And here lies the problem.
We had "Ops" before. People would throw stuff over the wall from Dev to Ops, and now it became "Ops" problem. Operations would stonewall releases – because releases bring problems, and they want to keep things stable. Developers would push for releases, because that's what they are paid to do.
To solve this conflict, someone came with the idea of "DevOps". You don't have a split organization now, you have some developers in your team that can wear the "Ops" hat. That way, they experience production issues first hand, and that allows them to architect the application better – as well as ensuring it is thoroughly tested – noone wants to wake up at 2AM.
And, because they are developers at heart, they will do things to make their job easier and more predictable, like infrastructure as code. And heavy automation.
Somewhere along the way, people misread the whole idea, and now think that "devops" == Terraform or some other tool. Then they rebranded their Ops org as DevOps and hired a few automation folks and called it a day. Ops rebranded is still ops.
It was not supposed to be like that. If you have a "devops" team, you are not doing it correctly. Call it operations like it should be called. You may even have a dedicated team working on common tools or similar – which is fine – but you still need developers doing operations and ultimately responsible for their own shit, otherwise this is not devops.
> I got my start in this by working at a startup where we were responsible for everything just by the nature of the limited staff. I think that's how a lot of people in Devops get their start.
Yup. I got into that by trying (and ultimately failing) to launch my own startup. We didn't have dedicated operations folks, or time to manually tinker with servers, or to respond to repeated production issues. When you are sales, operations and engineering, you try your hardest to not have incidents (so that you don't lose customers), but you are trying to move fast to deploy features (so that you can sell).
To be fair, most ops people i know worth their salt have been automating since forever. Doing operations at scale and still staying sane is impossible without automation.
The largests issue in ops is that reality in production is usually far more messy then development. Some minor issue which can be easily fixed in dev by something simple (take a reboot of a service for example) can be a major pain in production because of several factors. Usually related to interdependencies or customer impact.
Also, production (especially on the networking/hardware side) is usually hard because of things like hardware failure, physics itself or simply human error. These gems for instance.
It's common to mistake DevOps meaning devs wearing ops "hats".