Career Advice From My Own Experience 🧵

So once upon a time I worked in a shop where the ops folks were divided into two teams.

AppOps, which handled the care and feeding of the application the company ran, and SysOps, which handled maintaining the Linux servers.
I was on the SysOps team. We handled filesystems, monitoring via Nagios, datacenter buildouts (this was pre-cloud), filesystem work, etc.

We were sysadmins. Today those jobs are called DevOps or SRE. Same job, better pay.
The AppOps teams started with the care and feeding of Jboss or Tomcat or whatever the hell middleware we used in that era, and went into the app from there.

They communicated constantly with the app developers and knew heaps about Java heaps.
When we all eventually moved on to other roles, the SysOps people were about as employable as DevOps SRE folks are today--that is to say, "very."

The AppOps people were absolutely not, and had a devil of a time finding new roles.
The lesson I took from this was that given the choice between a technology that's used globally and a technology that's used internally at one specific company, choose the global technology every single time.
It turns out that lots of places used Linux servers. Not a lot of places ran the custom bespoke application that this company developed in-house.

So I'd choose learning Kubernetes over Borg, Terraform over CloudFormation, and using native tools directly rather than third party.
My point is that you're always one Surprise Meeting with someone from HR away from not working at a company anymore; make sure that the items you're adding to your résumé have value in other companies.
Additional benefits accrue to working on technology that people at other companies also use, such as “there are forums, mailing lists, and communities to ask for help.”
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