Don Jones

Tech | Career | Musings

Bryan writes:

How can a small, mainly click-next-admin team/culture best get started on the journey toward Infrastructure-as-code, build-test-deploy / Release Pipeline? I see many blogs and books about more mainstream DevOps, but our shop is more like the one referred to in the Microsoft / Chef Release Pipeline whitepaper, where we only create and maintain our own infrastructure operations management files and scripts, mainly for internal corporate facing apps and systems. We don’t need to worry about any customer facing or other style of high visibility web pages or mobile apps, but I think we could definitely improve our efficacy of managing the on-premises environments we have, with a lean, properly trained, empowered staff. We have mainstream skills across VMware, Windows, NetApp, SQL, Exchange and Citrix technologies; all of which also play nice in a PowerShell-centric world. We have a few people with foundational PowerShell skills, but have not yet reached a tipping point where we really use it the way I think we could / should. Instead, we feel stuck in the rut of jumping through RDP to fix our Production ‘snowflakes’, instead of working out automated fixes in a ‘lab’, then using a DevSecOps style pipepine to get the fix to production.

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A reader writes:

Hi Don, here’s a Q for AMA: I work at a fast growing software company as a Microsoft stack admin. The IT dept is small. I have good pay, benefits, opportunity for annual bonus and work/life flexibility, but corporate IT runs Linux and Windows server like it’s still 2006. All on-prem hosted VMs. No cloud. Also no dev environment. Just getting better server automation off the ground slowly. And I have to do a lot of incident ticket escalations for end-user support and spend a lot of time focused on end user workstation patching. The other side of the company developing the software is very progressive: DevOps, agile, tons of scrum teams, CI/CD pipelines and lots of stuff in the cloud.

I have an opportunity to work at an Ivy League university in their large central IT department. They run cross-functional DevOps teams where Windows, Linux, and Database admins all cross train. Plus they have a huge initiative underway migrating systems into the cloud and the tooling around that. I’d be a part of all that. The role has no direct end user support at all, which I prefer. The cons are longer commute, more processes/people to navigate, and 5% less pay to start. But also a 5% retirement match, so that’s kind of a wash, and very valuable as it compounds in the future. I have no match today.

Taking into consideration these different environments, which one do you thInk is better for my professional development moving forward? Curious what your gut reaction is, and other angles or perspectives I might want to consider.

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Allen writes:

Let me Begin by saying thank you, thank you for providing tons of material and resources on PowerShell. You have helped me boost my IT career and climb my way up the ranks in my agency with PowrShell scripting. My question is how can I find a job where all I do is PowerShell scripting (or is at least concentrated)? I know that they exist somewhere out in the world; I genuinely enjoy scripting in PowerShell and would it to be my full time job.

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Jimmy writes:

Do you, or did you ever, feel like trends in IT are really just driven by fashion and trends? With that in mind, do/did you ever find yourself worrying that your trajectory with your career is heading/headed towards obsolescence? As someone who tries to pay attention to the news, trends, and the latest updates, I sometimes find myself feeling crushed by the information, constantly worrying about keeping my skills up-to-date, but simultaneously feeling like every job outside of working for a startup or in DevOps ends in a cul-de-sac.

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As I work on the 2019 Edition of Be the Master, I’ve decided to add a chapter on bringing Mastery, often in the form of mentoring, into the workplace. After all, our own colleagues are often the easiest and most obvious potential learners that we can serve, but there often are hurdles within our organizations.

So I’m writing a chapter specifically to address it. I’ll paste the draft below (pardon the Markdown formatting), and I’m very interested in your feedback. What do you feel it does not address, that it should? Leave a comment right here in the blog, and I’ll gather all that up as I continue to work on this piece.

Don’t worry about typos and such; this hasn’t even been through a cursory check, yet. I’m after substantive feedback on what this could additionally address to help you better.

Please respond by 23rd March 2018, in order for me to incorporate your feedback into my next draft.

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James writes:

I want to know more about the life of Don Jones. I’ve followed much of your work, and am quite inspired by your success and the path you’ve taken to get there. But I don’t know much about you beyond the technical side of things other than what I’ve read from Be the Master. I don’t mean to pry or get TOO personal here; just wondering what a week is like in the life of Don Jones. This is more so a way for me to gauge and then improve how I am balancing and spending my time. How early do you have to wake up or how late to go to bed in order to have time for work but also dedicate time to your family? You mentioned adapting to a gym routine – and how fo you fit that in to your day? Is there ever any time for recreational hobbies or things outside of your normal work routine you don’t have time for, etc.

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Categories: Life