For 3 days, the DevTalks conference provides an excellent platform to keep you up-to-date with the latest industry trends, bringing technical communities together, where the most important local and international key leaders share their knowledge and contribute to the future of the tech industry. At DevTalks 2022, you will have the chance to meet Tero Ahonen - Senior Staff Engineer II, Production Engineering at Liftoff+Vungle on DevOps Stage / 8th of June.
#Looking at your
LinkedIn profile, I saw the introduction:
Promote open source wherever I can and help
organizations to stop wasting money on bad IT projects and
operations. Applications should be exploded to services and services should use
containers not virtual machines or cloud instances.
Can you elaborate on
how to stop wasting money?
Maybe you could give some examples.
The content in the LinkedIn profile is old but
still valid, which is kind of sad. I have seen a lot of organizations wasting
money on bad IT projects. There are so many ways to waste money. In my opinion,
one of the biggest /dev/null for money is building something in-house that is
already available for example, as Open Source Software. Organizations are
sometimes afraid of OSS and instead build in-house than consume OSS. If and
when OSS components have been used, all customizations and modifications are
kept in-house in their own forks. Keeping the fork up-to-date with the upstream
is hard, especially when software security is under constant stress. It is also
hard to develop and maintain in-house code.
Use OSS when you can and but understand licenses in
use. If you need to change, try to contribute changes back to the upstream.
Contributing is not easy, and it requires support from the organization, but it
is always worth it.
One really important thing is to get serious from
the beginning. What I mean is to think about proper CI/CD and operations from
the beginning. Those are really important things since the majority of the workaround
software project happens when the project is ready. When you have proper
automation in place from the beginning it makes the project way more manageable
in the future.
#How did your earlier
career choices lead you to where you are now? Talking about fast and accurate
delivery, by combining architectural skills, programming and project management
I have always tried to
pursue things that interest me. If not directly related to my work, then I have
had to learn things on my own time. After learning new things, I utilize these
learnings in my work. This method has kept me up-to-date in the fast-moving IT
industry and I have managed to move from just Java coding to containers, cloud,
and automation and finally utilize all that I have learned in DevOps and
It is too easy to stay
where you are and get used to the situation. That can be dangerous since the
industry moves so quickly and you might actually get bored. Look for challenges
that are outside your comfort zone. One customer once said to me “When things
don't go as planned, then you learn.”
#What is your current
role and responsibilities at Vungle?
I work in
the Production Engineering team our main focus is to help engineering teams to
move faster and produce better quality. What does this include? Everything from
automation tooling, CI/CD, scanning, building, monitoring, and of course
metrics and feedback loop. Working in our team is really interesting and I
would say dynamic. IT varies from data transfer planning in the public cloud to
implementing CI/CD and to troubleshooting production incidents...BTW we are
#Was your formal education, for example,
University of Eastern Finland, as important for where you are now, as is self-learning and the trainings provided
by the companies you worked for?
really important, but not in the sense that it makes you ready for a job. You
learn very important things like technical and academic writing and also learn
to rely on valid sources. It also teaches you critical thinking and teamwork
which are really important after you graduate.
in IT industry you only learn by working. I worked part-time when I was at the
University. That helped me a lot in my studies since a was able to put some concrete
context around the academic studies I was going through.
#Moving on to your
keynote: Shifting left is the new
black in DevOps (testing, security, costs), how will you align your
speech to the company vision and strategy (tools and metrics)?
core is business is based on code. To get better we have to write better and
smarter code. To write good quality code engineering teams need to have more
control over the software development process. Quality can be measured on so
many levels. Good quality might mean a lot of things depending on the project
and service. When the engineering team has control of the development process,
team can tune the process so that it works best on the project at hand.
How we see
shifting left in our organization is that engineering teams will have more
control over what they do between new feature requests and releases. The goal
is to remove as many dependencies external to the team as possible. Outside
dependencies usually add extra noise and can cause bottlenecks. When the
engineering team has been given certain boundaries like security requirements
and SLO/SLA requirements, it should be up to the team what they will do to stay
within those boundaries. Production Engineering team where I work the primary responsibility
is to help teams with tooling and culture to stay within those boundaries.
#Three keys ideas
that the participants can learn/ take from your talks.
A big part of
every change is about culture and ways of working. You cannot force ways of working
on engineering teams. You have to provide guidance and then let engineering
teams learn their own team culture.
Culture is a
big part of DevOps but not everything. You will also need tooling and tooling
needs to suit your needs. Don’t just select tooling based on buzzwords or the
number of Google searches. Evaluate, study and do proofs-of-concept so that you
will select the best tool for your needs.
metrics are the key parts of the tooling because all top-performing teams know
how they are performing. If there is no metering in place it is really hard to
get better since you don’t know when you are better. Before changes try to do
some measurements of how you are performing. Otherwise, change is really hard
#Who/ where do you look up to for inspiration? And what would you say to
inspire a young talent that is just starting his/ her journey?
I look up for
inspiration from everywhere but don’t have so-called idols. There are a lot of
inspirational people in the IT industry and you can fill your whole day just
listening to good quality industry podcasts. In my opinion, you will get a good
idea of where the industry is going when you follow those who are visiting the
shows. I try to follow those podcast guests and check what they are doing.
I have huge
respect for the people who work in and contribute to Open Source projects. Most
of the time those contributions are not backed up by enterprises but people are
contributing because they can and they are willing to share. I encourage
everyone to contribute to OSS, it is not as hard as it seems and there are also
low-hanging fruits that are easy starting points for new contributors. You can
always start for example contributing to documentation.
As a young
talent be proud what you know and what you have done but don’t be afraid about
things you don’t know. I learn every day new things I don’t know. The industry
is moving so fast that it is virtually impossible to know everything. Be honest
to yourself and acknowledge what you don’t know and ask for help if you need
it. It is never a bad thing to search for help.