Career change... to the cloud.



  • I've saw a lot of this debate on various forums. "Will on-premise IT support be replaced by MSPs and/or the cloud?" MSPs displacing (not replacing) the IT department, and the cloud cutting down on how many staff members are needed in IT. Either way, you aren't without a job, you are just getting displaced. That got me thinking, would I rather work for a cloud provider, or an MSP? Personally, I'd rather work in cloud operations. I've never been one for programming, so I don't see myself getting into development (regardless of how much you can make, I just don't find it as interesting). So I thought further over the last few months, who would I want to work for?

    So I decided on Digital Ocean after much debate. I love their product, their pricing is crazy competitive, and their customer service is great. Lots of reasons why the business would succeed. So I started looking at their career openings, and I found one in operations. One thing though, you need lots of programming know-how, which I don’t have. Fine, I’ll learn it. But programming is a lot like anything else, you can be a master in one trade, or a jack of many. I am always a jack of many trades and a master of none. It’s worked out so far, but I’m a little lost on this one. They say you need to know Go, Ruby, Python, and C/C++. I’ve heard the first three aren’t a steep level of difficulty, but the C library is. I’ve also heard that the first 3 are more for automation, which seems about right. Not sure why a sysadmin would need to be an expert in C but that’s not the scope of this.

    The scope is, am I staying ahead of the curve by looking at a cloud provider as a long term opportunity, or should I still stick with on-premise work? That’s a tough one, because I know on-premise isn’t going to die out. Companies like the one I currently work for, will never go to cloud. “Never is a little definitive, aren’t you overstating?” No. They will never switch. It’s not even their decision. Every client contract we have strictly forbids it. Sure, they could go cloud, but they would lose all their contracts.

    I’m not sure that I’m looking for advice as much as I just wanted to say that. I know a lot of conversation has been brought up in the last year or so about what businesses are going to do and if on-premise jobs are in jeopardy. I don’t think they are. Will small-medium businesses make a shift? Sure, I could see that. Will all businesses? Of course not, that’s ridiculous. At least not in my lifetime I figure. Not to say they won’t, as the future is unknowable, I am just skeptic.

    Long rant coming to an end, what language(s) would you learn, if you really wanted to work for Digital Ocean in operations, and why? Automation languages I can understand, I just don’t really know where to start, and where to end, because nothing in IT really ever ends, it just gets repurposed or reformatted it seems like.



  • Well, I would ask Digital Ocean themselves. That's not a bad first step. They might do any weird thing internally (OCaml anyone?)

    But for a general case, Python is a good place to start learning and most high end systems automation is Ruby today.



  • Building onto that, why Python or Ruby or Go, one over the other?



  • @BBigford said:

    Building onto that, why Python or Ruby or Go, one over the other?

    Python because it is easy to learn and very commonly used for all kinds of different things.

    Ruby because it is expressive and very popular with modern automation frameworks.

    Go because it is very fast and performant.



  • They tell you what to learn 😉

    Programming/Scripting: Ruby, Python, Go, Bash
    Source Code Management: Git
    Automation: Chef, Puppet
    Virtualization: KVM, Xen
    Open Source: CoreOS, Docker, Vagrant

    https://www.digitalocean.com/company/careers/



  • @aaronstuder said:

    They tell you what to learn 😉

    Programming/Scripting: Ruby, Python, Go, Bash
    Source Code Management: Git
    Automation: Chef, Puppet
    Virtualization: KVM, Xen
    Open Source: CoreOS, Docker, Vagrant

    https://www.digitalocean.com/company/careers/

    Yeah my rant went back and forth between cloud overall and Digital Ocean requirements. Sorry about that. Haha



  • Try to rant more clearly 😃



  • Hey! I am a Community Manager @ DigitalOcean and figured I'd create an account to chime in on what we look for.

    Currently most of our backend code is written in Ruby and Go with a lot of our front-end/user facing stuff being in Javascript. I believe that the Operations role you were looking at is focused on hardware provisioning, tooling and keeping up capacity.

    With an MSP background you might also want to look into the openings on our Support and Customer Success teams. The support team is the path into many operations related positions and does not rely as heavily on development experience if you're an experienced sysadmin and the Customer Success team works more closely with large customers and if you really like scaling challenges and assisting in designing infrastructure solutions, that might be the choice for you.

    You may be pleasantly surprised by the compensation offered to these roles since we choose to hire experienced developers and systems administrators even for our entry level support roles. If you have any questions about our hiring process or what it's like to work at DigitalOcean feel free to email me at [email protected] digitalocean.



  • Welcome to ML Ryan.

    Are these jobs onsite only, or do you have many VO type positions?



  • There are a few local only positions but the majority of all roles at DO allow you to work remotely. We just reached the milestone of 100 remote employees last week (out of fewer than 300 total). The last number I heard but us at about 40% remote.

    The whole company has a remote-first mentality. We coordinate throughout the day via slack (even to those sitting right next to us), all our conference rooms are set up with chromeboxes, cameras and large TVs to allow remotes to easily join any meeting. Our remote team gets the same equipment as those who work in the office (1-2 monitors, keyboard, mouse, even an office chair). Remotes also get other gift boxes and perks sent to them regularly.

    Most remote employees get to spend some time in the office a couple times each year. The company will fly them in, put them up in a company owned apartment near the office (or a hotel if the apts are booked) and they will work from the office for the week. During the summer we have "Shark Week" at the DigitalOcean offices where we fly in all our remote employees and have some great activities and events (Last year we had a day out at Coney Island and a weekend getaway at the Jersey Shore). Additionally, all employees are able to attend at least one (depending on dept and role) conference each year (all expenses paid (or reimbursed)).

    A few other perks include reimbursement of the cost of your Internet connection, 90% reimbursement for career related classes, bootcamps, etc, gym membership reimbursement, and more. I started off as a remote employee and moved to NYC (with the available relocation assistance) in November 2014.



  • @ryan_do said:

    There are a few local only positions but the majority of all roles at DO allow you to work remotely. We just reached the milestone of 100 remote employees last week (out of fewer than 300 total). The last number I heard but us at about 40% remote.

    The whole company has a remote-first mentality. We coordinate throughout the day via slack (even to those sitting right next to us), all our conference rooms are set up with chromeboxes, cameras and large TVs to allow remotes to easily join any meeting. Our remote team gets the same equipment as those who work in the office (1-2 monitors, keyboard, mouse, even an office chair). Remotes also get other gift boxes and perks sent to them regularly.

    Most remote employees get to spend some time in the office a couple times each year. The company will fly them in, put them up in a company owned apartment near the office (or a hotel if the apts are booked) and they will work from the office for the week. During the summer we have "Shark Week" at the DigitalOcean offices where we fly in all our remote employees and have some great activities and events (Last year we had a day out at Coney Island and a weekend getaway at the Jersey Shore). Additionally, all employees are able to attend at least one (depending on dept and role) conference each year (all expenses paid (or reimbursed)).

    A few other perks include reimbursement of the cost of your Internet connection, 90% reimbursement for career related classes, bootcamps, etc, gym membership reimbursement, and more. I started off as a remote employee and moved to NYC (with the available relocation assistance) in November 2014.

    Funny, I literally just posted about Slacklink text, asking how good it is. How are you liking it? Pretty expensive? AD tie in that isn't a paid third party solution?



  • @BBigford said:

    Funny, I literally just posted about Slacklink text, asking how good it is. How are you liking it? Pretty expensive? AD tie in that isn't a paid third party solution?

    Well that brings about a great question - does DO even have AD for internal/company computers?



  • We don't. In fact there are only a handful of Windows PCs (mostly among finance people and some non-technical roles) in the whole company and no MS services involved at all. Most of the company is on Macs with a large contingent who use Linux on their desktop (including me). We currently use Google for our email, authentication services.

    DO is quite a bit different from other corporate environments I've worked in. There is no real IT department, we have a couple people in office who help out less technical employees with office IT type stuff but every user is the administrator of their own desktops/laptops (and in the case of laptops, the devices owner as well since DO has a 50/50 program for laptops), there is no specific required software or tools (but a budget is available for whatever paid licenses may be needed). It's a very different world from corporate IT and totally different to be somewhere where everyone is a competent computer user capable of solving their own problems (the only exception being our Juniper VPN which would be great if it only had a decent Linux client but we solve those issues collaboratively in our #linux slack channel).

    On slack, we love it. I joined DO back in 2013 (pre seed funding) when we handled internal chat via IRC and it was a mess. Slack is great, it does what it is supposed to and never gets in the way. I believe that we continue to have more slack channels than employees as everyone is empowered to create channels, each team has their own channel along with company wide channels, a channel designated for remote employees, one specifically for office related stuff for those in NYC, etc. We are also using a ton of different bots and integrations with slack to do more with it. Our CI systems all report via slack to the relevant channels for the teams managing them and there are even a couple teams that can trigger a deploy from slack.



  • @ryan_do said:

    I'm not surprised by this at all. If you're greenfield setup in the last 5 years, it's extremely likely that you don't need anything Microsoft, with the possible exception of MS Office - but even that's low these days as the alternatives can frequently convert them well enough to get along without purchasing MS Office.

    What is any kind of centralized authentication/account creation mechanism do you use? You mentioned Google Apps - does it authenticate more than just your email?



  • I don't work much with our backend systems. We also have an LDAP server integrated with a couple of our services like Jira, our Internal GitHub Enterprise server, and our VPN.



  • @ryan_do What is the culture of the company like?



  • @ryan_do said:

    A few other perks include reimbursement of the cost of your Internet connection

    How about paying for my OC3?

    Of course, I'm a Windows guy in a Vmware world, so probably couldn't get a job over there anyways.



  • @PSX_Defector said:

    @ryan_do said:

    A few other perks include reimbursement of the cost of your Internet connection

    How about paying for my OC3?

    A personal OC3? Want to run their backup data center do you? 😉



  • @travisdh1 said:

    @PSX_Defector said:

    @ryan_do said:

    A few other perks include reimbursement of the cost of your Internet connection

    How about paying for my OC3?

    A personal OC3? Want to run their backup data center do you? 😉

    If that would help me get a job... yes, ha ha ha!



  • @travisdh1 said:

    @PSX_Defector said:

    @ryan_do said:

    A few other perks include reimbursement of the cost of your Internet connection

    How about paying for my OC3?

    A personal OC3? Want to run their backup data center do you? 😉

    Be surprised how cheap it can get on contract from some CLECs and even some ILECs.

    Last time I spec'd out a pipe from AT&T, with an OC3 to the office and some colo space in a DC near my house, a 100Mbps ethernet loop into the cage would only cost me about $900 a month. Of course, that doesn't include internet access, just a dumb pipe straight to the DC. I would mooch off whatever I could get from there. Even then, if I had to buy access, would probably run me ~$600 to $800 for AT&T.

    In certain parts of the country, you can get some serious bandwidth for reasonable prices. With cheap access, I was thinking of running a fax service from the house. Some CLEC was offering $1200 DS3 pipes (45Mbps) with a full PRI a while back. Combine that with some cheap equipment, I would have a reasonable revenue stream for pretty much nothing.



  • @aaronstuder - The culture is great. While there are always growing pains as we become a larger company (there were 15 people when I joined) overall it's an amazing place to work. I like to talk a lot about the perks but the people are what makes DO awesome. Before joining DO (and coming from a background that included a lot of freelance work) my personal rule was that I would not work somewhere if I did not report to a VP or higher and had the ability to tell that person when they are wrong. DO has grown a lot but I could sit down with all three co-founders over the course of this week (as could any employee) to talk about whatever I wanted. Generally these discussions are about issues or career development but not always. For most of the history of the company the execs did not have offices, for several months I sat right next to a couple of the co-founders every day. With our growth a couple executives now have offices (glass walled) though one co-founder gave his up to be a dedicated interview room since he wasn't using it much anyway. I'm not sure how clear a picture this gives you but hopefully it helps.

    @PSX_Defector - Haha.. technically the internet connection re-imbursement is the remotee equivalent of the transportation benefit given to locals. Those of us in NYC have our monthly subway pass paid for by the company ($117/month) and this same amount is available for remotes to put towards their Internet access.

    Since people seem interested I'll add just a bit more about what it's like to work at DO. When I explain it to others I almost always use the phrase "we are spoiled", and we are. Here is a list of some of the company events I've done since moving to NYC:

    • Weekend Ski Trip in Vermont
    • Tailgated and attended the Giants/Jets game
    • Attended a Yankees/Mets game
    • Star Wars VII opening night
    • Got to attend a screening at the Tribecca film festival
    • An octoberfest river cruise up the hudson
    • Numerous company parties, dinners, etc (we have a company Thanksgiving dinner every year, an anniversary party, and a holiday party)
    • Attended OSCON, the Community Leadership Summit and Scale14x last year

    I am sure I am forgetting a few things. Other in-office perks include

    • Catered Lunches every day
    • Breakfast and Dinner (if you're in early/late enough) via Corporate Seamless account
    • Free beverages (including beer & wine for after 5pm)
    • A ton of free snacks in the office

    And with all that I should also mention that I average 45 hours per week, work/home balance is a big factor here. Technically I could get away with 40 but I like to come in an hour early to have my breakfast and get caught up before the rest of my team gets in at 10am.

    Despite DO being a great resume builder, I am so happy here that the only way I plan to leave is to start my own business, I just don't think any other employer could compare.



  • @ryan_do Sounds like a great place to work. Might have to toss you guys a resume once I get my full package put together.



  • There is more info and some pictures on themuse.


  • Vendor

    @PSX_Defector If you want a list of VMware cloud air network companies to apply at I know a few 🙂



  • @John-Nicholson said:

    @PSX_Defector If you want a list of VMware cloud air network companies to apply at I know a few 🙂

    I'm happy where I'm at, I'm sure I'll be talking with you sometime anyways. I am the guy in Systems now.

    And Orrie says hi. 🙂



  • that place sounds exactly like Drop Box, only a little smaller. I visited Drop Box last year.. glass conference rooms, open floor plan, almost no cubicals, everyone wearing headphones.

    free lunch/drinks/snacks everyday... etc.


  • Banned

    This post is deleted!

  • Banned

    @BBigford said:

    I've saw a lot of this debate on various forums. "Will on-premise IT support be replaced by MSPs and/or the cloud?" MSPs displacing (not replacing)

    I would says that's sensationalized. Sure it will happen at many SMBs but it's not something that is going to happen everywhere. especially not in the Enterprise sector.



  • @Dashrender said:

    that place sounds exactly like Drop Box, only a little smaller. I visited Drop Box last year.. glass conference rooms, open floor plan, almost no cubicals, everyone wearing headphones.

    free lunch/drinks/snacks everyday... etc.

    Headphones are the new cubicles.



  • @BBigford said:

    @Dashrender said:

    that place sounds exactly like Drop Box, only a little smaller. I visited Drop Box last year.. glass conference rooms, open floor plan, almost no cubicals, everyone wearing headphones.

    free lunch/drinks/snacks everyday... etc.

    Headphones are the new cubicles.

    Man, yeah - I'm wondering is this dog is just to old for that.


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