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4 things to look out for in a DevOps training session

Written by:
Mikko Drocan

It’s a universal dilemma. From startups to large organizations, companies are seeking to be more efficient and transparent in how they develop software. That’s what DevOps is. A DevOps training session can be a fast track to getting the right understanding.

 

It almost goes without saying that in order to successfully adopt DevOps, it’s good to understand how the software industry works and how DevOps fits into the picture.

A customized training session that takes your needs and mission into consideration makes your DevOps journey easier.

“I was once told that even though the person has used Robot Framework for years he still managed to learn new things when I was keeping the Robot Framework hands-on training.”

Here are the telltale signs of an excellent DevOps training session.

1) Your trainer should understand the complexity of DevOps, but explain it simply

The list of ingredients in the buzzword DevOps is big. You can have different views to DevOps, but we see it as a combination of evolving, trusting and learning culture and the possibilities that the tools, technologies and lean processes give. In order to understand and proceed with the DevOps path, one needs to understand the concept and adapt to it.

As a trainee, you should also look for a trainer who can solve challenges.

DevOps has many interpretations, but in essence it is a practical philosophy. A good trainer will be able to make DevOps approachable and practical.

“During a InfluxDB+Grafana workshop one guy said that these graphs are something that they've tried to get out of the system for 2 years and now it was done within 2 hours.”

All in all, even with DevOps everything doesn’t always go as planned. Once in a while some system, tool, environment or something else fails and one needs to react and solve the challenge. Those kinds of situations are faced in software development business and it’s essential for the trainer to show how challenges are solvable and how not to panic in each unfortunate situation.

The best training sessions are the ones where the trainer is challenged too. In those cases it’s good to have a trainer that has been in various stressful and challenging situations before and can with practical skills to handle the situation.

2) Your trainer should make the session relevant to everyone

Most software departments have a range of different personalities and viewpoints that need to work together successfully.

This diversity may also be present in the classroom. You need to find a trainer who is comfortable with debate and can facilitate a fruitful discussion among everyone present.

Obvious challenges are, for example, different views of what DevOps is and how it should be realized, participants’ varying knowledge on DevOps, and participants’ motivation for being on the course.

Additionally, the trainer needs to understand how to create a package that is rewarding for everyone. Whether by showing that there can be challenges during a company’s DevOps journey, or by demonstrating that the challenges can, in most cases, be fixed on the fly.

“Thanks for the Robot FW training – greatly executed training, full points for the trainer!”

You need to choose the right set up

One could say a portal or training site is a good way to learn a skill like DevOps. A training site can have materials, various exercises, and videos which help you pick up skills that will come in useful.

Benefits of this approach include learning at your own pace and flexible learning.

Then again, there are many benefits to classroom training too.

  • Interaction among everyone involved, mimicking a real-world setting
  • Lively discussion, some topics could be also out of the original scope
  • In a classroom setup it’s possible to dig deeper into the topic/challenge/thoughts being discussed, and elaborate how topics link to each other.
  • The focus in a classroom setup is on learning the topic and not just executing!

But this isn’t an either/or choice. A hybrid model, consisting of online courses with classroom training sessions and discussion too, accelerates learning and provides the best of both worlds option.

3) Your training should be hands-on

The ingredients for an excellent DevOps training session consist of more than just a slide deck. They include hands-on training/exercises/sketching too.

Depending on the course, there can be easy basics or more complicated tasks that can be designed and verified so that they work. In most cases, there are examples that should be used in a correct manner. A trainer should search for correct solutions and the possibility to fix something in the scripts, environments, definitions etc. because “something” has changed in the used training material.

How do you survive in the real software development world? In some cases, there isn’t enough time to debug faced challenges properly since there may be many topics that are still to be covered, so the possible solutions are left hanging in the air. It’s the trainer’s task to solve it, but also the participants responsibility to want to know the fix – because you are interested in the topic.

The training should leave you with skills that allow you to figure things out for yourself.

4) You need to know how much you know

Critically evaluate your current level of knowledge, or your team’s current level of knowledge. What type of training session will suit you best? Your trainer can then tailor the training to you or to the range of people in your team.

At the session, keep an open mind: it’s the participants’ right and responsibility to be active, discuss, and be open to change.

Have fun at your next DevOps training session!

From project perspective we understand that DevOps aims to save time in software delivery.

From a personal perspective, obtaining great knowledge of DevOps is a real bonus to remaining interesting on the job market!

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