Career Devops With Jeff Hackert

Posted on Thursday, Jun 25, 2015
In this episode, Jeff Hackert discusses developing your career in DevOps.

Show Notes

Jeff’s background includes 30 years of experience working in people management. Specifically in developing the management skills, and careers of Software Engineering teams. He now works at Chef as the Director of Learning Experiences.

What is Career Development

Just thinking about career development in the workplace is not very common. Jeff discusses statistics around the specifics of Career Development and implementation strategies. For example, in one study, more than 60% of respondents said that Career Development was of “little to no” importance to their current employer. Less than 5% of employees at some organizations surveyed receive any career feedback from their current bosses.

Jeff: There are different approaches people usually take as they grow into their careers. The first is a “go with the flow” approach which can cause issues when leadership skills are not developed in response. A second approach is more proactive in which you plan out and describe your career and where you would like to go in the future.

What do you do?

The panel discusses their own careers and their attempts to summarize “what you do,” their weaknesses, and their strengths. Especially if the description is to be seen by the entire organization. Can you brag? Should you be vulnerable? For some, listing strengths as an engineer can actually be more difficult than listing weaknesses.

Jeff: “It’s a huge act of vulnerability to say who you want to be in an organization”

Jeff: “Every Engineer is responsible for their own career development […] and you are 100% responsible for the career development for every engineer on your team”

Can you be the Director of Flowers?

The group discusses the merit of titles and how relevant and useful they are within an organization. Jeff: “Titles don’t matter, and they absolutely matter.”

Ultimately, titles should be descriptive of what you want to do in that position and are indicative of positional authority more than anything else.

Management is not for everybody.

“It’s Not a Promotion - It’s a Career Change” — Lindsay Holmwood (

Matt: “I don’t like managing people that’s not my thing.”

Jeff: Performance management is not the same as Career Development. Often, when Software Engineers get promoted to managers, coding becomes a secondary responsibility and People Management becomes a priority. For some, this is not the trajectory they want for their careers, and that’s ok. Providing context for feedback and guidance is a great way to identify these mismatches between current position and where someone wants to be.

Jeff: Using analytics “Project Oxygen” from Google describes 8 qualities of a good manager. ( )

Jeff: “The Beatle Book” - Ken Schwaber ( )

Trevor: Doing an emotional check-in to describe your current emotional state is a powerful management and communication tool (from the Core Protocols by Jim McCarthy -

Jeff discusses the usefulness of check-ins on every level within an organization.

You know you have a good manager when: 1. They expresses real concern with your career development, separate from quality conversations. 2. They create opportunities for you to realize your goals. (or at least get closer) 3. They have your best interest at heart.

…and then there’s the checkouts:


Jeff Hackert

Jeff Hackert

Engineering Development at Chef.


Matt Stratton

Matt Stratton

Matt Stratton is a Transformation Specialist at Red Hat and a long-time member of the global DevOps community. Back in the day, his license plate actually said “DevOps”.

Matt has over 20 years of experience in IT operations, ranging from large financial institutions such as JPMorganChase to internet firms including He is a sought-after speaker internationally, presenting at Agile, DevOps, and ITSM focused events, including DevOps Enterprise Summit, DevOpsDays, Interop, PINK, and others worldwide. Matt is the founder and co-host of the popular Arrested DevOps podcast, as well as a global organizer of the DevOpsDays set of conferences.

He lives in Chicago and has three awesome kids, whom he loves just a little bit more than he loves Doctor Who. He is currently on a mission to discover the best phở in the world.

Trevor Hess

Trevor Hess

Trevor Hess is a Partner Solution Architect focusing on Microsoft at Chef Software, working with Microsoft to ensure that Chef is delighting customers and prospects on Windows and the many parts inside Azure!

Coming from a background in .NET Software Development and consulting, he has worked with several large multinational organizations to help kick start their journey to the cloud and the world of DevOps practices and principals. He is excited to engage in new experiences, and learning opportunities.

Trevor enjoys having hearty discussions about DevOps as well organizational change and transformation.