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What's the right role for someone who wants to deeply know some products enough to fix the code the right way, but doesn't want to be a dev? (Be a dev somewhere where maintenance is as valued as creation?)

I think SRE is what you are looking for. They typically know the product pretty well. The reason why they rollback rather than fix the bug immediately is that they want the outage to by fixed in minutes. Even if you spotted the bug immediately you would not have enough time to do the build, let alone run the tests.

I think that's about right. I think I just started doing work that sounds very much like SRE work to me: I'm building a CI pipeline, E2E tests and "Dockerizing" an existing Java-based project management product (currently only deployed as SAAS, but on-site deployment is in the backlog).

I'm trying to fully automate the testing side of the product, while making the process transparent enough to be amenable to manual intervention/quick tweaking.

After that, I'm hoping to move to automating the deployments, putting the server behind a load balancer, rollbacks, backup testing, all that good stuff that makes sure things only break where it can't hurt. Luckily the product is already pretty stable with the current dev/dogfooding-as-staging/prod model.

It's the most enjoyable work I've had so far. I think it mostly boils down to:

* I have clearly defined tasks, which I mostly plan in/negotiate with the product owner myself, so I have a large share of "ownership" of the dev/QA infrastructure improvements

* I work fully remotely and part-time, which gives me plenty of free time to socialize and decompress (we mainly communicate via Slack). I also have the option of working more hours, but I already doubled my

* I'm not currently on the critical path, so work feels low-stress

* I don't have to deal with under-defined business logic and product owners that do not want to commit to specifying (the product owner has transitioned from building the Java software to managing and subcontracting it, so is very knowledgeable about the product, and besides he's a great guy)

* I'm learning the tooling around the product through automating its development, testing and deployment (vs. learning it through adding crufty new features to it in a completely un-repeatable way, I'm looking at you never-again crashing Visual Studio Community and randomly-failing-builds Xamarin Forms).

Technical solutions engineering (TSE) may fit the bill, especially for more mature products. Think support on steroids, where you're empowered to fix the customer's problem.

Obligatory disclaimer: I'm one, and we're hiring ;)

Why do you not want to be a dev?

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