Interview with Eveline Oehrlich

DevOps: “A T-shaped human has the benefits of being a specialist in a particular area but also a generalist in many areas”

Chris Stewart

It’s DevOpsCon Munich right now, and Transformation Day speaker Eveline Oehrlich took some time to answer a few questions for us about T-shaped humans and their roles and importance in a DevOps environment.

JAXenter: First off, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions. DevOps is a very popular practice now but due to the different times and methods of adoption, a “DevOps human” must have the potential to mean a lot of things to a lot of people. Would you mind just briefly taking us through what you mean when you talk about DevOps humans?

Eveline: This is an individual who is actively engaged as a DevOps team member with or for (as this could also be a consultant) an organization which has adopted a modern way of deploying software with the fundamental pillars of DevOps. Culture, automation, Lean, measurements and sharing are the typical high level pillars we talk about when describing DevOps.

JAXenter: OK, and why is the DevOps human’s T-shape such an important factor?

Eveline: A T-shaped human has the benefits of being a specialist in a particular area but also a generalist in many areas. Due to this, the person is generally familiar with many topics and can communicate and collaborate easier with others, but can also be a leader and key contributor in his/her specific area of knowledge. A T-shaped person has curiosity in other areas and can dip into these when bored, and is more creative as good ideas happen at the intersection of disciplines.

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JAXenter: This is such a wide skillset, but is it just technical skills that are in demand, or is there a desire for softer skills as well?

Eveline: Soft skills should be renamed to core skills as they are 50% of what it takes to be successful. Come and see in the presentation what the must-have next layer skills are in core skills, technical skills, functional and process skill categories.

JAXenter: What would you say, if any, is the most important skill for DevOps humans to learn or improve?

Eveline: This can not be answered for all people in the DevOps field, as it depends on where a specific DevOps human sits within his/her skills.

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JAXenter: How important would you say it is that the T-shaped DevOps human approach is adopted? And have you already seen it successfully used?

Eveline: To be successful, one must have a growth mindset which shapes a person into a T-shaped DevOps human. And as change continually shapes our day, it is essential to learn and keep shaping your skills, knowledge and abilities around a diversity of things for your career.

JAXenter: And finally, what about the future of DevOps?

Eveline: In an ideal world, where all DevOps humans are T-shaped, what comes next? Pi-shaped, double pi-shaped…

Chris Stewart
Chris Stewart is an Online Editor for He studied French at Somerville College, Oxford before moving to Germany in 2011. He speaks too many languages, writes a blog, and dabbles in card tricks.

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