In building an enterprise culture of cloud, DevOps skills complement the enterprise’s need to automate development, testing, deployment, and operations processes for their public cloud deployments. In this latest post in our Women in Tech series, we’ll be talking to Zamira Jaupaj, a DevOps Engineer at Azatec Consulting in Milan about the benefits of DevOps, the tools that she uses regularly, and her career path from IT specialist to DevOps Engineer.
Could you tell us a little about your background and your career path in IT?
I have a Master’s degree in Telecommunications Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Tirana in Albania. While studying at the university, I worked as an IT Network Specialist at a branch of Albania’s Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare. I moved to Italy two years ago and started taking courses to grow my Java skills, and I eventually became interested in the cloud. I studied with Cloud Academy to get AWS certified as a Solutions Architect and as a SysOps Administrator, and went on to work as a solutions architect before moving to DevOps.
How has being certified impacted your career?
I absolutely think that certification is worth the effort. It demonstrates that you have certain skills and that you have put in the time working in those environments to get the day-to-day experience you need. For example, most questions in the SysOps exam require deep experience on the topics. It’s not enough to read AWS documentation or simply follow a course. You need to work in an AWS environment and use AWS services to get that experience. Hands-on practice is where you grow your skills, and experimenting combined with studying is, in my opinion, the key to successfully passing the exams.
I absolutely think that certification is worth the effort. It demonstrates that you have certain skills and that you have put in the time working in those environments to get the day-to-day experience you need.
What is DevOps?
DevOps is about culture, automation, lean management and measurement, sharing and sourcing. It’s a set of cultural practices and changes that are supported by automated tools and lean management processes to automate the release of software over its production chain. This allows organizations to be able to rely on software and applications to help them move faster. DevOps allows you to speed up code release times and test and implement new features and applications much more quickly than traditional development modes. It also helps you create more flexible and secure systems.
In IT, it wasn’t uncommon to have developers who had no interest in knowing about infrastructure, or system administrators who didn’t know anything about the development process. Working as a DevOps engineer means that you know both development and operations technologies and in doing so, you can make them work together toward common goals.
Why is automation important?
Automating by code means writing infrastructure, configuring, and then testing infrastructure. In the past, for example, many companies were manufacturing the new code at predefined times. Today, the speed of business has made this model quite obsolete. DevOps aims to automate the release cycle to make it as straightforward as possible. The generation of automatic methods for configuring and implementing the infrastructure has given rise to the concept of infrastructure as a code (IAC).
Today, the speed of business has made this model quite obsolete. DevOps aims to automate the release cycle to make it as straightforward as possible.
Tell us about your role as a DevOps engineer.
A lot of my work is focused on how organizations can embrace DevOps philosophies to influence their IT culture and behaviors and implement tools for change. I’m currently involved in several projects where my responsibility is to convey fully automated Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) to builds, deployment infrastructure, and processes.
What DevOps tools are you currently using?
I use automation tools such as CloudFormation, Terraform, Docker, Jenkins, Ansible, and Bitbucket, just to name a few. I use Docker images to support development and testing teams and their pipelines. I work closely with CloudFormation and Ansible to create different development, testing, and production environments. To develop scripts for build, deployment, maintenance, and related tasks, I use Jenkins, Docker, Python, Bash, and PowerShell.
Is working in IT different for women?
From my point of view, and from my experience, it’s important to be able to adapt in whatever work environment you find yourself in. Yes, certain stereotypes still exist, such as thinking that a woman will not be as technically competent as a man, or as dedicated. Or that if you’re a woman in IT, you must be some kind of anomaly and you can’t also be feminine.
There are plenty of technically competent women in DevOps who are just as passionate about programming and technology as any guy. I don’t try to be one of the guys. I’m myself. I love fashion, I love to go shopping, and I love technology. I don’t have to act like a guy to be successful in tech!
There are plenty of technically competent women in DevOps who are just as passionate about programming and technology as any guy.
Where do you see yourself in two years?
I am passionate about learning and the cloud, so I will continue to study and work to improve myself every day. The cloud is the future, and I am convinced that before long, most services will be transferred to the cloud. It’s truly an area that is not lacking in possibilities.
I’ve learned a great deal from attending AWS Meetups and I’d like to become an AWS evangelist one day. At the same time, I don’t plan to stop with AWS. I also want to learn more about Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure services.