People of Symphony starring Zoran Stefanovic: Demystifying the DevOps Role and How it Evolved Throughout the Years

People of Symphony starring Zoran Stefanovic: Demystifying the DevOps Role and How it Evolved Throughout the Years

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February 23rd, 2022

It is time to meet Zoran, Principal DevOps Engineer at our Belgrade development center. In a way, Zoran was a part of the “tech evolution”, seeing the rise of the DevOps role as such from the very beginning. A number of valuable experiences, lessons, and milestones later, he crowns his long-lasting career by becoming the Principal DevOps Engineer at Symphony, streamlining all his efforts into introducing positive changes, driving impact by deepening the knowledge on the DevOps role, while further building a strong DevOps community in Belgrade through a number of activities and initiatives. 

The Then and Now

Zoran started his career as a Systems Engineer back in 2005 and his fascination with everything tech hasn’t stopped since. It was the time of a lot of self-learning and resourcefulness since internet access was scarce, and he had to do a lot of digging to learn about the systems, servers, and infrastructure. He was mainly focused on Linux, databases, and practically building the DevOps role with his colleagues. In his words, it was a stressful time, but the sort of an experience that shapes you as a person and the way you approach work and responsibilities. 

After a certain period, Zoran craved new challenges to fuel his natural curiosity and drive. Three years ago, he joined Symphony, and a new, exciting chapter started unfolding. 

The Path to the Principal DevOps Role

Although he came to Symphony with a lot of experience under his belt, Zoran says it was a challenge at first. As a person who truly enjoys learning and constantly expanding horizons, the obstacles he faced in shifting to new processes motivated him even more to stay, grow and evolve within the company. He slowly started transitioning to microservices, AWS, and data migration, learning from scratch but with a helping hand from his team and mentors every step of the way. 

Recently, the Symphony DevOps community in Belgrade became richer with five new members, and Zoran took over the helm as the Principal DevOps Engineer. When asked to give us his personal views on what a DevOps Engineer does, Zoran breaks it down for us - “If someone asks me what I do, I usually just say Engineer since it is somewhat of a challenge to explain everything a DevOps Engineer does. We take care of the infrastructure, servers, scaling in accordance with the requests, and ultimately make sure the user has a smooth experience, with every little element of software working in sync. A successful DevOps is familiar with a number of tools and programming languages, and during the selection process, we make sure to choose candidates that match the technologies we are currently working with. We see potential in their preparedness to adapt and develop in these chosen technologies, not necessarily their existing knowledge. A DevOps Engineer is like a bridge that connects software development with deployment teams.” 

When taking on a managerial role, the number one priority is maintaining seamless communication between Service Delivery Managers, Software Engineers, and DevOps Engineers. The second one is the educational aspect, i.e., transferring knowledge and expertise through various channels, and in Zoran’s opinion, it’s a two-way street. “I love receiving knowledge as much as I love sharing it. It is important that we all have a grasp of the different aspects of a project, from development, DevOps, delivery, to QA.” - he pointed out. 

When it comes to education, Zoran recognized the need for bringing the DevOps role closer to everyone involved in building a strong product and delivering excellence, from the development team to the Service Delivery Managers and Product Owners. He strongly believes that taking the Principal DevOps role gives him the necessary space and a platform to achieve this knowledge transfer. That is why Zoran decided to prepare an internal company session on “DevOps Demystification”, where he broke down the complexities of this role, challenges, and the specific tools and architecture. This workshop proved incredibly useful to all who participated, and Zoran hopes it will continue as a knowledge-sharing tradition among peers. 

In addition, Zoran will be a participant at the first TechNote conference in our Belgrade development center at the beginning of March, focusing on the topic of DevOps and AWS. Together with Viktor Farcic, a world-renowned expert on DevOps and Developer Advocate at UpBoud, he will share knowledge and experiences about the best DevOps tools, frameworks, and platforms in 2022.

A Thirst for Knowledge Will Get you Anywhere

When it comes to the future of DevOps, Zoran is excited about everything to come and believes how the technologies and dynamics are constantly shifting in the DevOps world. “The rapid development of the technologies and methodologies inspires me to learn every day, watch a tutorial, immerse myself in a new subject, and build my expertise. Virtualization, AWS, and the cloud are there to help us maintain servers more efficiently, unload the infrastructure, and use the tools at our disposal with ease.” - he pointed out. 

Zoran concludes with the things that make him feel at home in Symphony - “Definitely the people and the projects. The number one perk is being surrounded by such an uplifting and knowledgeable crew who I can always learn from, and I was very happy to fit the Symphony culture from the very start. On the other hand, as someone who has been in the industry for a long time, I truly value a project that will push me beyond my limits in the technical and organizational sense. Besides a good challenge, I love the dynamic we created as a team, where we motivate each other and take initiative to always improve and deliver our best.”

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