If you want to stay current with technologies such Kubernetes and Amazon Web Services, you have to set time aside to learn these technologies, which means at work you need to figure out how to automate your job as much as possible, so you can snatch this extra time back from the daily drudgery.
This was the hard-won advice offered to SaltConf attendees from Amaya Souarez, who is the vice president of global infrastructure operations for First Data. SaltConf, held this week in Salt Lake City, is the annual user conference for configuration management software provider SaltStack. An Omaha-based company founded in 1971, First Data was one of the first companies to provide card processing services and has acquired many other companies in the decades since. So Souarez has spent her career on working on incredibly complex technologies. Many of the engineers who report to her must study the new technologies at night. Why? There’s no time during the day, because maintaining the old tools software takes up all the hours. “The struggle is real,” she said, adding that it’s not a problem a company can “hire itself out of.”
And yet it needs to be done. “If I don’t educate myself, and if my peers and my boss doesn’t understand these technologies, we will just lead people over the cliff like lemmings,” she said.
While we typically think about “people, processes and technology” being the pillars of IT, we should talk about a “People First” approach, she said. Most every company has at least a small army of technology professionals, and they need to stay updated. Key to that approach is freeing up their time, by automating as much of their job as possible.
“We need to have fun. Give people the opportunity to have fun at work, to learn new technology,” she said.