The Developers focus, the Team quickens
Today, we find that there is a common tendency in larger organizations for management and oversight of development projects to be given greater importance than the actual creation of value by people writing, iterating on, and shipping code. It’s not always the case, and sometimes the lowly developer might feel like he or she is a forgotten asset, an opinion with no basis. The C-suite’s focus on longer-term strategies can, however, sometimes lead to an over-emphasis on process and management, instead of real-world code creation. And that’s a problem.
This problem is not confined solely to software houses or development teams. Arguably spurious middle management layers can be found in public and private organizations all over the world, and those layers are often indicative of an over-focus on planning and process management. For the businesses whose lifeblood depends on the quality of its software output, isn’t it time we focused more on the frontline developer? After all, in today’s competitive IT climate, skilled developers are a resource that don’t come cheap, nor is top talent readily available. Maximizing a developer’s value to the organization must be right up there among priorities in getting the business working at peak efficiency.
If you ask many developers about efficiency and productivity, decision-makers may be surprised by the responses. Developers say that they only spend 11.5 hours a week, which equates to roughly 40% of their time coding for new features and improvements. The rest of their week is spent on non-coding activities such as maintaining internal tooling, setting up pipelines and automation, waiting for CI pipelines to run, waiting for builds and tests, or setting up development environments. If you add the integration of third-party solutions into the mix e.g., databases, security, API management, the developers’ productive time will be reduced even further. In short, there’s a host of other activities too numerous to list that are necessary to produce working applications.
Creating modular developer workspaces lets developers concentrate on just a few tasks to reach a specific outcome set, safe in the knowledge that aspects of the project like networking, database accounts, and security are being handled by complimentary microservices. Recently, we’ve seen an explosion of developer-focused container tooling, from BASH scripts that will create containerized sandboxes to IDE/editor plugins that help spin up containerized environments.
The issue here is that few tools abstract away much of the container-specific complexity that a production-ready Kubernetes deployment requires. Fortunately, a commitment to innovation is core to everything we do at SUSE and our solutions help developers address both container deployment challenges and developer productivity.
- SUSE Rancher, which is one of the most widely adopted container solutions, takes care of much of the cross-cutting concerns such as background administration, security, and deployment details that distract developers. It combines bespoke container-based development environments for both teams and individuals, so developers can concentrate on creating value rather than sweating the details.
- We all know that Kubernetes is complex. Yet it is possible to have a frictionless experience with it. Developers, both new and experienced, can use Rancher Desktop to easily create a lightweight Kubernetes development environment on their desktop machines and start coding with their favorite IDE such as Visual Studio Code. Extensions are available to ease the onboarding of new team members. Here you create custom development environments that run consistently across developer machines.
While developers are arguably some of the most creative and talented in the IT industry, they too need to keep up with the times. Hence, the growing need to provide opportunities to upskill and retrain in development teams. For example, not all coding languages are eminently suitable for cloud-native development. New kids on the block like Go and Rust are good to go, but old hands like Java, C, and C++ are arguably less so. Getting teams up to speed with containerization technologies and approaches includes a certain amount of brushing up on microservice-focused languages, libraries, and frameworks. However once equipped and with solutions such as SUSE Rancher and Rancher Desktop, a developer’s ratio of code-to-cruft will ramp up, making both individual developers more productive and focused and teams faster to reach production with their projects.
About the Author
Vishal Ghariwala is the Chief Technology Officer for the APJ and Greater China regions for SUSE, a global leader in true open source solutions. In this capacity, he engages with customer and partner executives across the region, and is responsible for growing SUSE’s mindshare by being the executive technical voice to the market, press, and analysts. He also has a global charter with the SUSE Office of the CTO to assess relevant industry, market and technology trends and identify opportunities aligned with the company’s strategy.
Prior to joining SUSE, Vishal was the Director for Cloud Native Applications at Red Hat where he led a team of senior technologists responsible for driving the growth and adoption of the Red Hat OpenShift, API Management, Integration and Business Automation portfolios across the Asia Pacific region.
Vishal has over 20 years of experience in the Software industry and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
Vishal is here on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vishalghariwala/