Why Liberal Arts Thinking Is Key to DevOps and Agile
Acquiring a 360-degree view and understanding of the customer will result in a drastically improved customer experience.
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It was great speaking with Joe Vacca, Chief Marketing Officer of Revature (a technology talent development company that is addressing skill gaps with engineers). In today’s environment where there is one computer science graduate for every 10 liberal arts graduates, we need to look for opportunities to address the skills gaps of the liberal arts graduates, as well. To this end, Revature has an online platform that enables people to learn how to code.
Based on my recent interviews with IT executives, we know there’s a dearth of data analyst talent and that few companies understand the questions to ask and how to find the hidden gems in reams of data that will solve business problems. Joe pointed out that the proliferation and availability of automation tools are enabling everyone working to solve business problems to be more creative.
DevOps in the organization enables business professionals to build, test, and deploy solutions on their own to address a business problem. It’s important to understand what drives marketing, operations, and finance, as well as how to leverage that knowledge in order to come up with the right solutions. A DevOps approach, along with basic business skills — like those possessed by students with a liberal arts background — will lead to a more fluid and productive process that will drive the entire organization forward. The more perspectives that people have looking at a problem, the more creative the solutions developed to solve the problem will be.
If you provide a path for new voices in the programming and data analytics world, you will see more people pursuing those careers. Making business discussions more interactive with many perspectives represented will result in fewer mistakes, better code, and more people taking ownership of the process to ensure its success.
Joe also raised the ideas that for developers and engineers, soft skills are a big part of the training that Revature provides. This includes effectively communicating, working as a team, and understanding what everyone is saying so you end up with the same end goal. Revature works on two fronts:
Role playing how to work on teams (large, small, and diverse).
Understanding the various aspects of the company (like finance, marketing, manufacturing, and operations).
Developers are forced to use their soft skills by making several presentations and going to Starbucks and engaging a stranger in a conversation for at least two minutes. After three months of training, the developers have a totally different personality than when they initially entered the program.
Even with this training for developers, with the exponential expansion of data and tools, corporations are forced to find individuals with non-technical backgrounds that can fill certain positions. The winners will be those companies that embrace a DevOps culture while also embracing individuals with different backgrounds.
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