You may have engineering talent on staff but how full are they? Because you must have a full stack engineer, or you’ll never get anything accomplished. What is a full stack engineer? Why are they so in-demand? And why are there no full stack lawyers? Or full stack doctors? In this episode, we discuss whether or not Full Stack Engineering is a Joke.
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We really need to get our heads out of the sand here and face some harsh realities. Our corporate IT department manages some 5000 servers in our main data center. We’d like to think that we provide services that matter to all parts of the business right? The reality is that cloud plays a larger role in many organisations than we’re willing to recognize and doesn’t require our skillset (even though we keep convincing ourselves they do). In fact, corporate IT is generally considered an impediment to what cloud can do for those that consume it.
2017: 15.000 Cloud instances
2018: 165.000 Cloud instances
2019: 256.000 Cloud instances
2022: Your guess is as good as mine.
Do you think these business teams rely on traditional IT to setup a VPC/VNET or connect their instances to cloud storage? Our corporation consumes over 60 managed services in the cloud. How many of these are managed and provisioned by corporate IT? less than 1% !!
This is what full stack engineers do. They are software developers that provision the required infrastructure in minutes so the business can focus on developing to what contributes to the business’s bottom line. These consultants get hired by the business and R&D teams to work on a product line with only one objective in mind. Getting to a MVP that they can bring to market in the fastest way possible. Trust me when I say that quality and security are table stakes here. We can’t even bring ourselves to provision a new cable in less than a week. Do we really think they’re going to sit around and wait for us while struggling to cut through all the red tape we invented to make ourselves feel compliant and process driven? Many would call them rogue, but the reality is that these teams are driven by secure software development frameworks, are SOC2 compliant, have checks and balances that drive quality in their CI/CD pipelines. They’ve got this stuff figured out and we could actually learn a bunch from them.
So do we matter? Absolutely.. but realize that we’re an institution that focusses on: Operational Excellence, Cost optimization and security/compliance. While these are important because every dollar of revenue flows through the systems we manage and every order that gets picked relies on them, we don’t sufficiently recognize and adapt to what other parts of the business needs.
The business’s focus is innovation, speed / agility and value / results. How many of those business’s objectives can you honestly say that your corporate IT department supports? Can you stand up a data lake in < 1 week? Can you provision HPC workloads or scale Kubernetes clusters globally when requested? Wether we like it or not, we operate at the bottom of the value chain and therefor don’t get the same executive visibility (and arguably support) as the teams that develop the new capability that our next customers will buy. Those teams will continue to get funding for staffing to meet their objectives/timelines for as long we don’t adapt.
So what did we do? We pushed ourselves into the cloud as well. Build our corporate connectivity into the cloud worldwide, moved VPN for employees and business partners there, our corporate internet access can break out in the cloud fully secured, those workloads I mentioned above are now mostly behind our corporate managed agile security infrastructures. We closed 2 data centers and are working on closing the third. Our impact when we went from a 20% to a 100% remote workforce = ZERO. Why? Because we could scale our VPN capabilities horizontally which was already cloud-based.
Now Amazon has invited everyone to use/abuse their backbone as a corporate backbone through their latest cloud wan offering and they’re essentially trickling into the service provider space.
Let’s wake up to reality.