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I found it very interesting that Facebook apparently hired programmers for all its roles in the early days - even e.g. the receptionist. I think the point that this article misses is that a 'devops' person - that is to say, someone with both sysadmin and development skills, whichever side of the fence they originated on - can do the job better than someone who is "just a sysadmin" and incapable of programming. When you look at modern ops infrastructure like Puppet, you're looking at programs, written in programming languages, and it's foolish to pretend otherwise. So like it or not, you need to hire someone who can program to manage it. If you imagine you can get a cheaper non-technical ops person to handle this and save money, you're going to get inferior results.

I think this is going to happen to more and more careers. Already a profession like surgery or piloting a modern airliner is starting to require some of the skills we think of as programming. Software is eating the world - that doesn't make domain expertise irrelevant, but it means you need people with domain expertise and programming skills. That applies to non-programming roles in the software industry just as it applies to other industries.




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