The Age of the Engineer

I never considered my self to be an original thinker. The main reason is because I never needed to be I guess. Original thoughts and ideas have been key drivers for innovation and invention for a long time. Where it used to be the stuff like the steam engine and electric lights that fuelled the progress of the last century’s. Nowadays it is more about being able to find the right answers and implement them quickly.

The last decades in many cases it is not about setting the standard with clever and original ideas. Knowing how you can put together things that work with the least original ideas and minimal effort.

In this DevOps and agile age where the cloud seems to be the answer to everything regardless of the question. There are many original ideas that fuel new businesses or innovate old ones. But the ways they are implemented are seldom truly original. Many business don’t realize that the adaptation and improvements that seems to come from the cloud are largely coming from working methods that come from software development culture. The adaption of things like continuous integration & continuous deployment. Creating deployment pipelines that automatically test and deploy through different environments like acceptance and production. But also using company cultural values like a more tribal approach to organisations. Are more effective and are driving forces behind being lean and agile.

Many company’s are re:invent-ing themselves with their move to the cloud using this type of methodology. And in my opinion falsely claiming that the move to the cloud is the great game changer that facilitated their business to move faster. I am not saying there is no added value in could adaptation. Undeniably the rich tool-set allows us to quickly do trial and error and “fail, fail again but fail better” before actually setting up a production system

It is the open source community’s and the age of the internet that have led to more ideas being shared every day. And for all these ideas a platform is easier created by the force of openness and sharing. A driving force there is the community spirit and tribal way of thinking where every one adds a little. And with this every day a little better mentality we keep improving. Not using the few brilliant minds to lead the way. But building a community that is capable to add small things often.

In this way being an engineer it feels like I am standing on the shoulders of giants, being able to use rich tool-sets. The projects I have been working on at home and at work have always been about using modules created already by others. Downloading code from a GitHub repository implementing that or making small adjustments to fit my needs. And last but not the least just spinning up a docker container and making a few configurations. The cleverness is not in the originality but in finding the right tool for the job.

But also it feels like it is the engineer’s mentality that wants to share ideas not patent and protect them. That has mentally hacked the closed source systems all over the world. And where ever there is a desire to keep closed source there is a huge drive and demand to open up these systems by using an API.

And the finally let me rephrase “I never considered my self an original thinker”. Most of the thoughts I wrote down here I heard from speakers at conferences or read in other peoples great articles. But I am an Engineer. And this feels like being a live in a great time. I hope you don’t mind me calling it “The age of the Engineer”. Because everything is out there for the taking. All that you need is to know how to use a search engine.

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