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Capita Learners Case Study: Mark McEwen and Kevin Eaton – DevOps Diploma

By June 1, 2021 June 3rd, 2021 No Comments

Ahead of the launch of the third cohort of the Capita Academy DevOps Diploma, we caught up with two learners from the original cohort, to hear how they are finding the programme and what impact it has had on them so far. Kevin and Mark are both halfway through the 18-month programme.

 


Mark McEwen – Environment & Automation Engineer, pay 360, Capita Software

Why did you decide to join the Corndel DevOps programme?

I have been working in IT for 25 years until recently as a developer. My team is currently going through a transition from traditional software structure to a DevOps way of working. When I saw the opportunity for the DevOps Apprenticeship via HR I thought that this would be a great opportunity for my long-term career aspirations. I wanted to develop a solid understanding of DevOps overall, so I chose this route instead of an alternative offer which would not have been as broad. I was also attracted to this course because it is delivered in conjunction with Softwire. It is good that this course is presented by people who are experts in DevOps, plus it is validated by the BCS (British Computer Society).

How are you applying the learning to your day-to-day role?

We have been learning about scripting; the use of code to automate processes. This has encouraged me to think outside the box and having the skills to apply scripting has given me a huge amount of confidence to apply as I transition into my new role. A great example of this is ‘gating’; which is about creating a safe space to test code before it is deployed. We learnt about repositories where we keep the data code in the cloud to test. I now have a lot more understanding and appreciation for this practice.

Why do you think DevOps skills are beneficial?

DevOps is not just about learning technology but more about understanding the philosophy. It has redefined how we work with software. I am very interested in promoting what I have learnt across the wider team, as I can see how it will benefit the business overall. What I am learning from this course is how we can speed up the rate of development and be more agile. This means everyone has to be involved. It challenges existing behaviour and encourages the change of behaviours to enable us to be more agile and work more effectively.

What is the one thing that you would say that has been really benefitted you?

We are trailblazing DevOps for Capita and are hoping to showcase what we have learnt in demonstrating the key aspect of this approach. It is still not a common practice across the organisation, so I feel at the front and centre of this. Personally though, for me it’s hard to pick just one thing, because I have loved all of the content so far, but it has really boosted my confidence. I have learnt new skills such as coding and Python so I am learning new things all of the time, meaning I bring more value to the business.

What are you looking forward to the most?

I am really looking forward to learning about the use of Docker, I have heard so many good things about it and I will be able to use it on existing software. I am really happy that this course will teach me how to use it effectively.

 


Kevin Eaton – Network Consultant – Clinical Solutions IT, Technology Solutions

Kevin is a network consultant. He looks after the network for two data centres which host the application for the NHS and private health organisations, managing the connectivity to and from the hospitals that Capita supports.

Why did you decide to join the Corndel DevOps programme?

I was interested in DevOps before I was aware of the programme being available. When I noticed this as an opportunity via the Capita Academy, I thought this would be a great time to develop my skills set and personal interests. Having worked in networking for 15 years I was keen learn about DevOps and how this could be applied to my role and help my career develop over time.

How are you applying the learning to your day-to-day role?

Despite the fact that a lot of what we are learning doesn’t directly relate to networking, I have been able to apply my learning indirectly to the benefit of myself and the wider team. For example, most of the networking equipment that we use has APIs (a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other), and one of the things we have learnt on the course is that you can use the APIs to interact with each other. Therefore, I have been trying to weave that into my way of working. By using automation to connect APIs I have been able to complete tasks so much quicker! This has enabled me to become more efficient in my role. I am sharing this knowledge with my colleagues across other teams and departments too, to make their lives easier, so despite not officially working within a DevOps environment, we are now using DevOps practices.

Why do you think DevOps skills are beneficial?

As IT evolves and is part of everyone’s lives, the DevOps practice is very much geared towards automating and speeding up the mundane tasks and reducing the errors that can occur by doing things manually; it’s all about automatic processes and streamlining things. This makes sense in most industries but especially where IT is becoming a part of everything. Those types of practices, making things quicker and less prone to error, not only speeds up processes, but it also makes our lives easier! Ultimately it means that organisations will have less errors, speed uptime to production, make more profit and have fewer issues to deal with.

What are you looking forward to the most for the rest of the programme?

I am looking forward to successfully completing the programme. The way the course is structured is excellent. It leads you through a path; every month there is something added to the skill sets. At the moment we are halfway through. Every month you can see how everything relates to what you learnt. Being able to learn new things and continue to develop has really helped me!