Gaurav Agarwal is the author of Modern DevOps Practices, we got the chance to sit down with him and find out more about his experience of writing with Packt.
Q: What is/are your specialist tech area(s)?
Gaurav: Cloud & DevOps
Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?
Gaurav: I am a part-time tech blogger and write about DevOps, Cloud, Containers, and related technologies. I like to share what I know and have learned with the world with an educative mindset. Yashashree Hardikar from the Packt team approached me to author a book. She introduced me to Vijin Boricha for discussing specific topics on which I would be interested in writing. After a good amount of thought, we came up with this idea, and it looked interesting. Writing a professional tech book would help me gather more outreach and help me dispense my knowledge in a better fashion, and therefore I was very keen to write it.
Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?
Gaurav: The book was supposed to be a comprehensive guide to DevOps containing Tips, Tricks, and Techniques to implement DevOps with a modern mindset. So, overall the book was a mix of my technical exposure and experience with DevOps and Cloud and defined well-known industry best practices. When I began, I thought I knew a lot about everything I would write, but gathering details and researching about all aspects of the book made me realize that I didn’t know all of it. So, it was a rewarding experience in itself. Though the topics we pre-decided and the outline ready before writing the book, there were many changes made during writing it because I got better ideas while researching. Research is a continuous process for me, so I cannot say how long it took, but it was well worth it.
Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?
Gaurav: Many, I would say! Writing blogs is a different game altogether than writing a professional technical book. However, with the help of the experienced team of editors like Arun and Mrudgandha, the process was a bit less painful. The good thing was that I knew what I was going to write about. However, because of the book’s practical nature, developing content with working examples meant that I had to decide on examples and mini-projects that I need to create, that too with a vision that reflects the typical challenges a DevOps engineer faces in the real world. My experience did play a good role in defining that, but it was the most challenging aspect for me in the entire writing process.
Q: What’s your take on the technologies discussed in the book? Where do you see these technologies heading in the future?
Gaurav: The book is about a modern take on DevOps and how to automate the automation itself. It discusses some of the leading-edge technologies with containers as its base. It talks about Containers, Container Orchestration, Infrastructure and Configuration as Code, Best Practices related to Container Image Management, Container Security, CI/CD, and most importantly, GitOps. All these tools and technologies are relatively new, and they are being adopted at a rapid rate. They are changing the Technology Landscape like never before. Containers change the fundamental way of managing Infrastructure and Code, and therefore, it is here to stay for a pretty long time. The open-source ecosystem is a good reason why we have a boom in new Tools, and therefore they will most like replace some tools discussed in the future, but the way of doing things will remain the same.
Q: Why should readers choose this book over others already on the market? How would you differentiate your book from its competition?
Gaurav: The book does not talk about a particular technology, and it is not a cookbook as such. Instead, it is a complete and definitive guide on the modern take on DevOps and is holistic in all respects. This book will give the readers everything they need to implement modern DevOps in the public cloud. So, the book beyond the fundamentals of DevOps and talks about the practical and pragmatic aspects. Therefore, you would not learn everything about Containers, or Kubernetes, or IaC or CaC in-depth, but enough to apply it in a pragmatic and practical situation. As the book focuses more on the practical aspects of DevOps, it will allow techies who have started their career in DevOps as well as experienced professionals to step back a little and understand why we do certain things, what we should do in what kind of situations, what tools to choose for what use cases, and how to use them effectively.
Q. What are the key takeaways you want readers to come away from the book with?
Gaurav: By the end of the book, the readers will have enough knowledge of containers, container orchestration, IaC, CaC, modern CI/CD practices, DevSecOps, and GitOps to apply them in a practical situation, in the best possible way.
Q. What advice would you give to readers learning tech? Do you have any top tips?
Gaurav: Technology is a fast-changing discipline, so the idea about learning tech is to understand the fundamentals of technology and apply them in a practical situation. For example, if someone understands programming logic and techniques, they can quickly grasp any new programming language. Similarly, every new technology has some key principles and fundamentals best understood by practicing your technology in a real-world situation. So the idea is to have a thirst for knowledge and keep refreshing it to stay current.
Q. Do you have a blog that readers can follow?
Gaurav: Yes you can find all my latest articles on my blog – gauravdevops.com
Q. Can you share any blogs, websites and forums to help readers gain a holistic view of the tech they are learning?
Gaurav: The internet has a host of content available to learn about particular technologies. In addition, the official documentation for the technologies discussed in the book will help you understand the technology in detail and help you explore other aspects not covered in the book.
Q. How would you describe your author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?
Gaurav: My journey has been smooth till now, but writing a book itself is a task. Packt has made the experience simpler for me by helping me in every possible way, i.e., by extending timelines when I had more work-related commitments, providing great editorial and technical feedback, and professional copy-editing and proofreading services. Therefore, I would recommend Packt to aspiring authors.
Q. What are your favorite tech journals? How do you keep yourself up to date on tech?
Gaurav: I would recommend Better Programming from Medium.com for quality curated content if you want to learn about the practical aspects of technology.
Q. How did you organize, plan, and prioritize your work and write the book?
Gaurav: Doing two things could be stressful, but I managed it with the support of my family, especially my lovely wife. I allocated dedicated 2 hours of every day to the project, and the perseverance paid off in the end. I did not miss any deadlines because of that.
Q. What is that one writing tip that you found most crucial and would like to share with aspiring authors?
Gaurav: Taking out regular time for writing and perseverance is the key to success!
You can find Gaurav‘s book on Amazon by following this link.