From Network Engineering to DevOps – How Artem Accelerated His Transition to a New Field

After ten years of working as a network engineer, Artem was ready for a change. 

He spent weeks researching and taking several online courses in DevOps and Cloud but quickly felt overwhelmed by the massive amount of information. 

With so much data and no real direction, how could he identify the essential skills and tools he would need to make this difficult career change?

That’s when he found Vladimir at Your DevOps Mentor. 

Once they connected, Artem immediately felt his education and career development were taken seriously. Vladimir understood Artem’s challenges and provided goal-oriented mentorship that equipped Atrem with a modern, relevant toolset to land a competitive job in the Cloud and DevOps industry. 

We got a chance to chat with Artem about his early struggles, his experience working with Vladimir and the skill development that followed, and his advice for those new to the industry. 

Keep reading to learn about the strategy that helped Artem transition into a new field in record time!

Hey there, Artem! Can you tell me a bit about your background?

My name is Artem Utkin. I’m a Senior Engineer at a major tech company specializing in service development, digital platform engineering, and digital product design. 

After studying engineering at the Saint Petersburg University of Telecommunications, I worked as a network engineer in several integrators before eventually accepting a position as Head Network Expert at a nuclear power plant in Turkey.

I enjoyed ten successful years in network engineering, but I needed a change after a while. 

I realized that DevOps offered more elegant solutions to the problems I confronted daily. As I learned more about DevOps, I quickly understood that this would be the best next step to advance my career.

My current role encompasses all the conventional responsibilities of a network engineer while also allowing me to gain more experience in DevOps and Cloud.

Tell me about your experience as a Network Engineer. What noticeable projects did you work on? What were your main accomplishments?

As part of my job responsibilities, I occasionally worked the night shift, dealing with client’s requests to change their network equipment. 

While some nights could get busy, I mostly had to remain on call for a handful of requests throughout the night. The few requests I did receive fell under several common categories, so there wasn’t a lot of creativity required.

I knew there had to be a better way to deal with these repetitive tasks, and I also wanted to cut down on my manual labor as much as possible.

That’s when I decided to develop my script. While I still need to collect client requirements, the script would take care of the rest.

With this new script in place, I became the intermediary between the clients and the script, lessening some of my more tedious tasks.​​ The script was working so well that I decided to take it a step further. 

I used my original script as the foundation for a Telegram chatbot that would eliminate the need for an intermediary. Now, clients could message the bot directly, and the script would take care of their requests. 

The Telegram chatbot was my main accomplishment, but not without some challenges. 

My biggest obstacle was defending this solution to upper management, who were skeptical even though the chatbot offered many benefits—saving many hours of manual work each month. 

In the end, I managed to convince them. And guess what? My former colleagues still use that chatbot to this day!

That’s amazing! It looks like you’ve already established yourself as an expert in your field. What made you decide to make the switch from Network Engineering to Cloud and DevOps?

After ten years as a network engineer, I wondered what else was out there. 

I took several courses, including Python for network engineers, but each time I ran into the same problem: as a network engineer, your toolkit is pretty limited.

DevOps was a different story. Launching a script is like playing a computer game where a single command can build up an entire system from scratch. The possibilities are endless!

There were also practical considerations. When building my chatbot, I always worry about the risks: If there was a server outage, how would I recover my work?

With DevOps, I don’t have to worry. I always know that I can rebuild everything.

What was your initial study plan before you applied for the mentorship?

When I first decided to transition into a new career, I didn’t have a defined study plan. 

Having spent ten years in the same industry, I expected the learning process to be straightforward: a quick online search to identify the most relevant skills. 

I downloaded several DevOps courses and started studying. Some skills were easy to learn, while others were confusing. Whenever I had a question, I spent hours trying to locate a relevant answer, sorting through hundreds of forum posts but often failing to find what I was looking for.

After a while, I decided to take a more structured approach. 

I purchased a course on Kubernetes, hoping the instructors would guide me toward the right answers. This was also disappointing because the course only offered the most basic technical support; otherwise, I was on my own. 

That’s when I realized that I needed a mentor. 

What main challenges motivated you to seek assistance in a mentorship format?

There’s a lot of information available online, but it’s hard to figure out what’s relevant.

When studying alone, I often worried that I wasn’t dedicating enough time to the tools and techniques that would help me get a job in DevOps. The Kubernetes course only offered a theoretical foundation, which didn’t include the specific tools I would need to get a DevOps job in 2022.

I needed an expert to focus on my specific goals while receiving their insights to build my confidence and skill set.

As a working professional, I didn’t want to waste valuable time on fruitless web searches when I could get that information from a trusted source. 

Finding a mentor was the next obvious step in my journey…

How did the mentor adjust your study plan?

When I started working with Vladimir, I realized how much I’d missed in my study plan. 

I spent a lot of time studying mostly irrelevant concepts and completely underestimated the importance of Cloud, Terraform, and Linux. 

Vladimir’s plan broke down the skills I needed to learn straightforwardly and logically. He not only pointed me toward the right tools and technologies but also highlighted the ones that were especially relevant for a DevOps job in 2022. 

From the beginning, it was obvious that finding a mentor like Vladimir was the best possible choice for my career. I was finally able to focus on building my skill set, confident that I was moving in the right direction.

While working together, Vladimir went above and beyond to answer my questions and provided moral support whenever I hit a roadblock. 

This care and attention were especially important to me because transitioning to a new job can be stressful. It felt amazing to have that kind of support.

While I’ve taken a break from our mentorship to focus on my new job, I’m already planning to work with Vladimir again in the near future. I hope to take more advanced DevOps courses to level up my skills, and his guidance will be invaluable during this new stage in my career.

What new technologies did you learn? What certifications did you get?

The industry is constantly changing, and while many courses promise to help you get a new job, choosing the right one is hard.

During the mentorship, Vladimir pointed me toward the most relevant certifications for my transition into DevOps. 

I completed three industry-leading certifications in less than a year: Amazon Web Services, Terraform, and Linux Red Hat.

What was the job application process like? Were there any challenges? 

I applied for an intern position at a major IT consulting company two years ago. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the job and was confused about why. 

When I started working with Vladimir, I realized it wasn’t only a matter of having the right qualifications. If I wanted to stand out from the competition, I had to take a more deliberate approach, locating the specific skills relevant to the job and building them over time. 

Vladimir created a one-year study plan that would enable me to gradually build my DevOps skills, relieving me of the pressure to find a new job right away. 

About six months into the mentorship, Vladimir found a vacancy at the same company I applied to previously, and he encouraged me to apply. He didn’t expect me to get the job, but going through the process would be good practice for understanding my strengths and weaknesses.

I was excited to take this next step. After months of diligent studying, it was finally time to put my skills to the test.

In the days leading up to the interview, I realized how badly I wanted this job. I asked the recruiter to reschedule the interview on a whim so I’d have two weeks to prepare. 

Vladimir immediately jumped into action, helping me identify the most common interview questions I would face. After work, I would spend all night studying the top questions for each DevOps item in my CV. By the end of those two weeks, I knew the answers to almost all of them.

In addition to studying the top ten interview questions, Vladimir encouraged me to work on my soft skills, which I had completely missed in the past. We worked on my communication and interpersonal skills.

As you can imagine, I didn’t get much sleep during those two weeks!

But the hard work paid off in the end. One year after being rejected as an Intern, I was hired as a Senior Systems Engineer. I am positive that the mentorship program was a huge part of my success!

How much time did it take from your decision to apply for the mentorship to the job offer?

I started working with Vladimir in January 2022, then I applied for the job in July 2022.

Two months later, in September, I received my job offer.

Tell us a bit more about your new job. What are your main responsibilities? What does a typical day (or week) look like for you?

As a Senior Systems Engineer, I’m part of the platform engineering team. 

But I also work with DevOps and architecture to understand the platform, current limitations, and scale requirements. Product development has also become a role of mine, as I work closely with product teams.

Overall, I can leverage my network engineering experience while gaining new DevOps and Cloud skills. No two days are the same!

That sounds exciting. What are the most important skills for a job like yours?

As a Senior Systems Engineer, you need to be proficient in traditional network engineering skills like routing and switching, designing and implementing network configurations, resolving performance issues, conducting network monitoring, and configuring firewalls. 

You also need to work well under pressure and have great communication skills, as deadlines and teamwork are essential to the job.

Since my current position offers the opportunity to learn more about DevOps, it’s also important to be proficient in Ansible and Microsoft. While I’ve already made great progress in that area, there’s still much learning ahead. 

My employer has given me access to a library of courses in Jenkins, CI/CD, ELK stack, monitoring, and Kubernetes to grow even further. 

What advice do you have for someone new to the industry?

Two words: planning and perseverance! 

You need to know exactly what you want and have the willpower to keep trying, even if it takes a while to reach your goal. 

When I started working with Vladimir, I committed to spending an entire year learning the skills and techniques I would need to land the job I wanted. Our work together quickly proved that my determination paid off in a big way. 

A valuable lesson I learned from Vladimir’s mentorship is don’t expect to get everything right away and be prepared to put in the hours. But those hours of hard work mean nothing without a clearly defined action plan. 

The industry is always evolving, and it’s impossible to get the full picture by looking through job descriptions and searching for answers online. 

After all, time is our most valuable resource. Instead of spending years trying to transition into DevOps on your own, you can use that time to learn the most relevant skills from a real expert in the field.

With Vladimir’s support, I landed my dream job in record time. 

I highly recommend Your DevOps Mentor to anyone considering a career change. My only regret is that I didn’t sign up earlier!

If you want to transform your career just like Artem did, apply for individual mentorship here:

Connect with Artem on LinkedIn:

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More career success stories in our blog:

Originally published Nov 27, 2022 5:54:33 PM (updated November 27 2022 )

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