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Nikita Koselev
Nikita Koselev

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Rise of the DPE (Developer Productivity Engineer)

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A long time ago a "knife sharpener" was a profession. People didn´t sharp knives themselves, but asked a professional to do the job. As I understand, it was caused by a combination of factors: poor quality of knives, high cost, lack of quality sharpening tools. These are assumptions, therefore I might be wrong.

As time passed, the quality of knifes increased, the cost went down and professional knife profession became quite obsolete.

Well, we might need a “sharpener" profession back to the business, this time in the Software Engineering world. Why? Because developers cost money. Because there is not enough developers. Because infrastructure costs money. I don't even mention the impact of outdated tools and legacy on a mental wellbeing of the employees. I have been there, it sucks.

So what exactly is the problem? Obviously, developers and infrastructure engineers must continuously optimize their codebase and infrastructure as part of their day-to-day jobs, right? Wrong! Very often IT professionals are overloaded with tasks. We rarely have time to resolve things slowing us down. At least, not unless the problems become too big to ignore.

What if… What if we dedicated a person to checking “how to optimize the environment without putting even more stress on people and without loosing money”? Let´s say this person would make your Gradle builds a little bit faster. Or, that champion could compare the way your team works with the way other teams work and help you learn from each other. Yeah-yeah, I know developers love talking to each other, but there is still some space for improvement, as I see it ;)

Even 1% build speed increase can cause HUGE benefits to the company, as it will be benefiting the company for a long time. Now imagine these benefits coming periodically. Just think of how much money these professionals could save to their companies…

We could tag this job with a DPE (Developer Productivity Engineer). This person will be responsible for improving efficiency (not just productivity) of developers by:

  • optimizing repetitive tasks using new tools to achieve result
  • using new approaches to achieve result
  • championing new ways to make developers happier, be it the latest IDE or a electric car scheme for employees
  • supporting growth, mentoring developers
  • keeping an eye on conferences and distributing tickets to the developers
  • keeping an eye on open source projects and getting volunteers involved

As a “thank you” to my readers, I recommend you to watch the ”Developer Productivity Engineering (DPE) Defined” by Hans Dockter, CEO & Founder of Gradle. It is an amazing video by an amazing person:

Special thanks to @brjavaman, @ymoto and all other friends :)

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