How cloud automation is changing the developer experience

As developers continue to face changes in the industry that require them to innovate more in their products, cloud automation provides an opportunity for a more efficient and reliable development experience, explores Sunil Gay, Chief Research Officer at Info-Tech Research Group.

Developers in our modern world face many challenges when trying to innovate their products. They are challenged to continuously deliver complex functionality faster while facing increasingly complex environments and technologies. At the same time, they also face the challenge of not being able to invest time in training and skill development as budget cuts continue to reduce time for non-coding activities.

Finding a way to mitigate these challenges and improve their ability to do their jobs is key to enabling developers to successfully increase throughput, accelerate development, and deliver more complex solutions. Cloud automation can be the key to solving these problems and creating a better experience for developers.

Developer experience

In line with the relatively new industry-defining work of customer journey maps and user journeys, the industry is also beginning to explore the developer experience. Organizations are now focusing resources on making the developer experience more efficient and robust to achieve the same gains as the customer journey maps that power their customer base.

A more efficient developer experience means that developers are less influenced by their environment and therefore have more time to complete development tasks. At the same time, a more robust developer experience with higher performance enables more robust and innovative solutions to be developed.

Finally, a great developer experience can lead to increased motivation and satisfaction, which in turn increases their productivity and retention. These are important factors in maximizing companies’ investment in their resources, just as effective customer journeys contribute to customer retention. These factors mean that investing in improving the developer experience can pay huge dividends for the developer and their firm.

Current challenges of the developer experience

Based on discussions with industry experts and members of the Info-Tech Research Group, developers today face many challenges related to their expertise. These problems can include the following examples:

  • Consistency of environments: Development today must pass through multiple environments, from when the first line of code is written to production. As a result, a consistent experience and environment configuration is critical to limiting non-code issues.
  • Media acquisition speed: In our ever-changing world of technological innovation, it is critical that we maximize the time available to developers to build and test their solutions. As a result, ensuring that developers receive their new environments as quickly as possible is key to shipping frequency. In one case, I saw an organization with manual processes for creating environments that resulted in new environments taking weeks to build, delaying coding.
  • Time lost due to manual deployment issues: In many cases, deployments are still done manually and configurations are set manually, creating potential errors. Many of our Info-Tech members have raised the fact that deployment issues are a major cause of quality issues that lead to either testing issues or issues with the working client. Both of these issues require developers to help with debugging, costing them development time on the next job.
  • Test Data Management: A key element when building and testing code is using production or production-like data for testing. Creating and maintaining these databases can be a very time-consuming task, and out-of-sync data will lead to quality issues, which again affects developers.

More details: Cloud Orchestration Vs. Cloud Automation: How Does It Benefit Your Business?

How cloud automation solutions can help

Cloud automation is a very broad set of tools that can increase efficiency for developers and solve their problems related to their development experience. These tools include:

  • Environment creation tools: Automation tools are increasingly being used to create a fully functional environment in minutes. These tools can provide significant improvements for developers as they can start development activities much faster.
  • Application deployment: Advances in DevOps by automating release deployment and configuration. This results in a noticeable reduction in deployment issues, reducing the time spent by developers debugging deployment issues that are mistaken for quality issues. It also increases test time, preventing delays in project schedules when teams spend days fixing deployment issues.
  • Environmental maintenance: Cloud automation also provides the ability to maintain environments by ensuring that they stay on top of patches and fixes, thereby ensuring that release schedules are not affected.
  • Data management: Cloud solutions can also create and manage scripts to create copies of production data in downstream environments. This ensures that developers are always working with the most up-to-date versions of test data and that no quality issues arise from outdated data.

Improved developer experience

Cloud automation can significantly improve the developer experience, resulting in:

  • Faster entry into development cycles through automated environment creation.
  • Creating more challenging environments that enhance innovation.
  • Reducing deployment issues, maximizing development time and reducing delays.
  • Reduced quality issues due to environment inconsistencies, data issues, and service issues.

These capabilities mean that investing in moving to the cloud and implementing automation in these areas will significantly improve the developer experience. This will lead to increased efficiency, effectiveness, productivity and motivation in the developer community, maximizing the investment that firms make in their developers.

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