DevOps Journeys: Tom Clark

03/04/2017   DevOps Journeys  

As part of our DevOps Journeys series, we spoke to Tom Clark, Head Of Common Platform at ITV, about his experiences with DevOps.

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What does DevOps mean to you?

Collaboration. Breaking down the traditional silos between teams, learning more about each others' domains so we're more effective. People often say "automation" and it's certainly an aspect - but it's just an example of one team learning a skill from another and applying it to their own domain.

What was your first experience of DevOps like?

In 2007 I was at a startup, and the dev and sysadmin teams were next to each other. That helped us learn about each others' domains through osmosis which led to better systems and software. It was a great way to work... I only wish we'd coined a catchy name for it!

If you could give yourself some advice when you first started your DevOps ‘journey’, what would you say?

Start small, think big. Run an MVP that demonstrates the benefits quickly, then use the data from that experiment to convince more people to give it a go. Eventually you'll build enough momentum that even the naysayers won't be able to resist.

What's exciting you within the DevOps space at the moment?

Containerisation. We use it regularly in development, but I'm looking forward to seeing it mature further so we can use it in production via an orchestrator like Kubernetes. I'm also watching serverless/lambda architectures mature with interest.

What challenges are you seeing at the moment?

Hiring - recruitment and retention. There's huge demand with little supply at the moment and money's not enough - you've got to tick all the boxes and keep ticking them. We need a "Makers Academy" for DevOps to get smart and kind people who want to enter our industry up to junior level quickly - we can take it from there.

What do you think the next 'big thing' in the DevOps world will be?

Security. We're moving faster and faster, and if the security world doesn't keep up we're going to be in a bad place. DevSecOps is a great response to this problem.

What are your predictions for DevOps in 5 years?

Further blurring of the lines between "dev" and "ops". I think all DevOps/Platform Engineers will be "Infrastructure Developers" within five years.

I've spent 15 years working with technology across a number of sectors, from manufacturing with Jaguar Cars to media with the BBC, Global Radio and most recently ITV. During this time I've held senior/lead positions in several disciplines, including engineering, development and architecture.

I'm now Head of Common Platform at ITV, responsible for growing the next-generation cloud hosting platform that underpins all of our key applications. I'll always be technical, but now my day job is managing and developing the team of "smart and kind" engineers that build, maintain and evolve the platform.