After talking with a few folks about what DevOps means here at WP Engine, I realized that there isn’t much out there about our DevOps team and its responsibilities. One of the first few questions that’s asked in most DevOps interviews, at least as far as I’ve seen, is: “What does DevOps mean to you?” Here, I’ll do my best to answer what DevOps means at WP Engine.
What does DevOps mean at WP Engine?
DevOps at WP Engine differs from what other companies define as DevOps, and in some ways it can differ greatly. I can speak to this firsthand based purely on what our expectations have been versus what the expectations have been for some of our candidates. WP Engine DevOps is defined as the culmination of the two departments (development and operations) that make up the word “DevOps.” It’s not just fluffy unicorns and culture (though, our culture is amazing, and there may be a fluffy unicorn sighting every now and then). There is an expectation that a WP Engine DevOps Engineer possesses knowledge about the development lifecycle as well as a deep understanding of system internals and architectural design. You don’t have to be a rock star at all of the above, but it certainly doesn’t hurt!
What does a day in the life of a DevOps Engineer look like at WP Engine?
To be honest, it can vary day-to-day, but typically we have large projects that can span anywhere from a single week worth of work to several months, and range in complexity and type. For example, our DevOps team has worked on mass migration tooling built to seamlessly move customer environments off legacy architecture to the new hotness architecture, as well as the implementation of our high availability (active/passive and Mercury active/active) offerings, among many other things.
As some of you may know, WP Engine uses Ansible for deploys and configuration management. As such, there’s also a significant amount of development work that’s done in Python, specifically around new environment provisioning, automated patching, and automate our deploys with Ansible. It may come as a surprise, but our DevOps Engineers are not too frequently involved directly with PHP and WordPress.
What is the work-life balance like?
We are very fortunate to work with managers who fully understand the importance of establishing boundaries between a work life and personal life. If you start to feel strained, it’s perfectly acceptable to discuss ways to mitigate the pressures of the situation.
What is the server environment like?
Some of the folks I talk to are surprised at how many servers we have. We are lucky enough to work for a company that has been able to deploy WordPress at scale, and our server environment helps to prove that. Our server farm consists of thousands of servers. One side-effect of large server farms is that issues that occur with rarity occur more frequently and in more interesting ways than much smaller server environments.
Okay, this sounds awesome. Are there other benefits?
On top of working on interesting issues with a great team, WP Engine provides several other excellent benefits to its employees.
- 100 percent paid employee benefits (medical, dental, vision, long term disability, and life insurance)
- 401(k) plan
- Complimentary daily lunches
- Generous vacation time
- Onsite parking or commuter reimbursement
- Training and conference opportunities
How do I apply? What is the process like?
The application process is fairly straight-forward and fully vetted by our Talent team. The interview process for a DevOps Engineer consists of an initial phone call with a technical recruiter and then an initial technical assessment of depth in both systems knowledge and development experience via an online collaborative editor. If the expectations of this interview are met for both the candidate and the technical team member, we conduct a final onsite interview lasting approximately three hours to determine a candidate’s knowledge of system architecture, system design, networking, and development skills. Since company culture is so important at WP Engine, we also want to ensure that it’s an ideal environment for the candidate and they can continue to succeed in their career here. During the entire interview process we provide ample opportunities to ask questions and gather information so that candidates have a true understanding of our company and the DevOps role.
Want to join the growing DevOps team at WP Engine? We’re hiring!
In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading books about Linux and software, rock climbing, and finding ways to teach and give back to those around me.