Company Announcement, Interviews

Why don’t you tell us a bit about your background, how did you end up in DevOps?

I have always worked in the DevOps and Open Source space. I was working for an agency that focused solely on DevOps, Contino was a client and I’d filled quite a few positions for them.  I’ve always been a bit of a snob, haha, I always thought I would go internal for Facebook or Google, but I saw the job at Contino come up and I’m really glad I took it! We already knew each other and knew that the cultural fit was there - by far my best career decision!

In your experience, why do people join Contino? And how does that fit in with your attitude to hiring more broadly?

The culture seems to be working, I get contractors that message me to see if they can come back!

I think there’s a few reasons why people join (and stay!). It’s a very collaborative company, which is crucial. If we’re selling DevOps, it makes sense for everyone who works here to enjoy collaborating and to have input on the conversations going on. Everyone in the business has a voice. There’s also a strong ‘no bullshit’ policy - no blaggers, no talented jerks. If you can’t take advice as well as give it then that person probably isn’t right for the business.

When it comes to hiring, I always think attitude is key. Obviously, technical aptitude is important, but you can teach tech, you can’t teach attitude. If I were an outsider looking in, I would see proof of the fact that talented people enjoy working with other talented people - they can learn from each other. If you feel like the smartest person in the room...are you in the right room?

Some companies lose their way a bit as they grow...so it’ll be really exciting to see how we continue to grow and maintain the culture.

What trends do you see in technology recruitment?

Over the last few months, HashiCorp and Kubernetes have become extremely dominant. We’re using Terraform in pretty much every engagement. The HashiStack is really a great stack and K8s just seems to be getting bigger and bigger (so much so that Docker is including native K8s support!), the vibrant developer community around it, in particular, is incredibly strong.

In the enterprise space, AWS and the cloud are, of course, finally starting to really kick in as the business case for migration to the cloud gets stronger and stronger. Alongside this, and as more and more organizations do move to the cloud, interest in security (and DevSecOps) also sees a big increase. Security is always incredibly important and always needs to be looked at when implementing new ways of working in the cloud - especially for organizations with sensitive customer or financial data, such as financial services organizations. And as more and more businesses start using containers and the cloud, that interest in security will only rise!

What should enterprises be looking for in their development teams?

Cultural fit is the most important thing to look out for. You have to try to hire people that genuinely want to make change and that aren’t solely focused on how much they’re going to get paid (although this obviously has to be considered as well). If their first (and only!) question is “what’s the salary” then I wouldn’t consider them. Instead, if someone turns around and talks about the technology and the tools that they want to learn and use, or how they want to help drive innovation internally, that’s the kind of person we want to attract and hire: people who can demonstrate their passion. It’s like a football squad, right? Who would you rather have in your team, someone who loves the club and is passionate about the sport? Or someone who just collects their wage at the end of each week?

What do enterprises look for skillswise?

I think the problem is greater than getting people with the right skills on board. To attract the right people, enterprise companies need to be able to prove that they’re not just doing business as usual.

What can enterprises do to make them more attractive to that kind of person?

Most important, I think, is having a DevOps culture that enables collaborative approaches. All devs want to use cool tools and develop cool shit, but the best ones who care the most will want to carry their precious piece of code all the way through to deployment - and not just chuck it over the wall to ops. Having cross-functional teams in a highly collaborative environment using automated infrastructure-as-code in the cloud maximizes their opportunity to do just that!

But, by definition, there aren’t that many people in enterprises that know how to instigate the kinds of broad change that are often needed. So that’s where Contino comes in - to help them change their mindset from top-down and bottom-up. We deliver the work, upskill the teams and leave the place working in a DevOps way - the kind of place where top devs want to work!

What’s the best way of maintaining a great company culture whilst growing quickly?

Being very true to your values and hiring the right kind of people. Every company has cases where they hire the wrong person. But if you don’t deal with it quickly then that will very soon start hindering the growth of the right people!

If there’s an urgent role to fill, resist the temptation to fill it for the sake of it. Stay true to yourself! If there’s a delay, there’s a delay - but at least you know that you have the right person for the job.

Where do you see the talent department in Contino going over the next couple of years?

I have the utmost belief that we’ve got the right people in place to guide everything in the right direction. I’m looking forward to it :)

Thanks, Rhys!

Thanks!

Interested in working with us? We’re hiring! Check out our current vacancies across the UK, US & Australia.