I worked as a sysadmin in the provinces for 8 years – but left for Devops when I was asked to fix keyboards again

At six in the morning I got up, ran to the train, went to Moscow, worked there all day, and at half past nine returned to my city. The next day the same thing was repeated. There was a lot of work, several large customers did not have an administrator on the staff, apparently, it was more profitable for them to drive a person from the region.

In my second year, after an internship in one of two IT companies in my city, I asked them to work. They took me on a salary of 15 thousand rubles. It was 2012, the concept of devops was just in its infancy, and I started working as an assistant to the system administrator. The tasks during the day were limited to maintaining Windows servers, installing supplies, writing instructions, and checking what the programmers had done. I was spinning between the server room and the institute to the detriment of my studies, the priority was to stay in the position I received.

And I got it by inheritance from the previous admin. In the server room, everything was powered through a bunch of surge protectors. Once they could not withstand a couple of power surges, the button on one of the filters was sealed, everything sparkled.

It’s good that usually I was late and left work last – I heard a crack and managed to pull the switch.

In my free time, I did interesting things for myself: I started to automate, I began to look at what Ansible is. Once it helped, I prepared and installed a client environment that consisted of Docker containers. There was no Internet, everything was isolated, I had Docker images with me. Ansible helped roll it all out in isolated and open circuits.

Only by 2019 did at least some development appear in my work. Linux came, devops was already heard. We started writing microservices, we could dig deeper with Docker files, collect containers from CI / CD. By that time, I had added a lot of responsibilities, I piled on business trips. I worked my day schedule and sat in the server room in the evenings. Boy, sysadmin, I was so boring in the office that my opinion was not interesting to anyone. But if any fakap happened – I became the extreme, of course. I didn’t like it at all.

The only outlet was the Linux courses that the company paid for me. That was when I first got acquainted with distance learning. Then I saw the workshops of Vasya Ozerov from Rebrain. The topic was about Nginx, about load balancers. I was amazed at how much energy a person has, and for the first time I thought that I was doing something wrong, and how cool it would be to work with such specialists together.

For 8 years I worked in a provincial company as a system administrator. Then the leadership changed, and I became a senior sysadmin. Do you understand?

The salary of a specialist with 7 years of experience and higher education barely reached 50 thousand rubles. I had no idea what an “IT” salary was. An acquaintance lived in another region in the same provincial town. He was my idol: he worked in IT, grasped everything on the fly, instead of changing the region to Moscow, he left for Belarus and ended up at EPAM Systems. Interviewed in English with coding.

Thanks to his example, I realized that it was time to start acting and change my life. He also said that good devops get just as much as good programmers.

But I quickly realized that my knowledge in Devops is not market knowledge.

My “big” experience in the industry has come down to Windows and a smattering of Docker. Working with Ansible, I used shell commands more than using modules. Nevertheless, plucking up the courage, I got to the interview. I did not consider myself a Linux guru, but I answered all the questions about it. The person who interviewed me even noted that I was really fine with Linux. But the stack of devops and automatic sweep, unfortunately, was too weak for this vacancy.

At work, things started to get boring. The last straw was the next task: urgently to fix the keyboard for someone.

Is this a mockery of the work of a sysadmin who has worked in the company for so many years? Then I made up my mind, took Rebrain’s workshops in installments, and this moment I ended up free time. Gone are the weekends and evenings. I worked a lot and studied courses at the same time. Three months later, I finished Git, went through Terraform, pumped the Terraform + Ansible bundle. I figured out how to use modules, download playbooks to Ansible Galaxy. And most importantly, I began to read and understand the whole thing somehow. Later I defended a Docker workshop. It was like a graduation project. I was given an assignment, I did it, then I defended my ability to work, answered questions. In parallel, I began to take a workshop on Kubernetis. And I finally decided to change jobs.

I succeeded, I moved to a new office in my city. The salary has become a little, but higher. Much more important was the fact that I got a job as a devops. Junior, of course. Unlike my previous work, where they were used to doing everything by hand, editing configs, not documenting anything, at my current job I had to work only through Git.

No manual editing required. No offense to the admins it will be said, but when I and other newbies tried to work with our hands, we were told: “What are you as admins? Only through Git ”.

Having received my first salary in a new job, I realized that my resume was quoted. I am worth something in the market. Yes, the first time working as devops is a real nerve. The tasks are completely different, the work is fundamentally different. She demands more responsibility, deliberation of her actions.

I squared my shoulders and successfully passed the interview for Devops in a German company. For this I improved my English by hiring myself a tutor. According to the TK, it was necessary to run the application in Kubernetes, with a dependent chat service, postgresql, and so that the databases were stored on the host path. True, I did not manage to combine the two works. The Germans imposed strict control over my activity, even over how my mouse twitches. Every 3 minutes the screen was screened about 15 times. I thought this was not the case. And the offer, to be honest, was a penny. 7 dollars an hour, about 70 thousand rubles a month and it was hellishly difficult to withdraw them.

They tried to restrain me, but I refused and left. Then I decided to try myself in the same place where I studied. Passed an interview for a curator in Rebrain, began to check other people’s assignments in my free time – as a small part-time job.

So I gained some more experience, and after a couple of months I risked an interview at Fevlake. Now I work for them as a devops engineer. In fact, in the company that raised me. The trial period will end soon. There are no competitors in my city with such a salary.

At the previous job, everyone sat and puffed at their monitors.

There was no friendly communication. And here we are at a distance, but it seems that I have known everyone for more than one year.

I often remember the day when I decided to invest in my development. It all happened pretty quickly, in two years. The turning point is to try to study remotely. If I had been sitting in the server room, I probably would have achieved nothing. At the same time, I do not have the feeling that I wasted time. All the same, during this time I met many interesting people. That guy from EPAM moved to Amsterdam and works for Google Cloud. I have questions about working with client clouds on Google. I type him and we communicate, he pumps me through the cloud. I have never seen this person live, but my friendship with him gave me a lot.

I understand, if I work as a devops in a good Moscow company, then I will be in demand in a good New York company.


We at Fevlake have long understood that it is very, very difficult to find specialists in the market. So we decided to raise them ourselves. Ilya’s story is just one example.

There are a lot of people with similar stories in our community in Telegram – one of the largest devops in the field. Come in, there we are constantly analyzing various problems and tasks, discussing things that will be useful both in interviews and in work.

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