September 20, 2021
On this episode of the Humans of DevOps, Jason Baum is joined by Eveline Oehrlich, Industry Analyst and Chief Research Officer at DevOps Institute who leads the research of relevant and objective content creation. They discuss what the Upskilling Report is, why it’s important, takeaways from last year’s report, WFH challenges and the skills gap + more!
Eveline is also an Industry Analyst and Research Director at Research In Action. As a volunteer board member for CIO Whisperers and SageCircle, she shapes and helps to advance the technology industry in different ways.
Prior to these roles, Eveline held the positions at Forrester Research, New Relic and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. She has advised leaders and teams across small and large IT enterprises and IT Automation software vendors on strategy and challenges. She is the author of many research papers and thought leadership pieces and a well-known presenter and speaker within the IT industry.
The lightly edited transcript can be found below.
You’re listening to the humans of DevOps podcast, a podcast focused on advancing the humans of DevOps through skills, knowledge, ideas and learning, or the SKIL framework.
Eveline Oehrlich 00:18
Happy employees make happy customers, you can feel if there is a happy employee who you’re talking to, and so that I think is going to be a differentiator in the future.
Jason Baum 00:34
Hey, everyone, it’s Jason Baum, Director of membership at DevOps Institute. And this is the Humans of DevOps podcast. Welcome back to another episode. Today’s guest is not a stranger to the show. She was actually my very first guest, and I’m so excited today to be chatting with my colleague Evelyn Orlick. Evelyn is Chief Research Officer at DevOps Institute, where she leads the research of relevant and objective content creation that helps DevOps Institute’s members and their organizations accelerate transformation in the digital age. She’s responsible for all research products, including upskilling, skill books and additional thought leadership pieces. Evelyn is also an industry analyst and research director at research inaction. And she’s a volunteer board member for CIO whispers which just launched and sage circle. Prior to these roles, Evelyn held positions of VP and research director, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, Evelyn, welcome back to the podcast.
Eveline Oehrlich 01:34
Yeah. Hi, Jason. Great to be here. Again, I’m feeling honored to be there for a second time. Thank you.
Jason Baum 01:41
Yeah, you’re the first repeat guest that I’ve had. And you know, we wouldn’t have invited you back unless we liked you the first time. So I’m obligated to say we work together. So I’m obligated to say that no,
Eveline Oehrlich 01:52
you’re nice. You’re no,
Jason Baum 01:53
no, I’m just kidding. And you’re here to talk about the exciting 2022 upskilling. It survey. And obviously, the survey then becomes the upskilling it report. So are you ready to get human?
Eveline Oehrlich 02:08
Ready to get human? Absolutely.
Jason Baum 02:11
Awesome. So why don’t we just start by telling us a little bit about what the upskilling report is?
Eveline Oehrlich 02:17
Yeah. So this is our fourth round. This, again, as you said disposal survey in a report. In this survey, we are doing a variety of digging into things we’ll talk a little bit about later. But the outcome of the survey really is a report, which gives us details from a variety of individuals. It’s the longest and first of its kind, really, and if we think about skill, and the state of skills, around independent views into the must-have skills and capabilities of modern high-performing technology organizations. I think again, as I said, the research is based on the survey. And in the survey, we asked about different topics and capabilities, such as humans, capabilities, frameworks, methodologies, technical, functional and leadership capabilities, which are all needed today. As you know, we’re all in this digital transformation. And that’s essentially what the report will be like in the round. And the survey is, is to dig into what folks are requiring and needing it
Jason Baum 03:29
sounds like that information is pretty crucial to making decisions. So I mean, we kind of just talked about a little bit, but why is the survey so important?
Eveline Oehrlich 03:38
Yeah, we of course, have some idea in terms of what skills and capabilities are necessary. But we don’t want to just take ourselves as the answer, right? We want to make sure that this is founded, research, and data’s supported, which is quite important. And that’s why we’re asking for different roles. We have roles of developers, we have leaders who have individual contributors. We have different enterprises of different sizes, we have different regions. And there are some differences across these topics. from a regional perspective or from a role, you know, what a leader might think, in terms of what capabilities individuals need, might be very different or I know for a fact it is very different in some cases than what individuals think. And that’s why we believe that survey-based is is the best way to actually find the details.
Jason Baum 04:34
Ski you take us through some high level takeaways, maybe from last year survey.
Eveline Oehrlich 04:40
Yeah, there were some interesting findings and again, as an analyst and as a research director, I found quite a few things intriguing. So the first one really was that the frameworks and the different methodologies which are out there DevOps, agile, agile, at scale, ITSM, etc, etc, they actually complement each other we asked for which of these were in use. And that is quite interesting that organizations are using many of those things in conjunction with each other. Second, we saw an incredible increase in adoption around a very specific one. And this is very near and dear to my heart. Around second reliability engineering, I actually used to be a system administrator way back when I was working at a very large technology company. And as a sysadmin, I never really caught the attention. But the site reliability engineering, which is a kind of a bridge between developers and operations, this type of practice has grown from the year before from 15% to 22%. That was quite exciting. Another one, which was is really important right now is just valid this concept of value stream management, meaning looking at the holistic delivery and development and design aspect of software, and understanding the end to end perspective, we’re realizing and we’ve seen that that particular practice has actually doubled. As a bit of a surprise was that AI artificial intelligence and machine learning business hard to save? Everybody made it to believe? Last
Jason Baum 06:25
kidding, I just heard that. There’s a, there’s a robot now that wants to have a baby. Terrifying if you’ve seen the movie Terminator, so
Eveline Oehrlich 06:34
I know I heard that too. But um, interesting that that that wasn’t really hot. Last year, however, I predict and again, remember, I like to bet bottles of champagne specific ones. I actually predicted this will change this year, we’re asking that same question. So I think this will go up because AI and ML machine learning has gained some acceptance. Another collaboration is human skills, I guess we also asked about the collaboration, and diversity and inclusion have risen in importance. And I think that has something to do with the pandemic. And we’re still we’re in it. And I think that it’s beautiful to see that particular collaboration in teams, and then diversity and inclusion, for obvious reasons.
Jason Baum 07:20
So do you think that like the ease of it, like, is it like maybe zoom in? Because we always talk about zoom fatigue? But in many ways, we’re on with our colleagues, potentially more than if you were just in your office?
Eveline Oehrlich 07:32
Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think it was easy for us to kind of meet them without really getting insights. And you see that within our own team made, how much have we talked, we almost have increased? That doubled? quadrupled? I would say so yeah, I think there was certainly the vehicles have gotten better also. Because zoom and whatever Google and all these different technologies are easy to use, and Wi-Fi has gotten better. So lots of reasons for that. The last one, just to mention quickly was a bit of a surprise. But also, most, most folks would say, well, I could have told you that. But we have these multiple skill categories. The year before, the human skill was number one in the skill category of in terms of the must-win, like he got the Oscar, well, this year, this last round, automation moves up. And again, because organizations in the pandemic had a lot to do with that we had to really do a lot of automating of things because we really were remote. And we didn’t have that much, you know, time to actually focus on some other things. So I think that has something to do that the automation accelerated in many of the teams as they work from home.
Jason Baum 09:01
So you mentioned working from home, we kind of touched on it a little bit. You know, how else do you think the pandemic changed? You know, upskilling.
Eveline Oehrlich 09:13
We just had a conversation about that amongst all of us at the DevOps Institute. And I think it’s challenging. When you’re at home. We have this aspect of work-life or actually I like to call it Life work balance ride. Weaving at home makes it very difficult, to balance life and work even more so than before. And when we think of upskilling, or re-skilling, I’ll talk a little bit about these different terms in a bit. But if you think about that, it has, it has not allowed us to do that. Because again, the amount of time people are actually investing in the temp depends on the region actually it’s very different for us. Europe versus the US. But the amount of time and when people upskill or rescale themselves when they do it themselves, or focus on it is, is limited because now we cannot just always work because that’s, I think the biggest challenge. We also know that Europeans for example, myself, don’t do a lot of we value our weekend, I think a little more. And I remember living in the US. And again, there was some data on that, living in the US, I did a lot more things on the weekend for work. In Europe, we actually value our weekend a lot more. And when I looked at some of the data from some other sources, it was not surprising to me that people don’t actually spend the weekend to do some kind of a course or do some kind of learning, they actually prefer to go golfing like myself. So that’s to that part in terms of working from home. And I guess I
Jason Baum 10:59
should have been European.
Eveline Oehrlich 11:02
Come on over. I
Jason Baum 11:03
Eveline Oehrlich 11:03
it. I’ll take you out. Yes, I know. But I think it’s a cult. I think it’s a cultural thing, Jason? Honestly, I have to say, I’ve been in the US for 32 years and moved back here to Europe, in 2017. is surprising how many years I’ve worked over the weekend. And here? I haven’t done so because of the pressure from my friends like we want to they want to do that. Okay, let’s do that. But there’s go back to the terms of upskilling. And rescaling? We know there is a tremendous amount of skill shortage, right. And interestingly, there are a variety of different things to think through there is a skill shortage, which really means that there is not enough manpower available for a specific industry, in this case for us in DevOps or in it, right. That’s the skill shortage. There is the skill gap, that’s a different thing, the skill gap is that you as an individual don’t have the existing skills or the skill set that the actual industry needs. So let me give you an example. A skill gap might be that, let’s take myself, I, myself, I’m an IT professional, I’ve done that for many years, I have the skill of COBOL, Pascal and C++ as a programming language. But today, if you think of modern environments, there is Python, which is necessary to actually program so I would have a skill gap in that right. So I would have to take some kind of a course or some kind of an upskilling job or single project to actually learn that. And so that’s important, we need to think about both skill shortages, the manpower which is lacking to be there to help and in jump into the technology, industry and digitalization, but also to improve the gaps and the skill gaps within individuals across technology human in so on, which we’re covering in the survey and in the report. And organizations need to do that both improving the skill gaps and closing them if possible, as fast as possible, and then working on and improving the skill shortage. Again, this is both the leadership and of course, the individual.
Jason Baum 13:31
So, so how are they dealing with those skill gaps? And I mean, we just talked about some of the challenges, right? There’s no time. I mean, we always say you joke like, you know, there’s no time in the day well forget the day, there’s no time in the week or the weekend unless you’re in Europe apparently. But, so, what can be done here what should individuals that are and how are organizations dealing with these skill gaps?
Eveline Oehrlich 13:57
Yeah. So, let me tell you something from last year’s research in terms of what we know. So, we know that 52% of the organizations or individuals we surveyed had no formal upskilling program or they were working on one. So that is the fact that that is of course, not good. So organizations need to present and have upskilling programs, which are suitable. But let me give you another data point, which is quite interesting. From not our research, but from some other research. 62% of organizations have actually offered online skill development, you know, digital skill development, but only 50% of the employees are actually using or have used these resources in the last 12 months. Now. We can say okay, we’ve had COVID Right, and we talked about that and we all were We talked a little bit about working from home. But I do think that it is not right. offerings, I think. And that’s what we’re trying to figure out in this upcoming research as well. Because there are different learning types. And there’s different ways to offer these programs. And again, that I think, is the challenging and the bit, that bit, which is disappointing, we can blame the pandemic for it. But if we look at the year before, it was actually 58% said that they didn’t have formal upskilling programs, so you get a little better, but not good enough. And so that’s, I think, the challenge. Now, companies like let me give you some examples, companies like AWS, Google, Microsoft, you know, the big guns, they have introduced some very interesting programs. So they have Center of Excellence is they have learning cubicles, think tanks, they’ve got coaching, they’ve got a variety of different programs, which they allow time for the individuals to actually attend these kind of sessions, which is great. And they’re measuring those programs, both the success of these programs, and the actual capabilities in deliveries and the skill, the skills thrive or let’s call it the skill toil. From a metric perspective, I think these are some ideas. And that’s what we want to get to understand. And of course, that’s the purpose of the report to say, here’s the type of capabilities and here’s what is needed in the future. Take that skill roadmap, and that skill path and that skill journey as a guiding, almost like a map to develop the skills. And then here’s how people are actually going to consume it.
Jason Baum 16:56
Yeah, thank you. I think that really helps to shape you know, what, what is the upskilling report how it’s used? And that’s really interesting about how, you know, the companies are offering these programs, but no one’s taking it. And I think you’re I think part of it is a huge piece is time. But then because everybody likes to focus on time, the quality and the type of program seems to be forgotten sometimes. Yeah. And so that, that makes a lot of sense. So tell us what’s different for 2022?
Eveline Oehrlich 17:28
Yeah, so the first thing we dropped, we change the title a little bit, it’s upskilling. It 2022 We used to be called upskilling, the DevOps enterprise or enterprise DevOps, we dropped the DevOps, because we don’t believe that this is just specific to DevOps, even though we of course, the DevOps Institute’s we’re broadening the perspective, we still look exploring the same capabilities in the skill areas, human technology, functional, etc, etc. But we’re striving really towards expansion and stuff. So when I said different and this, the cat capabilities are still the same, we’re also are exploring upskilling and rescaling practices, because we believe as the DevOps Institute, we want to help. That’s our mission, we want to help our members, our folks who are with us, that they can actually upskill themselves. So we want to look at what are the preferred frameworks? Is it? Like I said, is it peer learning? Is it digital learning? Is it expert coaching? Is it the Center of Excellence? Or is it a sink or swim to people? Like I used to learn? I used to sink or swim, right? So that’s, we want to explore that. And we also are digging into are people actually learning new skills? And are they applying them because that’s the other thing? One aspect is to offer. And then don’t take the offer, which we just said, which is actually happening. But the other thing is if skills are offered, can you apply them? Because that practice makes us all very good. If we use the skills, we actually can improve them. So that’s different too. And last, we’re looking for barriers, what are some barriers, we don’t, we can suspect that it is time or it is not the right type or it is not the right vehicle. But we really, I as an analyst want the fact what are the barriers for up in rescaling? And last, I really want to understand how many people are happy with their current roles, you know, happiness is quite important.
Jason Baum 19:36
I would say I would say so. Yeah. I mean, especially with the competitive nature of the job market right now where you can get, you know, you can work for anywhere in the world, right, with location no longer being a barrier. I would think that competition I would think the organization wants skilled employees as you usual, but that’s kind of, I think maybe the prioritization has become more important, would you say?
Eveline Oehrlich 20:05
Yeah, I think so. One thing we stress quite a bit in research, and when I speak to enterprises is happy employees make happy customers. And every, every one of us, you, me, folks who are listening in, you can feel if there was a happy employee, who you’re talking to, and have employees self-fulfilled, and he or she is, is strong in their skills, they feel comfortable, and to strive towards that excellence through their skills, and so that I think is going to be differentiator in the future. And as you said, we all can work anywhere, right? You don’t have to live in San Francisco anymore. You can live in Timbuktu, you can work from the beach of South friends. So there’s a lot of competition for people in demographics and individuals who have skills. And so it’s it goes both ways. There’s a lot of good things coming out of that. But there’s also some challenges coming out of it. And you’re
Jason Baum 21:11
doing, you’re doing a great job on this podcast making me want to move to to Europe, and now move features of France to
Eveline Oehrlich 21:17
Yes, I’m, I’m giving you my second. My second job is a part of the tourist office and board here, I guess.
Jason Baum 21:26
Yeah. Maybe don’t start that job just yet. Maybe once things have settled down? Well, I really appreciate it. So here’s the big question, then I guess, how do you participate in this year survey?
Eveline Oehrlich 21:38
Yeah, so as I said, The survey will open up in the last week in September. And you can either go to the DevOps Institute website, and there should be bright friend in the middle, you can participate in sign up for the survey, we have press releases this podcast, you just go to the long, long link, but if you just search for upskilling, 2022 podcast, you should be able to find the link somewhere. And if you cannot find it, I am on Twitter, I am on LinkedIn, I am on pretty much all of the social media platforms, just find me and I’ll help you to find the survey.
Jason Baum 22:22
Awesome. Thank you so much, Evelyn. You’re welcome. And you know, we always put our you well, you as you might remember, actually, we kind of put our guests on the spot with some of our questions that that are turned personal. And you’re probably questioning about what’s something that no one else knows about you? That we asked them the last time you were on? So now I’m going to ask you, what is the last upskilling thing that you’ve done for yourself?
Eveline Oehrlich 22:52
Ah, good question, Jason. I, I try. Yes, I just signed it. I haven’t done it yet. But I am signed up for a statistics course. Because when the data comes back from the survey in January, or end of December, I want to improve on my data science and statistics part. Because I felt some weaknesses last time. That’s what I’ve signed up for.
Jason Baum 23:21
I guarantee there are no weaknesses. But you sometimes you know, you’re, you’re more critical of yourself, right. So but that’s good. You should always strive to be better, but I’m sure there are no weaknesses. That’s one. And I’ll share mine. Cuz because now I’m doing one. So I am taking the DevOps Institute DevOps foundation course. And yeah, we’ll see. Maybe I’ll be certified in the next few months.
Eveline Oehrlich 23:51
Hey, that would be awesome. Congratulations. When you do it. There’s another bottle of champagne coming our way when we
Jason Baum 23:56
sound sounds great. And we do we really need an excuse at this point for a bottle of champagne. No, no, not really. No, Evelyn. Thanks again for being on the podcast for a second time.
Eveline Oehrlich 24:08
Thank you so much for having me a second time, Jason. Take care.
Jason Baum 24:12
Take care. Thank you for listening to this episode of the humans of DevOps Podcast. I’m going to end this episode the same as I always do, encouraging you to become a premium member of DevOps Institute to get access to even more great resources just like this one. Don’t forget the upskilling it survey goes out the last week of September. So be on the lookout for that. And until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and most of all, stay human, live long and prosper.
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