A Day In The Life

Jake

DevOps Engineer

"My pet project has been our continuous integration and deployment servers. The fleet ensures that any changes or updates to the code are vetted and tested before rolling out to production. With all of our many developers making several changes a day, versioning and test coverage are extremely important. Unfortunately, the server requires hardened security and is not publicly accessible. "


What's the project you're most proud of? Can you share a link?

My pet project has been our continuous integration and deployment servers. The fleet ensures that any changes or updates to the code are vetted and tested before rolling out to production. With all of our many developers making several changes a day, versioning and test coverage are extremely important. Unfortunately, the server requires hardened security and is not publicly accessible.

What is the tech stack built upon?

Toast backend is a native cloud based service which deliver content to our handheld devices in the field. All of our server infrastructure is hosted in AWS, whereas our client infrastructure is primarily Android tablets and handhelds.

What's an example of a time you worked with another part of the organization on a project?

Shortly after I started at Toast I worked with our tooling team to create a setup script for our developers. The script ensures a fast, functional, and consistent environment for our developers to code in. The tooling team was invaluable since they already knew exactly what the final product should be and they had been manually doing this work beforehand. Working together, we completed the project in fewer than 24 hours.

What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

Our team has daily meetings where we share and decide on actionable, short-term tasks. This method ensures three things: that everyone always has something to do, that each day has a incremental improvement on the last, and that eventually we calibrate the workload we take on to what we can actually accomplish.

What's the hardest challenge you've had thus far in your job?

The most challenging aspect of working at Toast is keeping on top of all our new names and faces - I'm already bad at remembering. Once, upon returning from a week off, I found so many new people that I thought I had accidentally walked into the wrong office.

What opportunities do you think this role prepares you for in the future?

The interesting thing about DevOps in general is that it's both managerial and technical, and it has a finger in every pie. As part of my job, I need to code, but I also need to coordinate with engineers on other teams. I need to be familiar with their projects to a greater degree than most. The DevOps position is good coding experience, but also good administrative experience.

What are some of the interview questions you were asked?

I was primarily asked technical questions about my experience, such as demonstrating competency with AWS and configuration management tools like Ansible. The DevOps team within Toast was fledgling at the time, so much of the questions toward the end of the interview regarded recommendations I had for the future, like what responsibilities the DevOps team should take, and what practices I thought were best going forward.

What excites you about your company?

The culture here is inherently exciting. It's a very young crowd, where everyone is capable and talented in their fields.

What is your background and how did you end up in your current job?

This is my first "real job". Before starting here, I was a student and had worked various summer jobs. I found the DevOps position by meeting some of our senior engineering staff, including our CTO and my now boss, at a tech meetup here in Boston. I handed them my resume and got a call back the next day. The rest is history.

How did you prepare for the interview for this role?

I learned the field. My area of study was not computer based, let alone DevOps based, so I had to teach myself much of the knowledge required by the position. To teach myself, I used DevOps techniques to create my own AWS hosted applications.

What unique skills have you developed over time in your role and at this company?

I've learned so much it's impossible to say, but everyone who works here finds a niche for themselves where they succeed. My team only has 5 members as of now so I suppose one skill I've learned is how to divide up too much work amongst too few people.

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