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The University of Newcastle is known for its strong commitment to innovation – and its approach to IT is no exception. A dedication to DevOps is helping it stay agile, and stay ahead, as an educational provider and employer.

Pratap Iyer, UON’s Cloud & DevOps Lead (IT Resources Division) is one of the people at the helm of its digital journey. Recently appointed to the position, this tech expert knows how to keep the systems, processes, and people in sync.

To find out more, we asked Pratap about his role, common job misconceptions, how he keeps up with the latest trends, and more.

1. What attracted you to a career in technology?

Born into a family with a lot of civil and mechanical engineers, I naturally gravitated towards science. As a child, I wanted to become an aeronautical engineer.

Although my dad was a banker, some of his good friends were into technology. They’d often meet at our house to chat and discuss tech and its future. In the early ‘90s, they started a small software company, and I was fortunate to have been inspired and mentored by them. Down the track, I ended up pursuing my Bachelor’s in IT.

2. So you’re a Cloud & DevOps Lead, what does that mean?

My role is to bring together Cloud and DevOps to deliver better value to customers. It involves simplifying and speeding up tech development, integration capabilities, and processes. 

3. What do most people misunderstand about what you do?

When I say DevOps, I typically get “I know DevOps, I’ve used GitHub”. The common perception is that DevOps is all about tooling and automation, but that’s only 20% correct.

DevOps is about empowering developers to promptly respond to the needs of customers, minimising the inaction that slows down software development. It’s not just about automated tooling but also the right collaborative mindset, processes, and environment.

4. Describe a typical workday for you?

My day typically starts with my Kanban board (a workflow visualisation tool). I go through my tasks in progress as well as anything new that needs doing. I also meet with different stakeholders and teams to understand what they’re doing and how they are doing it to try and see if we can drive efficiencies and reduce bottlenecks.

On the cloud side, I am leading the new processes and operating model for the Cloud Migration project who are migrating the on-premise workloads into public cloud platforms.

5. How do you keep up with all the new technologies?

I am driving a lot between Sydney and Newcastle, and am so thankful for Audible.  I listen to tech podcasts and trends en route, which helps me keep active in what would otherwise become a rather routine drive.

6. The biggest challenge of your job is…?

Finding time to do more! Given the breadth of cloud, agile, and DevOps initiatives, there is so much that could be done. I want to engage more within UON and beyond to build strong collaborations within the region for the growing DevOps community.

7. Is the University of Newcastle a good place to work?

I’ve been with UON for about two months now, and I’m very excited about what tomorrow holds. There is a genuine will in the leadership to push the boundaries and empower people to be more creative and innovative, and in fostering the need to embrace change rather than fear it or fight it.

8. What’s the best career advice anyone ever gave you?

Business is like riding a bike; either you keep moving forward, or you fall.

This has been particularly true and helpful for me in the tech space, where there are newer and brighter things happening every day.

9. What don’t most people know about you?

I am a passionate motorcycle rider and I still pursue my interests in aviation. I am a certified Aeronautical Radio Operator and a licensed drone pilot.

10. What were you like in high school?

In my fathers’ words, I was a maverick! My friends, on the other hand, thought I was great fun to be around doing fast laps and race tricks on my motorcycle.

11. What trends will we see in computing over the next few years?

DevOps and Cloud are enabling businesses and enterprises to grow and deliver value exponentially. They are also helping them explore augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning.

Blockchain is also a space to keep an eye on.

12. What’s your favourite inspirational quote?

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”— MK Gandhi.

The world of Cloud & DevOps is a dynamic and interesting place for an engaged tech mind. Excited about the possibilities ahead, this motorbike-loving maverick will no doubt give the UON’s wheels of digital innovation a spin.

Interested in a career in digital? Call us for a chat today.

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