Hi! I'm facing the challenging task of growing our...
# general
v
Hi! I'm facing the challenging task of growing our Platform team. We're 5 currently and looking for 1-2 more. How do people go about interviewing and hiring for Platform roles?
a
What are your challenges at the moment? Finding candidates? Finding good candidates? What does that good mean for you and your team? As for questions I don't have them at hand, but I usually ask how they have improved their and peers work (workflows) and in what measure. I have interviewed some developers that setup their git hooks, CI workflows and sometimes CD workflows for their teams, so be it developer or systems administration background, I look for ways how they improved the experience for their team and if they pushed to standardize it for the whole company (and if they succeeded).
v
(wow this chat is fast!) The current challenge is finding skilled candidates in my market (SE Asia). I need to better define that good that you're talking about. I have this idea that a platform engineer should be able to support Dev teams with technical decisions, so I'm looking for strong core skills (networking fundamentals, Cloud/K8s know-how including orchestration and SDLC, HTTP, some security, some SRE). I'm wondering how systems design fits, and if it's at all needed. We need engineers to expand the self-serve features of our IdP, but I also need someone to tend to regular cluster maintenance and support/on-call. These are probably two different roles, so I'm also curious how people split between these two. If you have a Platform team, is it expected that they are supported by a dedicated Ops team? Ops roles within the Platform team? For context, we are a startup. I used to work for a larger org, so I'm used to leaning on/being on Ops teams, Incident mgmt teams, Security, IT etc. We don't really have any of that here 🙂
Anyway, love this and will steal it: "I look for ways how they improved the experience for their team and if they pushed to standardize it for the whole company (and if they succeeded)."
g
I am also tasked with creating a DevSecOps / Platform Engineering team. I find it hard to find skilled individuals from both the development world and the infrastructure world. I think I will need a balance of both and let them learn from each other.
r
@Vlad my suggestion would be look for Dev's with classic middleware background, they are more likely to be interested in Platform Roles than other Dev's. Ex/current middleware folks are more likely to have a broad understanding of what components a Platform entails đź‘Ť
g
By middleware do you mean devs that wrote code that ran on app servers (like JBoss) vs front end guys (like ReactJS) or back end DB guys ?
r
yeah exactly...
g
I don’t think those guys have a good understand of networking in my experience
r
i agree to that point.. but it can be learnt imho
g
But understand that maybe they don’t need to if there is someone else on the team that can cover that skill
So I need a diverse skill set across my platform engineering team
r
yes.. you need a bunch of specalists who are generalists or willing to be
g
How do Cloud Architecture guys fit into Platform Engineering? Or maybe they don’t fit in ?
a
I've led two Platform Engineering teams in 5 years, 7-5 members each. Only two were developers. Everybody else came from Systems Administration (DevOps, Infra) background or fresh out of college. I would say capacity to quickly get familiarity with making things run is essential, and everything else depends on specific traits you're looking to fill for your teams.
Architecture is good for the experience
r
for understanding yes.. but working? not sure
a
Architectures can follow a pattern, but sometimes you just make something cheap (without high-availability) that, surprise! It works and fills your needs for months or years
r
platform teams are very hands on, im my experience at least
a
It sounds unbelievable for some, but the more cognitive load you remove from developers, the better. If tests run by themselves, if changes deploy by themselves, if setting up new systems with just some parameters all by themselves, if alarms notify only when required or with growing trend by themselves, that's the magic you'll try to provide.
Hands-on people help because usually it's in them to fix the problem, either for the curiosity or the people's goodwill.
r
but platform teams are problem fixers 🙂
a
Sometimes there are no problems, you shouldn't let the team create problems with their new workflows. Always there to improve everybody's livelihood.
g
Sounds like that is a nice way of saying Architecture teams are not involved much ; ) . I was at a place where most traditional Architecture guys jobs were renamed to software architecture or they were let go.
a
If there are teams, welcome. Otherwise I'd hire a Senior/Staff with enough knowledge that's more hands-on
j
I would say what’s missing from every once description is the product experience and the ability together feedback in tight loops from your internal customers. And your ability to communicate to the customers not just the what, but the why and how. Really good listeners is really what you need on a platform team.
r
While most of us were talking about tech expertise needs, @Jennifer Riggins raised the perfect point of having a good communicator on the team, perhaps all teams must look at having a spokesperson of sorts on their team 🙂
g
Shouldn’t that be the product owner. This person has the vision of what stories are a priority based on customer feedback ?
r
well, Platform teams are Product teams, and product need good communicators, so the product owner can do that , then yea. no need for a "communicator"role
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