It never occurred to me as to how I might answer this question until a new hire at work asked me the question “What do I do ?”.
I was confounded because I do not have a straight forward single answer. I do a ton of stuff and wear different hats every single day. The reason for this is because I am an SRE on a DevOps team. It’s a three-person team supporting 70 engineers. My lead supports that by saying we are small and efficient. I’ll take his word for it.
The fun part is I get to learn every random stuff, front end, back end, machine learning, UI, UX. The hard part is when shit hits the fan, its just me on my own as a mediator to debug problems between the team owning to the service and DevOps.
- Getting visibility on services/jobs by adding metrics, logging, traces in the code.
- Relaying that data into a central place and designing dashboards for the same. It can be application-level metrics (datadog), container metrics (grafana/chronograf) and network-level metrics (influxdb)
- Monitoring the services for anomalies based on that data, conversing with teams, and deciding a threshold for those alarms, alerts, monitors.
- Solving active problems day to day.
- Solving potential problems so that they do not become active problems.
- Pairing and helping engineers when they are blocked due to infrastructure implementation or architecture. (This is probably 40% everyday)
- My role changes and priorities change day to day and I have to be fine with it.
- I am on call every 3rd week.
- Doing a bit of infrastructure monitoring, debugging, troubleshooting, security, and so on and so forth.
- I also try to come up with better solutions to things that are done to reduce future overhead and tech debt.
- Pick on tickets in other team’s boards if they find it hard to do it in that sprint.
- Generate a weekly health report of the production infrastructure and talking to teams for resolving issues that come up.
This probably sums up 80% of what I do. Rest 20%? I still haven’t figured that out yet. The above description feels like a wildcard but that’s the part of the job. To do whatever is needed to get the job done and honestly I kinda like it. You get to learn something every single day, you contribute to all teams and the engineering department as a whole and make their life’s simple and that in directly makes me happy. Guess a win win in all scenarios.