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Raymond Shum
CST 300 Writing Lab
Sept. 13, 2020

DevOps Industry Analysis and Development Plan

DevOps is a large encompassing term that refers to an ideology or set of best practices

that defines a modern approach towards the structure of the application development lifecycle.

Depending on the industry, the definition of “DevOps” can vary. It can reference the automation

of existing processes, streamlining the development process by consolidating roles, and

increasing customer satisfaction through increased responsiveness (“What is DevOps?”, 2020).

Due to my current professional role, I am interested in a narrow scope of the DevOps

methodology, which is the automation of processes that are both time consuming and manually

performed. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate my interest of the DevOps methodology

by first providing an overview of the industry, and then by outlining the education and personal

efforts that I plan to take to pursue a relevant career.

Part I: The Industry

Cloud services and DevOps methodologies are closely linked in a relationship that will

become more intertwined over time. The primary driving forces behind this trend originate from

businesses moving towards cloud-based platforms, which provide systemic support for DevOps

style automation (Linthicum, 2015). It follows that the major players in the growth of DevOps

methodologies and careers would be the most influential cloud service providers: Amazon,

Microsoft and Google. Microsoft is a major industry player because its service offerings are a

common target for DevOps style automation.

Microsoft is a global corporation with over 160,000 employees worldwide and branch

offices in over 120 countries, with its primary headquarters based in Redmond, Washington
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(“Facts about Microsoft”, 2014). While Microsoft provides a range of service offerings, the ones

that are especially relevant to DevOps would be Azure, Power Apps, Flow, Dynamics 365,

Microsoft 365 and its Server offerings (Nadella, 2020). Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing

platform, which allows businesses to make use of computing resources and infrastructure that

scales to their organizational needs. Dynamics 365 is a set of Customer Relationship

Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tools, which benefit from the

DevOps methodology of streamlining the software development lifecycle. Microsoft 365 is the

modern, cloud-based Office productivity software offering, and the Server product line is the

software component of the operating systems (OS) run on historically on-premise infrastructure.

Both product offerings are of interest to current IT professionals looking to transition into a

DevOps role to make use of the potential to automate many background processes related to

support, maintenance and deployment.

Established on April 4, 1975, Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen as a

company that specifically produced software for an early computer designed by MITS, the Altair

8800 (“Microsoft founded”, 2015). As business grew, Microsoft moved its headquarters to

Bellevue, Washington and went on to develop and license MS-DOS, an early OS. A pivotal

moment in Microsoft’s history would be the development and release of its Windows OS in

1985. Following this, the company would move its HQ to Redmond, Washington and become

publicly traded. Within a few years, Microsoft became the largest software company in the world

(“Microsoft founded”, 2015). Since then, Microsoft has diversified its offerings beyond its initial

niche as a software developer for the Altair 8800. It offers a full scope of services necessary to

run enterprise class businesses and small and medium sized businesses (SMBs). Microsoft offers

its hardware line (Surface) as endpoints, consulting services, support, its cloud-based
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infrastructure and productivity services and it’s even branched out into the home entertainment

sphere with its Xbox line of consoles. While its current offerings are broad in scope, there are a

few major players who have also contributed meaningfully to Microsoft’s growth and

development from its inception as a highly specialized company.

The most well known and influential member of Microsoft, Bill Gates, originally co-

founded Microsoft with Allen, a childhood friend. He pursued his initial interest and cultivated

his technical ability in software development while attending Lakeside high school. During these

years, he spent time with Allen working on professional projects out of their school computer

lab. In accordance with his parents wishes, Gates would attend Harvard in pursuit of a law

degree and subsequent career. Due to his passion towards software development, Gates would

drop out after two years to form Microsoft with Allen (“Bill Gates Biography”, 2020). Gates has

led the company from its inception, through its growth with the MS-DOS and Windows

operating systems and to become the dominant industry leader that it is today.

Paul Allen was also instrumental in Microsoft’s early growth and as a primary motivator

in Gates’ involvement in the venture. After their time at Lakeside School, Allen attended

Washington State University. He would drop out after two years and work as a programmer for

Honeywell, convincing Gates to do the same after the first PC was released by MITS, the Altair

8800 (Lohr, 2018). Allen was also a key player in purchasing the original code for MS-DOS,

which was the product that responsible for Microsoft’s initial success following a licensing deal

with IBM. Current CEO, Satya Nadella had the following to say about Allen, “In his own quiet

and persistent way, he created magical products, experiences and institutions, and in doing so, he

changed the world,” (Lohr, 2018). Allen is not a member that is as recognized as Gates, but
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without his involvement Microsoft would not exist, today. This brings us to the current CEO,

Satya Nadella.

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1990, Satya Nadella

originally worked for Sun Microsystems before joining Microsoft in 1992. He steadily rose

through the ranks until he became CEO of Microsoft on February 4, 2014. During this time,

Microsoft as a company was in a downturn. Matt Weinberger described the environment as one

where:

“Microsoft employees were constantly battling behind the scenes for supremacy. And all

the while, consumers and developers alike were losing the faith.” (Weinberger, 2019)

Since his inauguration as CEO, Nadella is credited with turning the company around. During his

tenure Microsoft’s market cap had surpassed Apple’s for the first time since 2010 (Weinberger,

2019).

With Satya Nadella’s leadership, Microsoft is on an upswing and focused on tackling the

modern challenges that the company faces. The 2019 Axios Harris Poll, which ranks the

reputations of the 100 most visible North American brands, places Microsoft at #9, ahead of

Apple at #32 and Google at #41 (Axios, 2019). This poll also shows Microsoft’s overall

reputation as trending upwards since 2010, which implies that the overall direction in which the

company has been moving in is popular with its client base. Financially, Microsoft has been

improving as well, with its 2019 annual financial report showing revenue increasing from $93.6

billion to $125.8 billion and net income more than tripling over a 5-year period (Nadella, 2020).

With Microsoft on an upswing and growth from the major players in the industry, such as

Amazon and Google, the DevOps field is expected to grow as well. With the necessity of

automation as a key factor, growth is projected to occur at a compound annual rate of 19.1%
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until 2026 where the market size is estimated to be valued at nearly $15 billion (Bayern, 2020).

The industry trends driving growth would be containerization, platform-as-a-service and hybrid

cloud technologies. These technologies allow for migration from traditional on-premise to cloud

based infrastructures, simplify development of code and help streamline its deployment.

According to Puppet’s 2017 report, the majority of DevOps workers report that their careers

began through the automation or monitoring of processes related to deployment, automation or

infrastructure, across a broad spectrum of industries (Puppet, 2017). It follows that prospective

applications should seek to build their skills in these areas regardless of their current industry of

employment.

Part 2: Your Plan

As a current IT worker, with most of my experience in infrastructure and operations, I am

interested in improving my skills to the point where I can qualify for junior level DevOps

Engineer roles. Operations roles that tend to lead to these positions would be Junior Sysadmin,

Junior Network Administrator, or NOC Engineer at a cloud services provider. Specialized roles

such as Exchange Administrator and Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) can also lead to these

positions. Systems and networking administration jobs are focused on the design,

implementation, monitoring, support and maintenance of enterprise infrastructures. Systems

administrators tend to be focused on the operating systems and applications that allow a business

to function. Network administrators are concerned about the infrastructure that controls the flow

of information within an organization and the way it interfaces with the public realm. NOC

Engineers can be thought of as network administrators that work in a highly specialized

environment with the potential to support a huge number of enterprise clients. Specialized roles

such as Exchange Administrator and SRE are focused on performing these administration tasks
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either from a narrow scope of the infrastructure or towards a specific purpose. From the

operations track, any role that allows for the automation of known, repetitive processes will

allow for growth towards a career in DevOps. Regarding the approach towards this career path,

both education and extracurricular efforts can be made.

My former role involved providing support and acting as Operations Specialist for an

enterprise business and my current role involves acting as a Technical Account Manager (TAM)

for SMBs. This professional experience has allowed me to develop knowledge that includes

realistic and ideal implementations of infrastructure across a variety of organizations. With my

current skill set, I understand what processes would benefit from a DevOps approach to

automation, but I lack the technical ability for implementation. As such, I have chosen to

prioritize two approaches to development, first focusing on extracurricular efforts.

In terms of extracurricular efforts, I have decided to pursue the following items: personal

projects, extracurricular education and industry certifications. Based on the DevOps Market

Segmentation reports, I have chosen to pursue the following certifications based on market share:

RHCSA, AWS SA, AWS SysOP & AWS Dev and Azure Administrator. The RHCSA is a skills-

based exam that covers some fundamental aspects of administration in a Red Hat environment.

The AWS associate level certifications focus on design, implementation, monitoring and

development on Amazon’s cloud platform. The Azure Administrator certification is seen as the

successor to Microsoft’s Server 2016 MCSA and is geared towards management of its respective

cloud platform. Additionally, I will be renewing my CCNA and Security certifications as they

expire in the coming years.

Regarding my personal projects, I have completed the following in order build a baseline

for future growth. First, I have set up my own home on-premise infrastructure, using refurbished
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hardware: Dell R710 & HP Proliant server blades. I use this hardware to simulate multi-vendor

environments using a program known as GNS3, which runs over VMWare ESXi, an operating

system designed specifically to support virtual machines (VMs). This hardware is used to

support what is called a home “Domain”, which can be thought of as an organization’s virtual

campus. This domain is linked to my M365 tenant and web domain, which I am using to learn to

automate processes through PowerShell & perform migrations to GSuite using GAM. During my

education at CSUMB, I hope to engage in projects that are more focused on the development

side of DevOps. Examples would be projects that help develop technical knowledge and solve

industry specific problems, such as the automated deployment of an Apache webserver on an

EC2 instance or being able to automate the deployment and configuration of a scaleable number

of routers and switches based on a known given input.

In terms of extracurricular education, I have determined that I should develop a baseline

knowledge in the following technologies, based on a network automation perspective: Chef,

Puppet, Ansible, Kubernetes, Jenkins and Docker. To reach this goal, I have enrolled in courses

offered by the following self-paced learning organizations: CBTNuggets, LinuxAcademy and

Pluralsight. CBTNuggets and LinuxAcademy allow for personal VMs to be created on demand,

which helps me quickly test specific scenarios without personally committing physical resources.

Pluralsight can be used as a resource for software development and Microsoft products. In the

past, these organizations have helped me effectively learn and apply technical knowledge in a

professional environment.

Regarding my educational career at CSUMB, my hope is to develop core competencies in

the area that I can not develop on my own: teamwork. In addition to the technical knowledge, I

hope to be able to contribute meaningfully to my team in the following ways: to be able to


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develop a project from start to finish, to be able to understand and revise a project that has been

developed by another teammate and to be able to take on and complete a project that has been

started by another teammate. I believe that the ability to work effectively in a team is the primary

indicator for success and it is not an ability that I can develop outside of my education at

CSUMB. Courses that focus on the project life cycle such as CST 499 and CS 438 would be

helpful in developing both technical strength and experience working in a group. Therefore, I

must make full use of my time with Cohort 12 while I have access to these like-minded

individuals.
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References

Amazon Web Services, Inc. (2020). What is DevOps? - Amazon web services (AWS).

Retrieved September 13, 2020, from https://aws.amazon.com/devops/what-is-devops/

Axios. (2019, March 6). The Axios Harris 100 poll of corporate reputations.

https://www.axios.com/axios-harris-poll-corporate-reputations-bcc0c03d-0bb5-4eb1-

b591-4622bb4b01ed.html

Bayern, M. (2020, January 31). DevOps market predicted to be worth $15 billion by 2026.

TechRepublic. https://www.techrepublic.com/article/devops-market-predicted-to-be-

worth-15-billion-by-2026/

Biography.com Editors. (2020, April 8). Bill Gates Biography. The Biography.com website.

https://www.biography.com/business-figure/bill-gates

History.com Editors. (2015, October 9). Microsoft founded. HISTORY.

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/microsoft-founded

Linthicum, D. (2015, September 22). How DevOps is dictating a new approach to cloud

development. TechBeacon. https://techbeacon.com/app-dev-testing/devops-dictates-new-

approach-cloud-development

Lohr, S. (2018, October 15). Paul G. Allen, Microsoft’s co-founder, is dead at 65. The New York

Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/15/obituaries/paul-allen-dead.html

Microsoft. (2014, October 23). Facts about Microsoft. Microsoft | Stories.

Retrieved September 13, 2020, from https://news.microsoft.com/facts-about-microsoft

Nadella, S. (2020, October 16). Microsoft 2019 annual report. Microsoft.

https://www.microsoft.com/investor/reports/ar19/index.html
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Puppet. (2017). State of DevOps Market Segmentation Report.

https://media.webteam.puppet.com/uploads/2019/11/2019-state-of-devops-report-puppet-

circleci-splunk_sml-1-1.pdf

Weinberger, M. (2019, February 4). The rise of Satya Nadella, the CEO who totally turned

Microsoft around in 5 years and made it more valuable than Apple. Business Insider.

https://www.businessinsider.com/the-rise-of-microsoft-ceo-satya-nadella-2016-1

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