Challenging and exciting – those are the two words that come to mind straight away when I think about working at Vodafone. We’re a business that promises a lot to our customers, so there is an overall feeling of challenge with everything we do: we’re always on a mission to make their lives better. But that’s why we learn so much. We have the opportunity to learn and discover so many different technologies that enable us to keep delivering new value to our customers.
On top of that, we have a constant supply of the most modern tools and techniques at our disposal, a huge community around us to help us through the process and the pleasure of seeing the difference we have made in people’s lives once that process is complete. What could be more exciting than that for a software developer!
I’ve been in IT for over 15 years, with the last six years focused on DevOps ways of working. I started at Vodafone world indirectly in 2013 and since 2019, I’ve been working as part of Vodafone Business DevOps CoE as a DevOps SME. My role has expanded over the years and I am currently a VBIT Digital Channels Principal DevOps Manager, responsible for several different services.
I have always gotten a real kick out of software development. I love the adrenaline rush when you’re under pressure to get something amazing happening for customers or trying to get an application or tool absolutely perfect. I love it when you’re out of your comfort zone on a given technology and even just trying to keep up with the crazy pace of technology nowadays is a buzz.
I like to think I have a very balanced approach, but that adrenaline I get when I’m developing something that will have a massive impact on a system or market really keeps me on my toes. And when you see your commit going through the CI/CD pipeline, passing all the QA automation and entering directly into production with no defects, and on top of it all delivering to the committed times – there is nothing like it!
Several trends are shaping Vodafone’s software engineering future right now: edge computing, containerisation, machine learning/AI, IoT, open RAN, multi-cloud and IaaC (infrastructure as a code).
Multi-cloud and IaaC are particularly exciting to me at the moment. IaaC could be a game-changer in the way operations are handled by shifting the Ops approach to align more closely with software development. This is facilitated by the emerging practice of GitOps, where infrastructure, configuration and code are treated the same.
And multi-cloud is starting to become a more common approach due to several requirements that need to be addressed in more specific situations. More and more we are moving from being standardised to one vendor, to several.
That being said, it’s important to always maintain an open mind to other less known technologies or references. What we believe is the future today could by tomorrow be quite the opposite. All part of what keeps it exciting; you need to keep up!
We have a motto at our team: “What if we could change the future by Building to Share First – #oneportalframework” (it is even on the back of our hoodies), which is to make applications and code as they were going to be used by others first, with clear purpose, documentation and lifecycle, so they can contribute to the all-Vodafone development teams, and give space to everyone to innovate more. We are avid ambassadors of Inner Source in Vodafone, and we have created and published the first set of company-wide development standards for Web development to achieve that goal.
Our One Portal Framework (OPF) is a set of development tools, standards and libraries that aim to standardise the Web Channel Development across Vodafone web channels. This way, every market can build upon what others have delivered instead of building the same thing over and over again. It saves us time doing BAU development and gives us more time to spend on innovation, exploration and PoCs, and going where no one else has gone before.
OPF will create opportunities for Vodafone employees to build applications/portals in a collaborative way – ‘building to share first’ means we work together, even being in different rooms, projects, and/or markets.
Another of our unique DevOps offerings is CIAM2, which is pivotal to all the products we’re delivering. I consider it the gatekeeper to all our solutions. It’s an authentication system that brings extra peace of mind to our partners and customers, increasing their trust in us.
One of the things I value so highly about working at Vodafone is that you’re not afraid to make mistakes. We encourage everyone to get out of their comfort zone, experiment, and embrace errors as part of the learning process. A big part of the individual growth process here is precisely that opportunity to share and be acknowledged by the wider team so you can keep getting better.
My recommendation to developers is just to enjoy the ride, especially if you’re lucky enough to work in a place like this. Avoid taking things personally, and always remember to look upon any mistakes or lessons learned along the way not as failures, but as opportunities for continuous improvement.