First few weeks at Hallatek
“Supporter of testing tools, right-hand man of QA Engineers, preacher for code analysis tools, traveler, jack-of-all-trades of DevOps long before SW Engineering spat out that term describing what we were.”
So that’s what I was many years back before I parted ways with Nokia and moved on to do something else, mainly construction work and similar things.
But the spark for SW Engineering was still there and this became clear when I was able to attend ICT Camp by BearIT, a 3 month course/workshop intended for those who were changing careers and for those who had been out of ICT business for many years.
It soon became clear that although tools and methods had changed quite much but the underlying reality of SW Engineering had not. New stuff comes and goes and the business is all about learning new things and finding out what really applies to your way of working. The spark of this newly found enlightenment became reality when I started as a Cloud Infrastructure Engineer at Hallatek in the beginning of this year.
The first couple of weeks have been quite a rollercoaster! From setting up my environment and all required things in the home office to developing and actually provisioning solutions for a customer using Terraform and Terragrunt, tools for which I had only basic tutorial level knowledge beforehand.
And boy what a ride has it been. However, the sheer joy of something going up in the Cloud which you have developed and spent a lot of time on definitely makes up for having to twist your brain to spaghetti while studying tutorials, documentation and youtube videos, those moments of joy (and relief sometimes;) are one of the main reasons why we do these things anyway :)
Concerning learning and ChatGPT
“Scraping rust from old knowledge and learning (a lot) of new stuff”
Yup, that’s basically me today. Coming from SW QA, Tool support and CI/CD development background to IaC and all that comes with it is a new field for me. Sure, these things were there in some form before, but nobody referred to them with the term we use today.
Somehow this reminds me of my early days in Nokia when I started as a Support Engineer for test and analysis tools; Unit testing was barely mentioned in University let alone concepts like static or dynamic code analysis.
Learning materials and tools were very primitive compared to what we have today so the best and most up-to-date knowledge came from senior colleagues…which is still true by the way!
Fast-forward to present: Google search is running constantly on overdrive, Stack overflow has a new lurker resident, a part of me lives in Terraform documentation pages and the only problem with Youtube tutorials is picking up the good ones…the free and open sources with quality content are legion.
Also there is a new kid on the block; ChatGPT. Google search on steroids. So many social media posts, articles and whatnot have been written about it that I am not going to beat a dead horse, rather here are just a couple of live examples of using it when taking my first steps in modern DevOps world.
I did a Docker image packaging a few tools which are needed in production. Instead of spending time googling relevant examples, I fired ChatGPT up and boom, in a couple of minutes I had a valid Dockerfile which did the job. Obviously (as was pointed out to me by Paavo) it needed optimization, but that led to me learning a bit more about Docker in general and optimizing Dockerfiles in particular so I consider it a win ;)
The second one was Terraform spitting out an error message which had an obscenely long regular expression describing what was expected. Enter ChatGPT and within seconds I was able to find out exactly what was wrong with my code and how to fix it. I have used regular expressions before (and had to browse through documentation every time I used them), but they are exactly the kind of thing that fades to your long-term storage when you need them once in a blue moon and this is the kind of stuff ChatGPT really helps in.
That is if you have the knowledge and experience to ask the right questions and can tell if the answer holds water or not and here is where old experience kicks in; Knowledge might still be in cold storage, backed up in the dusty vaults of your brain but it will come back when needed.
Happy new year to everyone from Hallatek!