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4 Ways DevOps Has Taken Shape Since 2009

In the beginning, DevOps was a movement. Then it became a tool set, which helped implement the bona fide DevOps method, and now a career — sorta.

The internet-at-large has attempted to describe DevOps in a number of ways, and we’ve even taken a stab a few times. Gene Kim described DevOps as an assembly line of the lean manufacturing variety. It’s been described in terms typically reserved for MBAs. We even once used the disturbing imagery of a clown to (unsuccessfully) show that it’s not scary.

As DevOps continues to change the way IT and dev teams operate, it’s also interesting to look at how the understanding of DevOps has evolved since the term became widely known back in 2009.

Here are four ways DevOps has taken shape.

DevOps as a Movement

DevOps was first introduced by software developer Andrew Shafer at the 2008 Agile Conference in Toronto. So the story goes, the session’s only attendee, Patrick Debois, joined forces with Shafer to form the Agile Systems Administration Group.

The next year, Debois remotely attended a session at the O’Reilly Velocity ’09 Conference called 10 Deploys a Day: Dev and Ops Cooperation at Flickr, where the presenters suggested Debois start a Velocity event of his own.

From that meeting came DevOpsDays, a conference that brought together developers, system administrators, and other IT professionals, with the movement later spreading to Twitter. In recent years, the movement has gained serious traction, inspiring offshoots like OpsDev and WinOps.

DevOps as a Toolset

Although DevOps is more a concept than a specific tool, there are literally thousands of DevOps toolkits for everything from configuration management to version control, not to mention all the C tools (continuous development, continuous integration, continuous delivery, etc.).

DevOps addressed the changed attitude toward development with technology, and then tools and practices facilitated the cultural shift. These tools have evolved over time to help developers, IT operations, QA, and every other team work together in an efficient, collaborative system.

Some people argue that the internet was formed in the likeness of the scientific community that created it. Similarly and importantly, DevOps tools were created as an embodiment of the values of the movement. Think about that next time you fire up Jira or Jenkins.

DevOps as a Method

DevOps is more than a concept. It’s a method which the tools help shape. A DevOps pipeline should encompass every business process, with each step feeding into the next.

Instead of handing the project to developers after the initial project planning stage, then taking it back once programmers have finished their coding work, essential IT operations staff and developers should work side-by-side throughout the entire process.

However, businesses have options in their approach to DevOps, with many teams choosing to add Lean and Agile methodologies into their processes.

DevOps as a Career?

Finally, DevOps has evolved into a career choice, but not in the way the way you think. Take a look at the job openings with DevOps in the title. Some argue that though DevOps experience is hot right now, DevOps isn’t a profession in itself.

If you’re a DevOps engineer, you’re still an engineer. You merely interact differently with your counterparts up and downstream from you.

If you hope to put your education and expertise to use within an environment that embraces DevOps methodologies, make sure you have the skill set necessary to excel with this type of team. If a business lists DevOps as part of the position title in the job announcement, it’s a sure sign it encourages teams to use DevOps processes on a daily basis.

DevOps can be described as a movement, a methodology, a tool, or a job, but no matter what it’s called, it is definitely here to stay. By learning as much as possible about DevOps and following the concepts in their day-to-day work, developers and IT operations staff can successfully create applications that achieve their business goals.

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