Interview with Closing Keynote Speaker April Edwards

At Swiss Testing Day and DevOps Fusion 2022, April, Senior Cloud Developer Advocate and DevOps Practice Lead at Microsoft, will talk about how Microsoft embarked on their DevOps journey reducing a three-year release cycle down to three weeks. In this interview, she also shares personal insights on her journey into DevOps, how she thinks the field will evolve and why she is passionate about it.

What`s your journey into DevOps?

I started my career in Ops and moved into Dev. When I was working in Ops I had many challenges and experiences that drove me to find a better way to do things. Hence, how I found DevOps. Embracing the cloud was the big event that really kicked it off. I started working in Azure in 2013 and quickly started using Infrastructure as Code for end-to-end deployments. Not just automation that I had done working on-prem before. 

Where do you see the field going in 12 months from now?

There is a huge push for AI into our day-to-day work. Not only just automating, but also HOW we write our code. For example, when writing ANY code in VSCode, Intellisense helps me complete my lines of code with coding suggestions. Next up, we have things like GitHub CoPilot that uses AI to allow us to write better code and it can even write some code for us using known best practices. There is a lot of development around making developers’ lives easier and better so that they can enable us.

DevOps is always an ongoing challenge. I have been working in the Ops space more recently and the ITPros have the hardest and greatest amount of change when it comes to embracing DevOps. The time it takes to learn the new tech (i.e. IDEs, Source Control, Git, etc) is their first challenge. I have been writing some blogs and other resources to help this audience embrace DevOps.

What are your thoughts and pitfalls about scaling up DevOps in a growing company?

First, it’s hard. We need to find a way to scale with the growth of our company and build things for the future. That is always one of our biggest challenges in tech. When organizations grow, this is the best time to bring everyone on board. The culture change that needs to take place is 80% of DevOps (tooling and process are each 10%). Creating a culture that embraces change and encourages all of its employees to learn and grow. If a company can allow for growth and psychological safety, its employees will do well.

What messages can the audience take away from your keynote?

You’ll have to attend to find out 😉

 Who or what inspires your passion for DevOps?

I love seeing when people and organizations are successful. When they take that step into DevOps and start seeing the rewards, that is what keeps me doing what I do. In terms of who inspires, it’s really the community. Seeing the work they do and taking something they have learned and launching into a really amazing direction. I love seeing people embrace technology and so something beneficial with it. 

Last but not least: How many engineers does it take to change a light bulb?

5 to talk about it, 1 to do it 😉