Leveling up in DevOps: the Art of Bad Shell Scripts

Accepted Session
Short Form
Scheduled: Thursday, June 20, 2013 from 1:30 – 2:15pm in B204


What are the core differences in a DevOps intern, a beginner DevOpsian, and a senior DevOpsian?


This talk is inspired by an intern that I worked with who was able to go from intern straight to being hired as a senior tier 2 systems engineer. He was something of a freak of nature and it caused me to reflect quite a bit on my own skill set and growth over the years.

I will cover:

  • what I look for in and intern or junior systems engineer when interviewing them
  • what I expect from them as a colleague after I am working with them
  • what makes the difference in people’s growth rate on my team

I will use as examples:

  • methodologies to problem solving on the job
  • code contributions to other teams
  • styles of shell scripting
  • choices of tools to get the job done

The take home message will likely be that: I really like to write bad shell scripts (‘Bash-ql’, ‘berl’, and ‘pash’), any day that I get to use sed and awk is a good day, and that I really love working with the people on my team.

Speaking experience

This talk has never been given before. However, this talk has informally been given to many colleagues -- especially junior systems engineers.
Experience: before 2005, I used to talk a lot at the western Massachusetts Linux Users Group and gave presentations on LIDS, gmail, and other sysadmin-y things. From 2005-2008, I did a lot of science posters at neuroscience conferences (SPR 2008, SFN 2007, CNS 2007). Sadly, I cannot find anything online that is publicly available to provide as evidence and the LUG I used to present at... well that website no longer exists and LUGs really aren't much of a thing anymore.