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49 here, I'm not enjoying working in IT nowadays, I think it got old about 5 or 6 years ago. So I quit and I'm pursuing my own projects, doing some programming, and trying not to worry too much. I could have ground it out for a few months more in that lucrative contract I had, but just how long can I put up with being that bored?

Personally, if I have to go back to the circus, I'll probably aim for short contracts or part-time work. If you're looking to reskill, I see plenty of sys admin jobs out there. Except you're supposed to call them "Dev Ops" nowadays. Puppet, VMs, Vagrant, Ansible, cloud computing (Linode, Amazon, etc). It's a relatively small domain which is applicable to many different areas of IT, so you get that "good old days" thing where a little effort goes a long way.

Good luck with whatever you do. Don't let the demons of despair take you, make a deliberate effort to be optimistic and cheerful. You're not the only old horse out there wondering when it all became so complicated. OTOH, it's truly an incredible time to be alive, so much stuff going on!

I don't want to be a downer, but devops is definitely NOT just a new name for being a sysadmin. We've actively recruited for people who are not old fashioned jump-on-a-box-and-make-hot-changes sysadmins. They need to understand automated infrastructure and deployment through code, so it's not a small niche to just pick up easily. If it was that easy, everyone would be doing it and it wouldn't pay so well.

Sure it is. Don't the "DevOps" administer, provision, and manage your systems? Have you ever seen a unix guru who didn't have scripts and use automated tooling? And when a system fails (and they all fail eventually) the routine is the same no matter what you want to call it.

There are two kinds of DevOps.

You have DEVops... think of a web developer who also knows linux.

Then you have devOPS... think of a sysadmin who knows bash and python.

The former is where I think the value comes.. they find ways to automate your infrastructure and do lots of cool things. The later tend to make webs of bash scripts that you have to delete when they quit because no one understands them.

...yet when you start looking at how this automated infrastructure works, it turns out to be sloppily crammed together however the webdev happened to work, be very brittle, failing every now and then, requiring constant attention and adjustment, non-standarized with tremendous ramp-up time for anybody who needs to take over, and with components mingled together without any separation, so it couldn't be replicated somewhere else.

All that because the webdev was learning new Csharp.JS framework like dozen before, being too busy to learn how package system or daemonization or networking or RPC or SSH or push vs. pull architectures worked and what they are good at, or what tools and why a seasoned sysadmin uses for automation.

What you really need is not a dilletante armed with sharp and pointy PHP-du-jour, but a system programmer. There used to be such a profession, the guys who wrote syslog, init, bash, grep, awk, libnss, and tons of other goods people today either use without much thinking or don't know existence of at all.

You basically just argued there is no such thing as devops, just developers and system administrators.

Next thing you know, he's going to be telling you that your 360" review is actually a yearly review, that your scrum master is actually just a team lead, and that your gluten-free bread is actually just a rice cake with sugar. These old-timers sure do get some funny ideas.

At one company our "unix guru" didn't bother to set up anything like ganglia so when the server's disk got full and brought down the product he looked like an idiot...

Maybe it's good vs bad but it happens. In the puppet/chef era I'd have said you needed to have a background in coding to be a good devop, but ansible has changed that now I think.

You haven't lived if you haven't filled a disk at some point.

While true, this doesn't make for a good excuse to let your employer's server go down when its disk fills.

Hindsight is 20/20. Plus, you learned from his mistake and now, anywhere you go, you can remind the unix gurus to prevent that type of thing from happening.

On top of that, there needs to be some Dev to go with the Ops. I've seen some guys who come from a great SysAdmin background that are used to some Powershell or Bash but get utterly lost with Chef or Puppet. Not just that but the overall package of scripts is just messy and very hard to maintain.

That being said- I'd rather have someone transitioning to DevOps with more SysAdmin experience than Dev- the cleanliness and composition can be learned a lot faster than the networking, security, and other topics that most Devs have never had to maintain first hand.

"I'd rather have someone transitioning to DevOps with more SysAdmin experience than Dev- the cleanliness and composition can be learned a lot faster than the networking, security, and other topics that most Devs have never had to maintain first hand."

Totay agree. It's a lot easier to pick up enough Ruby to be comfortable with Chef than it is to learn the thousands of different things about networking and security - and probably the OS your average developer has been using for a long time too - that a good sysadmin knows.

We used to distinguish the jump on the box kind vs the write automation kind as amateur vs professional...

This is hilarious. What do you think good sysadmins were doing before "devops"? Just hacking around cowboy style? Everything old is new again.

Yeah. Just writing their own custom stuff. It's partly about standardisation. Using a standard web framework means transferable skills which makes it easier to find and on-board staff. Devops is the formalisation of the same thing for ops, i.e. standard tools instead of just chucking together bash scripts however you please.

Just in your reply you've mentioned half a dozen technologies that have only really spring up in the last half-decade. Given this appetite for churning technologies and techniques, it hardly seems like the ideal sector to sunset a career on.

I don't think OP was talking about "sunsetting his career", just that options look limited, so I was trying to suggest some. As for those half dozen technologies - they're not that difficult, which is why I mentioned them.

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