Employee story: build management / DevOps



Saied, how long have you been working at adesso insurance solutions?

I have been working at adesso insurance solutions since the beginning of 2016 and before that I worked at adesso AG since January 2013. Okay, so it has been awhile! And do you still feel good here? Very good. What is your job title here? Well, I am a senior software engineer, but I work in the build management, DevOps department.


And what did you study for that?

Medical computer science.


How do you go from medical computer science to an IT service provider for insurances?

I did not have much knowledge of computer science after my studies and I wanted to improve myself here. I wanted to develop myself a little more and get to know the processes. But I liked it so much that I never again thought of returning to my original area of medical computer science.


Now you work in the DevOps department. What exactly is that and what are your tasks there?

DevOps is a relatively modern term that describes the interface between development, operation and quality assurance in the lifecycle of a software. One of my tasks in the DevOps department is build management. As a build manager, I am responsible for entering and maintaining the continuous integration and continuous delivery systems and keeping them up to date. I use a few tools for this that ensure every developer can provide feedback regarding the quality of their code. This means one developer programmed one part and commits this to the partial code. After the commit, the quality assurance and build management tools are used. They check if everything is working and if the "puzzle pieces" fit to the overall picture. In technical language, we talk about the evaluation of the code quality and integration. The objective of all this is for artifacts – our product – to be delivered to the customers in a clean and good state.


Are there certain programs or languages that you work with?

As I said, I work with different continuous integration tools, maintain them and I am also the system administrator for them. For tools like Jenkins and Nexus and Sonatype. Furthermore, we started with the "Docker" topic about half a year ago and integrate the containers in our CI and CD process. We use Docker, for example, to bring the development environment to the developer computer as quick as possible and in a reproducible state. "Infrastructure as a code" – a term that we emphasize.


And what programming languages do you work with?

None directly. Well, I pretty much haven't programmed anything since the end of 2013. But now I work a lot more with script languages like Jenkins Pipeline, Vagrantfile, Dockerfile and so on.


Don't you have to be able to do Java?

Java is nice to have, but you don't need it. I always get a report from the tools that I work with. I have to be able to read and understand the report. But not in detail. When I read it, I know what the problem is and who I should contact. Are we responsible for the problem or the developer or something else? I can assess and describe this.


What does a normal day of work look like for you?

First I get to work, then I make a coffee. (laugh)... Yes, and then there are projects that I am directly responsible for. First of all, I check our codes to see if they are functional. If they are, then I am happy and if they aren't, then I look to see where the problems are. Then I decide if I can fix it myself or who I have to delegate it to.


That means you also repair things yourself sometimes?

If the problem is not in the development, but rather the configuration or something cannot be achieved. I can fix problems like that.


In your opinion, what is the difference between the tasks of a typical build manager and a build manager here at adesso insurance solutions?

I don't know. I have never worked as a build manager at another company. If we heard about new technologies and we speak with architects or project managers and tell them that we think it would make sense to use these technologies, then this is done without any great inconveniences. I like that a lot. Furthermore, we always have the possibility to attend training sessions about many new and modern topics, such as the Docker topic, which I also like.


adesso insurance solutions develops several programs now. Which one are you working on?

I am not working on any certain product, but rather on the framework and therefore actually on all projects. I maintain the central position with all the artifacts that are delivered to the customers as well as the communication between the projects and customers, meaning technical communication. I make sure that the customers get the artifacts that they need. And that is why there is no specific project, but rather I support all projects with the DevOps tasks, which is why I fit into the cross-section architecture team. But there are also individual build managers for each product. They also have contact to me.


What do you like most about your work?

What I like the most is that I wake up in the morning and I look forward to going to work. I appreciate that. And I don't want to miss having this feeling. This mixture between modern technologies and human contact, my colleagues, that is what makes the complete package very attractive to me. And as the cherry on top: the seminar trips that we do every two years, the Christmas parties, the training sessions, the diversity and these flat hierarchies, I like all that a lot as well.


That means you don't regret taking on this job?

No, quite the opposite.


In conclusion, tell me a funny story that happened to you here.

Hmm... well, the rooms in the old office in Dortmund used to be named after German cities. And we had a certification there. The trainer was an external provider and the location for his meeting was "Berlin", because the meeting was planned for the Berlin conference room. Half an hour after it was supposed to start, he called and asked, "Where can I find you in Berlin?" - "No! We are in the "Berlin" room!". Then we had to wait the entire morning until he took a taxi to the airport and flew to Dortmund. Luckily, we still managed to get some work done.


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