Apprenticeships, News, Software

National Apprenticeship Week learner stories: DevOps learners

12 February 2021 by Isla Lightfoot

The DevOps Engineering Level 4 Apprenticeship was approved for launch by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education in March 2020, in recognition of its significance as a methodology that will shape the future of software development and operations. 

Corndel was part of the trailblazer group of employers that created the Apprenticeship Standard and was the first provider in the UK to launch the programme in April 2020. To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week our DevOps Engineering learners from Softwire share their stories.

Joel Wee, is a Software Developer at Softwire. He explains what motivated him to embark on the programme: “The whole DevOps idea is that you make changes and push out code changes a lot faster. A significant benefit to me is the ability to identify whether my code is broken or if it’s the Development pipeline. This programme has taught me DevOps in a structured way. I have a much better conceptual understanding of how it all works, and I’ve learnt the building blocks. DevOps is an important part of most software developer tasks, so this knowledge is invaluable.”

Tim Woods is a member of the consulting department at Softwire in the same cohort as Joel. Halfway through the course he is already applying his new skills: “I am currently rebuilding a website for an insurance company. This involves integrating with the back end, getting designs from their designers. I am applying lots of DevOps practices –stand ups, sprint demonstrations every two weeks where we demonstrate to the client what we’ve done. In stand ups we have people from both sides there every day, touching base, so we can ask questions check people are actioning items.

“In another project I am migrating a website from a legacy hosting provider to Microsoft Azure - we used Ansible which is a fun deployment as code framework. This has enabled us to do the migration multiple times, check it all works, and migrate onto multiple environments with minimal conflict changes, so when we deployed onto their production infrastructure, we could be sure that it would work. Which it did. The testing and framework and iterative migration set up is DevOps. It has been great to learn and then apply my new skills.”

Becky Carter is also in this group of Softwire leaners. She has found the modules on continuous integration useful, covering tools and concepts that are used on the projects she is currently working on. Becky explains: “The benefit of this programme is that I have already had a formal introduction to the concept when it comes up and can therefore take on those projects instead of handing to someone else or having to learn really quickly. DevOps makes a project run much more smoothly. Large parts of the processes are automated – the alternative is manual work, which is slow and brings with it higher risks of making mistakes. It also makes projects nice to work on as a developer – you are far less likely to have human error impacting those important processes such as releasing code. Everyone is more confident and comfortable that things will generally run smoothly.”

Becky describes the course as “really well structured – for each unit you have reading material, followed by a workshop, a group call, and then a one-to-one call with your tutor. It’s great to have the opportunity to try things out with cohort colleagues during the workshop. Tutors are always keen to jump on a call to help you work through challenges and problems.”

Joel concurs, “It’s a very good programme and the resources are high quality.”

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