Network monitoring and security have always been my interests. I was a security researcher at a university but was interested in exploring the field at a tech company. Finally, at Auvik, I found a company that cares about networking and security.
Auvik’s cloud-based network monitoring and management software helps IT teams’ efficiency and capacity while protecting the business from network risk. The software helps IT teams make their work more manageable, and that’s what I’m interested in doing within Auvik. Security is essential to our customers, our partners, and our employees. As a software developer who’s day to day revolves around safety, it’s nice being at a company that cares about those things.
Growing from the Data Acquisition team to DevOps
My first role at Auvik was on the Data Acquisition team, where I was focused on getting data from networks and making sure it would be modeled correctly. I was interested in improving our tools, and that’s what the DevOps team focuses on, so I started joining their meetings and learning more about their work. That’s where I wanted to grow, and my manager, Richard Bilson, encouraged me to join their team. When you’re passionate about your work, you must surround yourself with a group that promotes exploring those interests.
I feel more at home on DevOps. Now, I actively work towards making our tools easier to use for developers and our infrastructure safer for our customers. It was a shift to a different kind of security. In DevOps, I’m looking at our cloud networks and ensuring our internal services and employees can’t do anything unexpected or unintentional. It’s less like the security research I’ve done in past jobs, but more like “applied security.” I get to stretch my security muscles to help customers and colleagues and make their work lives easier.
Removing roadblocks and taking on security nightmares
The goal of the DevOps team is to improve things without anyone noticing. We work in the backend, making systems and infrastructure more efficient, faster, and more accessible for people to use.
One project I’m proud of was when we changed the backend for our continuous integration service, which required a complete change of how we were shipping software. The old system was a constant source of security nightmares and involved too many tools. It was difficult for developers to use, involved a lot of custom code, and was not well documented. So we switched to GitLab, which gave developers a lot more freedom. That meant a massive undertaking to change the internal team infrastructure, but for the most part, all this work wasn’t visible to the end user. Developers have since noticed how the systems benefit them – like saving time having to jump between systems – but for the most part, all this work will never be visible to the end user.
These exciting challenges, and the people who work on them with me, are what keep me at Auvik. A lot of my coworkers are now my good friends. I want to improve their work experience, which is what I get to do working in DevOps. I also get to learn from others who are better at this than I am. That’s been a constant theme throughout my career at Auvik. On the engineering team, I’m working with experts in networking, C++, Go, Kafka, and other tools that are constantly evolving. That’s not always possible in other places.
Find a place that matches your interests and gives you time to learn.
In engineering, things can change fast, so you have to be ready to work with agility. On my current team, we are responsible for deploying, operating, and managing new databases. I appreciate how we get the time to understand something. After all, we’re never going to knowingly deploy something terrible!
For example, a few weeks ago, we had a production incident, and our team focused on fixing it quickly. One of our VPs joined the call to help us debug, even though the bug was no longer in the VPs role responsibilities. Instead, he wanted to learn and help.
I think that shows the kind of people we have at Auvik. They’re genuinely interested in solving problems, and if something isn’t their area of expertise, they’re always interested in learning. That’s what makes Auvik somewhere you want to stick around.
There’s a certain amount of experimentation that goes on in my line of work. So it’s nice to be somewhere that gives you the time to do that. Since being at Auvik, I’ve been able to take time off to take a course or go to conferences about topics I want to educate myself on.
It’s made me realize that finding a place where you can follow your interests and learn a lot is the way to go. Everything else will follow, and you’ll meet people with shared interests. I think if you’re passionate about your work, and excited to show up and learn every day, it makes everything else easier.
Learn more from Michael Brown, VP of Technology at Auvik, about how code ties to customer impact.