DevOpsDays Dallas: Q&A with Trevor Hess and Annie Hedgpeth

DevOpsDays Dallas held in mid-September was a rousing success and 10th Magnitude can’t thank the organizers enough (including our own Annie Hedgpeth). Those in the industry converged upon—you guessed it—Dallas and took part in two days of presentations and discussions on how to better bring development and operations teams together. Oh yeah, and there was BBQ. Lots of BBQ.

Jenny Allen, Marketing Manager at 10th Magnitude, sat down with Director of Emerging Technologies Trevor Hess and Cloud Automation Engineer Annie Hedgpeth about their experience in DFW.

What makes the DevOpsDays franchise unique from other technology conferences?

Trevor Hess: “Most are single-track conferences and everybody attends the same sessions. It’s also a very loving conference. People from all different backgrounds, jobs, focuses and technologies come together to share their experiences and learn from each other without a lot of the corporate pressure that you can encounter at other conferences.”

Annie Hedgpeth: “I also agree with Trevor—if this was a multi-track conference, you wouldn’t be learning about the other specialties like security, infrastructure, et cetera. Another cool thing about this DevOpsDays conference was that the speaker lineup was very diverse in practices, backgrounds and focuses.

Also, everyone seemed to be in the ‘lifelong learner’ category and wanted to learn themselves, as well as help others learn.”

Trevor Hess and John Paul Herold
“But first, let me take a selfie.” 10th Magnitude’s Trevor Hess with local DevOps engineer John Paul Herold.

DevOpsDays has conferences all over the United States and internationally. How do you think Dallas differs from other locations?

Annie: “The fun thing about Dallas is that the DevOps scene is not as established here than in other cities. It’s still very new and exciting, and everyone that’s involved feels like pioneers in the area. That brings an exciting vibe to be on the same team and grow that team.”

Trevor: “There were a lot more people interested in getting started in DevOps at the Dallas conference and some people were totally new to the field. I’d say for 90 percent of the people in the room, this was their first DevOpsDays event.”

Since there were quite a few newcomers to the industry and event, how were these attendees welcomed into the group?

Trevor: “Nathen Harvey of Chef started the conference with a game, which I think really helped people come out of their shells. It was essentially a poker game where everyone got a playing card and they had to meet others with cards to come up with the best hand. It turned out to be a great ice-breaker.”

Annie: “As one of the organizers myself, we were really intentional about Nathen opening the conference and it really helped to break the ice, as well as set the tone of the conference. I also think the Open Spaces events were really helpful for people and they seemed to feel a sense of relief that they could talk about issues in-person with other attendees.”

Microsoft Jeffrey Snover
Microsoft’s Jeffrey Snover dropping some knowledge bombs about DevOps and Windows Server 2016.

Were there any recurring themes in the sessions you attended? Or any favorites?

Trevor: “‘Shifting left’ was a huge theme. Also, the sessions weren’t too technical in nature and that’s a common thread of DevOpsDays—it’s more about spreading the love and knowledge than getting super deep and technical about things.”

Annie: “Franklin Mosley’s talk on security was really interesting. He also talked about shifting left and how he’s going in that direction at his company. He’s a security guy and a developer, which is rare. I was excited that the general audience could hear about security issues because I’d like to shift left.”

Any advice for someone looking to transition to DevOps?

Trevor: “Go to a DevOpsDays event. Oh yeah, and listen to the Arrested DevOps podcast.”

Annie: “I recommended a friend in manufacturing attend and even got him to do an Ignite talk about manufacturing and lean principles. The advice I gave him was to go up to every sponsor and attendee that he could, and ask them how his current skill set could help him in transitioning to DevOps. He left with some really helpful ideas. DevOps really is the most welcoming community in tech that you can find—everyone is willing to brainstorm and network with you.”

Couldn’t make it to DevOpsDays Dallas? Take a listen to Trevor’s podcast recorded live at the conference.

For more on embracing DevOps in your infrastructure, check out this blog post.

That’s all for now, but until next time…keep calm and cloud on.