Pitt gets set to host tech scene at DevOpsDays

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Tech professionals seeking faster, more flexible tools and strategies to capitalize on emerging discoveries can follow an international movement that arrives in Pittsburgh this week.

More than 300 players from the local and global tech scene — including representatives from sponsors IBM, San Francisco-based online clothing company ModCloth and Downtown-based online ticketing company ShowClix — are expected Thursday and Friday at the first Pittsburgh DevOpsDays Conference, which is being held at the University of Pittsburgh’s William Pitt Union.

Launched by Andrew Shafer, founder of Portland IT automation software company Puppet Labs, DevOpsDays are designed to be a networking opportunity. But the events are also a platform to promote the organizers’ philosophy of constant adaptation and collaboration between developers, IT operations specialists and other tech professionals.

“As the velocity of change increases, developers and engineers have to work hand-in-glove so that software products and services can be delivered more rapidly and efficiently to meet customers’ demands,” said Mr. Shafer in a news release.

The advance of cloud computing and provisional servers that maximize computing power for developers has provided a range of tools so flexible, in such a short amount of time, that even experts haven’t had time to catch their breath and use the technologies to their fullest potential, according to Mr. Shafer.

The first DevOpsDays conference was held in 2009 in Ghent, Belgium. Fast-forward five years and the conference has made its way to more than a dozen cities, including tech hubs of Austin, Texas, and the Silicon Valley.

Mr. Shafer, who lives in Fox Chapel with his family, said he’s excited the additional conferences have helped bring “new blood” to the movement. He said a large part of that is the forums where like-minded people come together and form discussion groups around any idea that gets them motivated.

“Some [forums] might be more into hearing their peers discuss their work; others could be tool-centric. Some could be more cultural questions such as, how do you manage your time? At the end of the day what comes out of it is up to each person,” he said.

Carol Nichols, a DevOpsDays speaker and software architect for North Shore-based Think Through Learning, said she looks forward to presenting along with the likes of Todd Underwood, Google Pittsburgh director of site reliability, and Kevin Behr, IT consultant and author.

But at the end of her day, she said, she is most looking forward to connecting with fellow IT pros and getting a chance to stumble upon what could be the next big idea to transform Web development and management.

“I’m excited to learn about what other companies are doing and to discover new ideas in the space,” she said. “I love conferences in general because they allow me to come out of them with energy and full of ideas. I hope that’s what other people are going to get out of it.”

For more information or to register, visit http://devopsdays.org/events/2014-pittsburgh/registration/.

Correction (Posted May 26, 2014) An earlier of this version had an incorrect title for Carol Nichols.

Deborah M. Todd: dtodd@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1652. Twitter: @deborahtodd.

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