COVID-19 drastically changed the landscape of the American workforce. Remote work went from something of a niche field to a way of life for millions of people. In fact, research shows that roughly half of all employed Americans began working from home as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
While some employers struggle to adapt to this new way of life, others adapted quickly. Looking forward to the future, the ability to adapt in this way could mean life or death for many businesses.
It does not look like this trend will end once a vaccine is found for the disease. Many major companies, including Mondelez and Barclays, have said that working from home may become a permanent fixture of their business models. It is easy to see why. In such an advanced age of technology and communication, people can talk to each other over the phone or computer as easily as walking to someone’s desk.
Very soon, a business could utilize 1,000 home locations instead of just one. But all of this comes down to the abilities of IT departments nationwide.
A recent report from GitHub came out focusing on new software development in the era of COVID-19. While there have inevitably been disruptions in numerous industries, IT professionals have more than met the challenge. The report’s author, Nicole Forsgren, was even quoted as saying, “Developers have continued to contribute and show resilience in the face of uncertainty.” So going into the future, what could be every organizational team’s best friend?
If you look at where the market is heading, then it certainly seems like DevOps is in for a massive boom.
The Resilience of DevOps
The need for reliable software has only increased as more and more people attain smartphones and other essential pieces of technology. Five billion people now own mobile phones, which is going to result in speed problems across the globe. This is where DevOps steps in to pick up the pieces.
DevOps has the ability to sync, organize and automate the pace of new software releases. By design, it is made for remote operations. However, it also remains viable for operations that take place in the office or any other location. DevOps has the capability of adapting and changing along with the world around it.
In the era of COVID-19, that is an incredibly advantageous model as companies may want to work in an office building one week and from home the next. It is the software you need for the world you live in.
However, DevOps is only as good as the people utilizing it. It can be a challenge for individuals at companies, who already have so much on their plates, to adapt to the DevOps model. That is why the company has come out with the DevOps Institute. At this point, it just comes down to companies finding the right people who have the necessary technical prowess and soft skills to bring the benefits of DevOps to their workplaces.
According to data collected by DevOps, it certainly seems like many businesses face shortages of people skilled in information technology and other skills that could help them adapt to a more remote way of working.
The report shows that 48% of respondents were not entering the workforce with the skills needed to manage modern IT environments. Out of all of the people surveyed, only 28% said they believe new workers came in with essential skill sets.
These skills will only grow more vital as more businesses begin working from home. For example, the ability to communicate rapidly is essential when people are not in the same location. And it may not come down to human errors either. Faulty technology could result in people not seeing messages or emails on-time, delaying crucial projects.
The perfect DevOps engineer will be an individual who has the perfect balance of hard and soft skills. It is someone who knows how to correct a network error promptly but has the communication skills necessary to reach out when issues arise. The ideal DevOps engineer for a company is someone who understands how VPNs work inside and out but also communicates in a manner other people outside of the IT department can understand.
Additional Considerations for Implementing DevOps
There are extra considerations that need to be brought to the table for companies interested in utilizing DevOps. For starters, people in a company need to get started pushing technology and DevOps toward the cloud. In a situation like the COVID-19 crisis, there is no clear timeline of when things will get back to normal. If your company is not already utilizing the cloud, then it is high time to get started.
Next, companies need to begin implementing automation as far as possible. Delays in communication can set back company timelines by weeks or even months. Plus, when people are aware, you are going to realize how much time is actually spent performing various tasks that could be done through software.
Instead of having a person check for malware, you can have everyone install malware scanners onto their computers so that their safety is being examined in the background as they focus on more important tasks. Detecting malware is only the beginning as businesses can also use automation to test functionalities and deploy to several environments simultaneously.
Lastly, as employers turn to DevOps to meet their companies’ obligations, it is critical to keep an eye on potential burnout. With more people working from home, they need to juggle work, family and other obligations in closer corners.
DevOps can be a huge lifesaver, but you want to make sure you give your employees sustainable workloads your team can handle. This time is also good to establish clear boundaries between people’s personal lives and work. It can be a good idea to set clear hours for when employees can communicate with each other. Outside of that time frame, it is important to let people relax and focus on other aspects of their lives.
The COVID-19 crisis will pass, but the American workforce may never look the same. Many organizations may end up deciding there are more benefits to working from home than renting an office space. People will get through this, and DevOps will be there to lend a helping hand.