4 min read

We're looking for the new member to join the devops team of the BBC's digital archive project, the role is a split of soft and technical skills and is essentially a "devops engineer/ release manager" position. Experience has taught me that devops is a notoriously difficult thing to recruit for so I'm widening my search by posting here as well as using all the usual routes.

What follows is a summary of the characteristics that I'm looking for, I'm not expecting to find someone who fits all of these but hopefully they should give you a good insight in to what I'm after.

So then here's what I think you might be like...


You may have worked as a full time developer in the past (you may still do so). You are probably somewhat of a programming polyglot and are definitely well versed in Java applications and their various containers (Tomcat, Jetty etc). You probably understand design patterns and have a passion for TDD and use this knowledge wherever you can when working on devops problems. If you have worked with Java in the past then you're probably more interested in Spring, Groovy and Grails than J2EE and other 'enterprisey' things which are inherently difficult to use TDD techniques against.

You are well versed in several scripting languages, notably Ruby, Bash and Perl

You don't like doing things by hand more than once or twice, you know what inconsistencies this can cause and prefer to automate using tools like Puppet, Chef, Ansible and Capistrano.

You hate technical debt with a passion, but rather than seeing it as an annoyance which you don't enjoy fixing you relish the challenge of working it off, improving things, reducing build times, making deployments more robust and reliable.

You have a dislike for proprietary software and have a love of open source. You have a broad working knowledge of many reliable and popular open source projects. You also know when to avoid certain projects because they're too immature or could lead to a support nightmare due to lack of community.

You like tools like Vagrant and love the fact that you can use Vagrant's provisioners to test changes locally before deploying to development environments (which will inevitably break if you can't test changes locally first).

You have a website/ blog which you set up as a technical experiment which may or not receive as much love as you know it should. You may spend some of your personal time learning and playing with new tech. You may have a github account and may have contributed to one or more open source projects.

You are a dab hand with source code control systems, you've definitely used Subversion and have probably used Git. You've taken the time to read the relevant documents and are competent at branching and merging in both.

You understand SSH to the extent that you can set up SSH config and SSH agents. You know how to use private and public keys.

You have high development standards and hold your self to these. You take pride in your work, you plan it, you don't just hack your way there (Although you've probably done a lot of hacking about in your time, but you know when to hack and when not to).

You may use a Mac or Linux operating system, hey you might even run Windows, and you take your Laptop everywhere with you. Given the choice you would rather use your own laptop than a boring sanitised enterprise desktop machine.

Personally (Soft Skills):

You are an organised person and are used to context switching between tech and non tech work. You are probably an outgoing person and enjoy working collaboratively, you enjoy pulling together the various pieces of the release and deployment puzzle and getting everything prepped on time for releases. You accept that releases sometimes contain more manual steps than you'd like but have a desire to move towards a continuous deployment model (and the skills to help get there).

You enjoy working in a fast paced environment or one where it sometimes feels like you need to wade through a little treacle in order to get where you want to be, because you know the feeling of getting there will be worth it in the end.

You favour agile methodologies (Scrum, Kanban etc) over traditional ones (Waterfall, Prince2 etc). Your preference is derived from experience of working in a successful agile team.

Boring stuff:

You are available for interview as soon as possible (ideally in the next couple of weeks). If all goes well and we agree that you will join us you will be available to start work on site at the BBC's White City campus in London within 1 - 4 weeks of offer. The role is intended to be a contract role however there might be an opportunity for it to be a permy role for those interested.

If much of the above sounds like you and you're interested in discussing the role further I would love to hear from you, so please drop me a line at edd-AT-eddgrant-DOT-com