The Stack Overflow annual survey of developers came out this month, and it has a lot of interesting data points in it. There is a lot that I wish was different about their questions/methodology, but one thing caught my attention. Docker, Kubernetes and similar tools (Ansible and Terraform are in there at lower percentages, for example) make up more of the responses than can be accounted for by people with “DevOps” in their title.
Sometimes by a lot.
That means we have a fair number of developers that are doing DevOps, but who aren’t DevOps team members. Yeah, there are a few systems admins in the ranks of the respondents also, but not enough to cover the discrepancy. If every respondent that was in DevOps and sysadmin roles used Kubernetes, there would be just enough to cover the number of respondents that said they used Kubernetes “extensively” over the past year. It’s unlikely that all of them are Kubernetes specialists. And that doesn’t touch on Docker, with a whopping 40% of respondents saying they use Docker extensively. Any developer with recent experience can explain away Docker—though “extensive” is a bit strong for your average developer’s usage, it is becoming part and parcel of development, using containers to host dev environments, test, even build tools. And, of course, some deployments. But 40% is still a lot.
So, if your title is developer, and you’re using deployment tools on a regular basis, go ahead and call yourself DevOps. That’s not the only criteria, but if you were going to pick one, the breadth that using deployment tools represents combined with the implication that there isn’t an ops person worrying about that type of thing makes “uses deployment tools” a good stand-in test.
To the nearly 18% (20% of pro developers) of you using Yarn, I tip my hat. I used it for a couple of years early on in its life, and am happy to say I do not need to use it any longer. I assume your usage is not tied to Hadoop and that it has greatly improved over my 2015-2016 experience. Still, y’all rock, just by definition of using it to get resource scheduling down. It ain’t easy.
Across the board, the number of DevOps/Ops tools that make these lists is amazing for a developer survey – nearly 9% of respondents use Ansible, and nearly 9% use Terraform. There is undoubtedly overlap, so the actual number that uses one or the other is less than 18%, but still, nearly one in 10? That’s huge. And that’s DevOps or Ops, not purely developers. Regardless of title.
And that’s been a hallmark of development since the field took off—doing what needs to be done to deliver software. This is just another iteration, and you’re rockstars, regardless of title. You keep delivering apps that run the business—let them call you whatever they like. Money talks; titles are pretty much meaningless. Not like you’ll retire on a title, but bonuses or stock grants? Those you might retire on.