Examining the history of the industry and the recurring patterns and ideas within it helps us to understand what shaped the devops movement. With that understanding we can make sense of where we are today and understand how, through effective devops, we can break the cycle of increasing specialization that creates silos and devaluation of specific roles.
In the beginning, the developer was the operator. When World War II broke out, the United States government put out a call for math majors to become “computers,” a job in which they were responsible for calculating ballistics firing tables for the war effort. Jean Bartik was one of the many women that responded. Her college advisor encouraged her to ignore the call, worrying that the repetitious tasks were not as admirable as continuing her family’s tradition of education.
While her advisor was right about the repetitious nature of calculating numbers, the job put Bartik in the right place at the right time to become one of the first programmers of the Electronic Numeric Integrator and Computer, or ENIAC, the first all-electronic, programmable computer system.
With no documentation and no plans, Bartik and the other five women working on the ENIAC figured out how to program it by reviewing the device’s hardware and logic diagrams. Programming the machine and its 18,000 vacuum tubes meant setting dials and changing out cable connections across 40 control panels.
At the time, ...