HomeUncategorizedInterview with Gaurav Agarwal

Interview with Gaurav Agarwal

Gaurav Agarwal is the author of Modern DevOps Practices, 2E, we got the chance to sit down with him and find out more about his experience of writing with Packt.

Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?

Gaurav: Following the success of the previous edition, Surbhi Suman from Packt approached me to write the second edition of the book. We engaged in discussions regarding the outline and identified areas for improvement and changes. Taking into consideration the feedback from the previous edition, we integrated sections that were previously unexplored. Additionally, we examined an example microservices application that will serve as a guiding star for the book’s topics. It was enjoyable to incorporate this element. The prospect of providing my readers with new and updated content served as ample motivation.

Q: What is the name of your book?

Gaurav: Modern DevOps Practices, 2E

Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?

Gaurav: Research played a crucial role in the creation of the second edition. Despite having a substantial amount of content from the previous edition, we recognized the need to adjust our approach. Drawing inspiration from the retrospective analysis of the first edition and observing market trends, we made the decision to refine the content. It became evident that our book lacked a chapter on Git, and we had not delved deeply into the Operations (Ops) aspect of DevOps. Consequently, we focused on making GitOps the central theme, replaced Spinnaker with Argo CD, and introduced Istio. These changes were significant outcomes of our research.

Q: Do you have a blog that readers can follow?

Gaurav: https://gauravdevops.com

Q: What key takeaways do you want readers to come away with from the book?

Gaurav: By the end of this book, the readers will be well-equipped to take on the role of a DevOps Engineer and start using all the tools and techniques introduced. While the book chooses a few tools based on different key focus areas, it also suggests alternatives to use. Most tools in the market follow similar approaches and are explained in the book. Because of the practical nature of the book, if the readers try labs on their own, they will gain enough hands-on experience to start making sense of and appreciating DevOps within their team.

Q: Can you share any blogs, websites and forums to help readers gain a holistic view of the tech they are learning?

Gaurav: The book introduces to the readers to the most commonly used tech stack in DevOps, and to gain more expertise, the best place to start would be the official documentations of those tools.

Q. Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?

Gaurav: Absolutely! Challenges are an integral part of the writing journey. The most significant hurdle was carving out time from my work commitments for writing. Fortunately, a positive aspect was that a substantial portion of the book’s content was already available, requiring only a shift in our approach. However, creating an entire Blog Application, complete with writing unit tests and ensuring functionality, presented its own set of challenges, demanding considerable time and effort. The addition of new chapters posed another challenge. Extensive research was necessary to identify the pertinent aspects that needed coverage to deliver the optimal reader experience. Despite these challenges, the writing process proved to be a rewarding endeavor.

Q. How would you describe your author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?

Gaurav: My journey with Packt has been a great one, and that is the reason why I chose to write the second edition. The team I worked with was very professional and always ready to help me with any queries and requirements. Ashwini, the PM, kept me on track with reminder emails and helped me provide buffer cushioning to write the book. Isha, the technical editor, was awesome in her work and was an email away from anything that I needed. The production team was the best and very interactive in helping me create diagrams, resize images, enhance content, and everything that you would want.

Q. Why should readers choose this book over others already on the market? How would you differentiate your book from its competition?

Gaurav: Certainly, there are other books in the market, and they cover various aspects of DevOps in their own ways. This book has a very clear focus area. It is a book by a DevOps Engineer for fellow DevOps Engineers and takes an extremely practical approach. This book will not teach you all the theory behind DevOps and how to evangelize it within your team, but instead, it focuses on how to enable DevOps within your team using the latest DevOps tooling stack. It takes an extremely practical approach with a series of labs for you to gain practice and start working on the tooling, and it is sufficient to understand all concepts and best practices and build an approach to implement DevOps within your team.

Q. What is/are your specialist tech area(s)?

Gaurav: Cloud & DevOps

Q. What advice would you give to readers jumping into this technology? Do you have any top tips?

Gaurav: While most individuals entering DevOps may initially have limited programming experience, it is important to note that DevOps encompasses a diverse range of professionals with varying backgrounds. While proficiency in programming is beneficial for tasks such as automation and scripting, it is not a universal prerequisite. DevOps involves not only technical skills but also emphasizes collaboration, communication, and the integration of development and operations practices. Learning at least one programming language, such as Python or Go, is advisable as they are commonly used in the automation domain, but the importance of a well-rounded skill set that includes soft skills should not be underestimated.

Q. What’s your take on the technologies discussed in the book? Where do you see these technologies heading in the future?

Gaurav: We can easily understand that by the shift we made in this edition from the previous one. Containers, Kubernetes, Terraform, Ansible, and Packer are some core technologies that are here to stay for a very long time. The rest of the tech stack depends on the team’s approach and the choice of the platform. Most CI/CD tools these days are similar, and most of the time, it is for the teams to decide what they want to use or what is relevant to their tech stack. Service mesh with Istio has traditionally been used extensively and is here to stay for the long term, but it is not universal; other tools, such as Linkerd, are also slowly gaining strong ground. Overall, the concepts remain the same.

Q. Do you belong to any tech community groups?

Gaurav: I am not part of a tech community group as such, but I connect with my readers through blogs I write on Medium and my official blog.

Q. How did you organize, plan, and prioritize your work and write the book?

Gaurav: Any writing endeavor requires dedicated time. Therefore, I used to allocate 2 hours before my office hours for writing, unless there were urgent deliverables. If I missed time on weekdays, I used to cover that during weekends. There is no other way to go about it.

Q. Would you like to share your social handles? If so, mention them below.

Gaurav: “Journal of Cloud Computing: Advances, Systems, and Applications” (SpringerOpen), and latest official blogs on Google Cloud, AWS, and Kubernetes. Plus I keep refreshing my technical certifications which help me stay up to date on my area on tech.

Q: What is that one writing tip that you found most crucial and would like to share with aspiring authors?

Gaurav: Persevere and don’t procrastinate. If you leave everything to the last moment, you will either miss the deadline or end up with poor-quality content. Writing dedicatedly every day will yield the best results.

You can find Gaurav’s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here

AWS DevOps Simplified– Available on Amazon.com