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Sustaining Your Career

Sustaining Your Career

This closing keynote from the LabMan Conference (held at UNT in Denton, TX) follows the conference's theme of "sustainability" by discussing how to sustain one's career.


Scott Lowe

June 04, 2015


  1. Sustaining Your Career How to sustain your IT career and

    your skills in an increasingly cloud-centric world Scott Lowe 1
  2. Before we begin — Get involved! Audience participation is encouraged

    and requested. — Feel free to take photos or videos of today's presentation and share them online — If you use Twitter, feel free to tweet about this session (use hashtag #LabMan2015 or handle @LabMan2015) — A PDF copy of this presentation will be available online after the event 2
  3. Brief background — 20 years in the IT industry —

    Authored or co-authored 7 books (2 more books in the pipeline) — Speaker at events worldwide — Been through a couple of major industry transitions 3
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  5. Sustaining your career means sustaining yourself and sustaining your skills

  6. What do you mean by "sustaining yourself"? — Sustaining yourself

    is different than sustaining your skills — This is about sustaining your ability and capacity to learn, grow, and adapt — This is about sustaining your ability to deal with and manage change 6
  7. The only thing that is constant is change. — Heraclitus

  8. If you dislike change, you're going to dislike irrelevance even

    more. — Eric Shinseki 8
  9. Sustaining yourself (continued) — Strive to maintain a strong "work-life

    balance" — Pursue learning outside of your career — Prolonged bilingualism can improve cognitive skills (see 2008/2008boesen.pdf) — This may be true for music and various other hobbies as well (no conclusive evidence yet) — Avoid burnout 9
  10. Anyone here like working hard to only accomplish a little?

  11. Avoiding burnout through efficiency — Find yourself a trusted system

    (GTD is one example) — Stop managing e-mail and start processing e-mail 1. If you can do it in less than 2 minutes, do it. 2. If it takes more than 2 minutes, put it in the trusted system. 3. If you need the information in the message, archive it. 4. Otherwise, delete the message. — Stop using your inbox as a "to do" system---that's not what it is! 11
  12. Sustaining your skills isn't just about technical skills, either. 12

  13. Sustaining skills — Non-technical skills are very important in a

    cloud-centric world — The non-technical skills are, in fact, more important than technical skills — Early 2013 IDC white paper (available from http:// docs/idc.pdf) lists some important skills sought by hiring managers 13
  14. Important cloud-related job skills 1. Risk management 2. IT service

    management 3. Project/program management 4. Business-IT alignment 5. Technical skills in cloud implementation 14
  15. Important cloud-related job skills 1. Risk management 2. IT service

    management 3. Project/program management 4. Business-IT alignment 5. Technical skills in cloud implementation 15
  16. A sidebar on business-IT alignment — Talk to the business:

    Find out the goals of the business, and think about how IT can help achieve those goals. — Don't use IT jargon: The business doesn't care about IOPS, RAM, GHz, TB/PB, SAN, NAS, NFS, or VTEPs. They care about meeting their goals. — Try to say "Yes": Don't tell the business "No"; instead, tell them what it would take to solve their problems. 16
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  18. Important cloud-related job skills 1. Risk management 2. IT service

    management 3. Project/program management 4. Business-IT alignment 5. Technical skills in cloud implementation The proof point for this list is the strong adoption of... 18
  19. DevOps 19

  20. What do these skills have to do with DevOps? 20

  21. DevOps isn't just about technology — Some of these non-technical

    skills could be considered part of DevOps — Consider the "Three Ways of DevOps" ( the-three-ways-principles-underpinning-devops/) — The First Way: Systems thinking — The Second Way: Amplify feedback loops — The Third Way: Culture of continuous experimentation and learning 21
  22. Technical skills are still important, though! 22

  23. Some technical skills to investigate — Automation and orchestration —

    Cloud services — Open source 23
  24. Anyone here being asked to do less with more? 24

  25. The reality is we're all being asked to do more

    with less. 25
  26. This is why automation and orchestration are important: they are

    force multipliers to enable you to do more with less. 26
  27. Automation and orchestration examples — Configuration management (Ansible, Chef, DSC,

    Puppet, Salt) — Cloud orchestration (OpenStack, CloudStack, VMware vRealize Automation) — Scripting (Bash, Perl, PowerShell, Python, Ruby) — APIs (REST, JSON, XML) 27
  28. Cloud services — To become a "broker of cloud services"

    to the business, you must understand how these cloud services work — Major providers include Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and VMware — Most (if not all) of these providers have "free tiers" that make it easier for you to experiment and learn how they work (and what their value is) 28
  29. Cloud services (continued) — Lots of different cloud services to

    consider: — Compute (EC2, Azure, GCE) — Storage (Dropbox, Box, S3) — SaaS — XaaS (DRaaS via vCloud Air, DBaaS, etc.) — Each of these may offer value to your organization 29
  30. Open source — Open source is affecting how IT is

    evolving — Linux is increasingly pervasive in all aspects of the data center — OpenStack is a leading open source cloud management framework — Open vSwitch is a key open source networking project — Not to mention a whole host of other open source projects, like... 30
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  35. Remember the goal: IT exists to support the customer 35

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  37. Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle

    you arrive in. — Bill Bradley 37
  38. Thank you Be sure to provide feedback to the VMUG

    leaders regarding this session. Blog: Twitter: @scott_lowe GitHub: Life: Colossians 3:17 38