps jobs opened over the course of 2018 will go unfilled.
I think one of the most interesting things to look at is why some firms can hire and retain these resources, while some firms struggle intensely. In my opinion, it is always driven from the top. When I speak with an engineer who is unhappy with his current firm, the complaints are usually identical. “there is too much red tape,” “I can’t get anything done,” “the team is not buying into DevOps,” “my firm won’t make the proper investment to execute our goals”. It can be said in many ways, but it always stems from the culture of the organization and their level of commitment to achieving their digital goals (i.e. cloud migration, automated releases, etc…)
On the other hand, happy DevOps Engineers usually speak incredibly highly of their c-level execs. They use terms like “visionary,” “motivator,” or “thought-leader”. They are usually excited to talk about it and they are almost always bought into the mission of the organization.
Of course, there are other factors involved in talent retention, but culture is key in the DevOps field. Is your organization open to change? Can you adapt and learn new ideas? Or are you stuck to old principles?
One piece of advice I would give to anybody looking to retain and hire these skill sets – speak to the people in your organization who have them, listen to their thoughts, and try to make changes that enable communication and learning across all departments.