Performance engineers can be your very best investment since a vast majority of today’s companies’ productivity and profits depend directly on the performance of web or mobile applications. These performance engineers will become intimate with your applications so do what you can to attract and keep these assets – they are in high DEMAND and LOW supply. Know how to spot and KEEP them!
When interviewing potential performance engineering candidates, it’s not always the technical questions you are asking that are most telling… it’s the questions you are being asked which help identify the right candidate.
Notice questions like…
- May I see an architectural diagram of your deployment?
- Do you have a designated environment for load testing?
- Do you encourage experimental performance testing?
- What monitoring solution are you currently using? Are you open to exploring other solutions which integrate with the chosen load testing solution?
- If we plan to load test in production, are there designated availability timeframes?
- How reactive is the production support team to rolling out configuration changes?
- Are potential production scalability issues integrated into your Agile process, can we create stories for investigation?
All of these types of questions are actually the performance engineer gauging how successful he or she can be within your organization. They want to be sure that performance testing is taken seriously. They want to build relationships with the supporting teams because they are WISE enough to know that their success depends on collaboration.
Here I better describe the soft qualities of a fantastic performance engineer…
First, Curiosity. What drives excellent performance engineers? Curiosity. The drive to know the why behind performance degradation of an application. The most curious engineers are driven to know, they really need to know, they aren’t satisfied until they uncover root causes of scalability limitations. It’s the “maverick detective” quality of a performance engineer.
Next, Communication skills. The value of a performance engineer relies just as much on their communication skills as much as their technical skills. Sure, they need to know the basics of tools. But just as importantly, they need to open the lines of communication between all groups: development, system administrators, architects, business analysts. Again, Wise engineerings know that this precedent sets them up for success.
The next C along the same lines as communication is Collaboration. Performance engineers jobs are far easier and much more efficient when they collaborate with all the stakeholders: Always, Teach as much as you Learn. Share the knowledge gained with others. You walk IN with this collaborating attitude and others will follow your lead and volunteer information. The application becomes “our” and the team becomes “we” immediately.
I always say that in any project, those performance engineers who are the most curious, contribute the most. They go hand in hand. Likewise, whoever cares the most, contributes the most. This is the type of person who will dig deep into the architecture and the technologies to identify key KPI’s which are limiting scalability in order to alleviate current and potential bottlenecks. Companies, in turn, will save tons of $$ in operating expenses.
The last C is for Creativity. Creative thinking is used on many levels. Create a theory which can be proven or disproven to answer a key scalability question. Design a load scenario which will remove the ambiguity of results. This exciting career has many opportunities to use your creativity! I love this aspect of this career!
What qualities do you find as being most important within OUR niche field of Performance Engineering?