It was great talking to Wes Caldwell, CTO of Intelligent Software Solutions (ISS). ISS is helping propagate the DevOps movement in domestic and international government agencies to accelerate the development and delivery of applications and capabilities for federal government and military customers.
DevOps is inherently more efficient and helps companies — as well as government agencies — iterate quickly and be more Agile with product enhancements, faster integration, and more sustainable apps. This results in a better ROI for the agencies.
The most important elements for government agencies, much like private companies, to be successful with DevOps initiatives are:
Have the necessary tools to enable insight into the DevOps pipeline.
Culture of communication and collaboration.
Containerization and the ability to componentize and modularize previously monolithic code.
Microservices to enable breaking code into smaller and smaller elements.
The benefits of implementing a DevOps methodology is the delivery of products and solutions more quickly that are more feature rich, more Agile, more responsive, and portable across multiple platforms like AWS, Azure, Pivotal, and Kubernetes.
ISS develops in-house to optimize the process and then push into the customer environment. They see the adoption of DevOps methodologies at different rates but do feel like government agencies do have a greater incentive to work together to solve problems.
While there are concerns about the tooling, it's getting better with the adoption of containers. It will be interesting to see what happens to standards as more tech companies spin up and are acquired. As more agencies move to the cloud, there will be more automation with Chef, Ansible, and Puppet to stay on top of the momentum created by research and development to test and iterate so agencies can make more well-informed decisions, faster.
Wes sees all government entities ultimately moving to the cloud — most will be hybrid, though it will take time. Continuous delivery will improve over time and corporations will push into the government space to help solve business and public sector problems.
As per Wes' thoughts for developers, the bar has been raised with a full-stack development ecosystem. However, if developers learn the full-stack, the payoff will be huge. A full-stack developer will never be without work. Be open to learning new things and constantly reevaluate different tools. Be willing to learn, grow, and adapt.