Friday, 28 October 2016

Weeks 7-8 at QA Consulting: Docker, Interviews, Deployment

Like many DevOps tools, Docker uses adorable mascots to lure developers into a false sense of security.

If there's one thing I'm looking forward to in the near future, it's not Halloween or Christmas or even the prospect of finally being paid for my work. No, I would say that I'm most looking forward to next Sunday morning, because that's when the clocks go back and I can get an extra hour's sleep. My workload is showing no signs of lessening, which coupled with my body starting to develop a tolerance to caffeine means I'll take all the extra sleep I can get. (Having said that, it is currently well past 11pm as I am writing this. I don't claim to be a sensible man.)

The word "deployment" is one that has come up a lot in the past couple of weeks at work, and in two very different contexts. The first case is in the course of my latest DevOps project (not a group project this time, surprisingly enough). We have moved on at last from our Puppet projects and started working with Docker. Docker is similar to Puppet in that it's used to automatically set up tools on a system, but does so on a single machine in a lightweight and self-contained fashion. I find it more enjoyable to use than Puppet for the most part, but there's still a lot of trying to fix errors so obscure not even Google can help you. (No doubt I will one day have to use Puppet to set up Docker and the whole thing will come full circle like some kind of bizarre DevOps ouroboros). The "deployment" part I mentioned comes in one of the tools I've been trying to set up, Urbancode-Deploy. I say "trying" because I've been having so many problems with this piece of software in particular that I am now convinced it has become self-aware and is actively trying to prevent me from installing it.

The other type of deployment that's been mentioned a lot recently is in relation to consultancy in general. Two of the maximum three months of training have now gone, and that means it's time to start preparing to be sent to work with clients. Several mornings this week have been dedicated to interview preparation and techniques, and more recently we have started taking mock interviews. As far as I'm concerned, I have no trouble answering any technical questions, but my main issue is with body language: apparently I come across as far too nervous in an interview setting. I'd like to say that's not the case, but given the context of my last few posts I have a feeling that such a claim might not be particularly convincing. In all seriousness, I think the problem might be that my body tends to tense up whenever I'm trying to answer a question (more out of mental effort rather than panic), plus I have a bad habit of fidgeting for no real reason. For the time being I'm trying to work on my body language and posture, as well as improving my poker face. To be honest though, sometimes I feel as if trying not to look nervous actually makes me more nervous!

As for where I might be deployed, there have been some murmurings here and there about it (although it's probably still too soon to say anything for sure), but I will almost certainly be working in London. It's certainly a daunting prospect, not least because of the living costs, but also a bittersweet one as I was starting to get used to Manchester. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, since I always knew I wouldn't be here forever. I may or may not continue to update this blog after I'm deployed, depending largely on how much spare time I end up having between work and sleep. In any case, I will leave you with a common "curveball" question asked in job interviews: How do you fit a giraffe into a fridge?

(The correct answer is obviously to open the door, remove the giraffe the previous interviewer asked you to put in there and put the new giraffe in.)

- Sam

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