How 'Up & Running' Culture is Devaluing Engineering Work

More than ever, blog posts, workshops, tutorial videos, and books are presenting quick and easy ways to get started with new tools and technologies. While these types of media provide an excellent jumping off point for engineers to learn and experiment with new subjects, they also set unrealistic expectations about the complexity of the topics involved. Unfortunately, it is becoming more common for non-technical stakeholders to cite these works as evidence that engineering work should be completed faster and deadlines should be shorter. As a result, technical work that delves deeper into solving the hard problems of production operations, stability and scaling is being devalued and misunderstood.

In this talk, we’ll explore the patterns we’ve developed in our communications as a tech community that have led to the conflict between “This tech makes things fast and easy!” and “These problems are hard; we should invest time in solving them correctly.” We’ll dive into some real-world examples of the frustrating impact that current perception has on engineering teams. And finally, we’ll formulate some concrete takeaways to improve the way we present, share and frame technical topics across diverse technical and non-technical audiences.



Sarah Zelechoski

Sarah began her career as an astrophysicist and has pivoted often between systems and development work, but really hit her stride in operations. She has run production operations and infrastructure ...