Privacy Notice for Employees



Harnham Search and Selection Limited

Privacy Notice – Employees, Contractors and Workers

1.                 This Notice

1.1              We take the privacy and security of our staff’s personal information seriously. This notice explains our practices regarding the collection, use and disclosure of personal information we hold about employees, contractors and workers and applicants for roles with us.

1.2              This notice applies to all current and former employees, contractors and workers (“you”) of Harnham Search and Selection Limited (“we” or “us”).

1.3              This privacy notice does not apply to information we hold in relation to our candidates for roles with our clients, clients or third parties which is covered by a separate privacy notice available on our website.

1.4              This notice does not form part of any contract of employment or other contract to provide services. We may update this notice at any time.

1.5              This notice is governed by the EU General Data Protection Regulation (the “GDPR”) from 25 May 2018.

1.6              This notice applies to personal data we hold about you. “personal data” means information that relates to you as an identified or identifiable person.  

2.                 Legal basis on which we process personal data

2.1              Personal data we hold about you will be lawfully processed based on one of the following legal reasons (known as a “legal basis”):

2.1.1         Because you have consented to the processing;

2.1.2         Because the processing is necessary in order for us to comply with our obligations under a contract between you and us; or

2.1.3         Because the processing is necessary for a “legitimate interest”, a legitimate interest in this context means a valid interest we have as your employer which is not overridden by your interests in data privacy and security.

3.                 Data which we collect

3.1              We may collect and process the following personal data about you:

3.1.1         Personal contact details such as name, title, addresses, telephone numbers, and personal email addresses.

3.1.2         Date of birth

3.1.3         Gender

3.1.4         Marital status and dependants

3.1.5         Next of kin and emergency contact information

3.1.6         National Insurance number

3.1.7         Bank account details, payroll records and tax status information

3.1.8         Salary, annual leave, pension and benefits information

3.1.9         Start date

3.1.10      Location of employment or workplace

3.1.11      Copy of your passport

3.1.12      Recruitment information (including copies of right to work documentation, references and other information included in a CV or cover letter or as part of the application process)

3.1.13      Employment records (including job titles, work history, working hours, training records and professional memberships)

3.1.14      Compensation history

3.1.15      Performance information

3.1.16      Disciplinary and grievance information

3.1.17      CCTV footage, and other information obtained through electronic means such as swipecard records

3.1.18      Information about your use of our information and communications systems

3.1.19      Photographs.

3.2              We may also collect, store and use the following "special categories" of more sensitive personal information:

3.2.1         Information about your race or ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation and political opinions

3.2.2         Information about your health, including any medical condition, health and sickness records.

3.2.3         Information about criminal convictions and offences.

4.                 How we collect your data

4.1              We collect personal information about employees, workers and contactors through the application and recruitment process, either directly from candidates or sometimes from an employment agency or background check provider.

4.2              We may sometimes collect additional information from third parties including former employers, credit reference agencies or other background check agencies

4.3              We will collect additional personal information in the course of job-related activities throughout the period of you working for us.

4.4              From time to time we may collect sensitive data via a hard copy or online diversity monitoring form if we do so then we will seek to obtain your consent for processing this data.  

5.                 How we use your personal data

5.1              We may use your information to:

5.1.1         Making a decision about your recruitment or appointment

5.1.2         Determining the terms on which you work for us

5.1.3         Checking you are legally entitled to work in the UK

5.1.4         Paying you and, if you are an employee, deducting tax and National Insurance contributions

5.1.5         Providing employment benefits to you

5.1.6         Liaising with your pension provider if necessary

5.1.7         Administering the contract we have entered into with you

5.1.8         Business management and planning, including accounting and auditing

5.1.9         Conducting performance reviews, managing performance and determining performance requirements

5.1.10      Making decisions about salary reviews and compensation

5.1.11      Assessing qualifications for a particular job or task, including decisions about promotions

5.1.12      Gathering evidence for possible grievance or disciplinary hearings

5.1.13      Making decisions about your continued employment or engagement

5.1.14      Making arrangements for the termination of our working relationship

5.1.15      Education, training and development requirements

5.1.16      Dealing with legal disputes involving you, or other employees, workers and contractors, including accidents at work

5.1.17      Ascertaining your fitness to work

5.1.18      Managing sickness absence

5.1.19      Complying with health and safety obligations

5.1.20      To prevent fraud

5.1.21      To monitor your use of our information and communication systems to ensure compliance with our IT policies

5.1.22      To ensure network and information security, including preventing unauthorised access to our computer and electronic communications systems and preventing malicious software distribution

5.1.23      To conduct data analytics studies to review and better understand employee retention and attrition rates

5.1.24      Equal opportunities monitoring

5.2              Each type of processing listed above is based on our legitimate interest and the performance of our contract with you. These grounds for processing will overlap and there may be several grounds which justify our use of your personal information.

5.3              If you fail to provide certain information when requested, we may not be able to perform the contract we have entered into with you (such as paying you or providing a benefit), or we may be prevented from complying with our legal obligations (such as to ensure the health and safety of our workers).

6.                 Sensitive Data

6.1              Under the GDPR certain "special categories" of particularly sensitive personal information require higher levels of protection. We need to have further justification for collecting, storing and using this type of personal information. We may process special categories of personal information in the following circumstances:

6.1.1         In limited circumstances, with your explicit written consent.

6.1.2         Where we need to carry out our legal obligations and in line with our data protection policy.

6.1.3         Where it is needed in the public interest, such as for equal opportunities monitoring or in relation to a pension scheme, and in line with our data protection policy.

6.1.4         Where it is needed to assess your working capacity on health grounds, subject to appropriate confidentiality safeguards.

6.1.5         We may collect information about criminal convictions if it is appropriate given the nature of the role and where we are legally able to do so.

6.2              Less commonly, we may process this type of information where it is needed in relation to legal claims or where it is needed to protect your interests (or someone else's interests) and you are not capable of giving your consent, or where you have already made the information public.

6.3              We will use your particularly sensitive personal information in the following ways:

6.3.1         We will use information relating to leaves of absence, which may include sickness absence or family related leaves, to comply with employment and other laws.

6.3.2         We will use information about your physical or mental health, or disability status, to ensure your health and safety in the workplace and to assess your fitness to work, to provide appropriate workplace adjustments, to monitor and manage sickness absence and to administer benefits.

6.3.3         We will use information about your race or national or ethnic origin, religious, philosophical or moral beliefs, or your gender identification or sexual orientation, to ensure meaningful equal opportunity monitoring and reporting.

6.4              We do not need your consent if we use special categories of your personal information in accordance with our written policy to carry out our legal obligations or exercise specific rights in the field of employment law.

6.5              In some circumstances, we may approach you for your written consent to allow us to process certain particularly sensitive data (for instance for diversity monitoring purposes). If we do so, we will provide you with full details of the information that we would like and the reason we need it, so that you can carefully consider whether you wish to consent. You should be aware that it is not a condition of your contract with us that you agree to any request for consent from us.

7.                 Sharing your information

7.1              We will share your personal information with third parties where required by law, where it is necessary to administer the working relationship with you or where we have another legitimate interest in doing so.

7.2              We may share your information with certain suppliers or other group companies who are assisting us with human resources, the management of employee benefits or payroll services. We may also share your information with other group companies for general management purposes.

7.3              All our third-party service providers and other entities in the group are required to take appropriate security measures to protect your personal information in line with our policies. We do not allow our third-party service providers to use your personal data for their own purposes. We only permit them to process your personal data for specified purposes and in accordance with our instructions.

7.4              We may also share your information:

7.4.1         if we are under a duty to disclose or share your personal data in order to comply with any legal obligation (for example, if required to do so by a court order or for the purposes of prevention of fraud or other crime);

7.4.2         we may transfer your personal information to a third party as part of a sale of some or all of our business and assets to any third party or as part of any business restructuring or reorganisation, but we will take steps with the aim of ensuring that your privacy rights continue to be protected;

7.4.3         to protect our rights, property and safety, or the rights, property and safety of our users or any other third parties.

7.5              Other than as set out above, we will not disclose any of your personal information unless you give us permission to do so. If we do supply your personal information to a third party we will take steps to ensure that your privacy rights are protected and that third party complies with the terms of this notice.

8.                 Security

8.1              We will take all reasonable steps to ensure that appropriate technical and organisational measures are carried out in order to safeguard the information we collect from you and protect against unlawful access and accidental loss or damage. These measures may include (as necessary):

8.1.1         protecting our servers by both hardware and software firewalls;

8.1.2         locating our data processing storage facilities in secure locations;

8.1.3         encrypting all data stored on our server with an industry standard encryption method that encrypts the data between your computer and our server so that in the event of your network being insecure no data is passed in a format that could easily be deciphered;

8.1.4         when necessary, disposing of or deleting your data so it is done so securely;

8.1.5         regularly backing up and encrypting all data we hold.

8.2              We will ensure that our staff are aware of their privacy and data security obligations. We will take reasonable steps to ensure that the employees of third parties working on our behalf are aware of their privacy and data security obligations.

8.3              This notice and our procedures for handling personal data will be reviewed as necessary.

9.                 Data Retention

9.1              Our current data retention policy is to delete or destroy (to the extent we are able to) the personal data we hold about you in accordance with the following:

Category of personal data

Length of retention

Health and safety records (e.g. an accident book) being held at our premises

10 years from the date on which the relevant information was collected.

Records relevant for tax purposes including records of pay and benefits

8 years from the end of the financial year to which the records relate.

Applicant records (where no employment or engagement has resulted)

2 years from the date of your interview with us

Records relating to human resources

7 years from the end of your employment with us

Records relating to pensions

7 years from the end of your employment with us in the case of personal pension records 80 years from the end of your employment with us in the case of occupational pension records

 

9.2              For any category of personal data not specifically defined in this Notice, and unless otherwise specified by applicable law, the required retention period for any personal data will be deemed to be 7 years from the date of receipt by us of that data.

9.3              The retention periods stated in this Notice can be prolonged or shortened as may be required (for example, in the event that legal proceedings apply to the data or if there is an on-going investigation into the data).

9.4              We review the personal data (and the categories of personal data) we are holding on a regular basis to ensure the data we are holding is still relevant to our business and is accurate. If we discover that certain data we are holding is no longer necessary or accurate, we will take reasonable steps to correct or delete this data as may be required.

9.5              If you wish to request that data we hold about you is amended or deleted, please refer to clause 10 below, which explains your privacy rights.

10.              Your privacy rights

10.1           The GDPR gives you the following rights in respect of personal data we hold about you:

The right to be informed

You have a right to know about our personal data protection and data processing activities, details of which are contained in this notice.

The right of access

You can make what is known as a Subject Access Request (“SAR”) to request information about the personal data we hold about you (free of charge, save for reasonable expenses for repeat requests). If you wish to make a SAR please contact us as described below.

The right to correction

Please inform us if information we hold about you is incomplete or inaccurate in any way and we will update our records as soon as possible, but in any event within one month.

We will take reasonable steps to communicate the change to any third parties to whom we have passed the same information.

The right to erasure (the ‘right to be forgotten’)

You may ask us to delete or remove personal data if there is no good reason for us continuing to process it. You also have the right to ask us to delete or remove your personal data where you have successfully exercised your right to object to processing (see below), if we may have processed your information unlawfully or if we are required to delete your personal data to comply with local law.

The data may continue to exist in backup form, but we will take steps to ensure that it will not be accessible.

We will communicate the erasure to any third parties to whom we have passed the same information.

We may not always be able to comply with your request of erasure for specific legal reasons which will be notified to you, if applicable, at the time of your request.

The right to restrict processing

You can request that we no longer process your personal data in certain ways, whilst not requiring us to the delete the same data.

The right to data portability

You have right to receive copies of personal data we hold about you in a commonly used and easily storable format (please let us know a format which suits you). You may also request that we transfer your personal data directly to third party (where technically possible).

The right to object

Unless we have overriding legitimate grounds for such processing, you may object to us using your personal data if you feel your fundamental rights and freedoms are impacted. You may also object if we use your personal data for direct marketing purposes (including profiling) or for research or statistical purposes. Please notify your objection to us and we will gladly cease such processing, unless we have overriding legitimate grounds.

Rights with respect to automated decision-making and profiling

You have a right not to be subject to automated decision-making (including profiling) when those decisions have a legal (or similarly significant effect) on you. You are not entitled to this right when the automated processing is necessary for us to perform our obligations under a contract with you, it is permitted by law, or if you have given your explicit consent.

Right to withdraw consent

If we are relying on your consent as the basis on which we are processing your personal data, you have the right to withdraw your consent at any time. Even if you have not expressly given your consent to our processing, you also have the right to object (see above).

 

10.2           All SARs and other requests or notifications in respect of your above rights must be sent to us in writing to Marion van Vlierden, Harnham Search and Selection Limited, 3rd Floor, Melbury House, 51 Wimbledon Hill Road, Wimbledon, London, England, SW19 7QW, dataprotection@harnham.com.

10.3           We will endeavour to comply with such requests as soon as possible but in any event we will comply within one month of receipt (unless a longer period of time to respond is reasonable by virtue of the complexity or number of your requests).

11.              Data Breaches

11.1           If personal data we hold about you is subject to a breach or unauthorised disclosure or access, we will report this to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and/or our Legal and Compliance Manager.

11.2           If a breach is likely to result in a risk to your data rights and freedoms, we will notify you as soon as possible.

12.              Transferring your information outside Europe

12.1           We do not expect to transfer your personal data outside of the EEA. However there may be circumstances in which we need to do so (for instance if our servers are based outside of the EEA or if your work is international in nature).

12.2           We may transfer your personal data to group companies who are outside of the EEA but if we do so we will ensure that the group companies have entered into a binding agreement with us to secure your rights in relation to the data.

12.3           If we transfer your information outside of the EEA, and the third country or international organisation in question has not been deemed by the EU Commission to have adequate data protection laws, we will provide appropriate safeguards and your privacy rights will continue to be enforceable against us as outlined in this notice.

13.              Contact us

13.1           If at any time you would like to contact us with your views about our privacy practices, or with any enquiry or complaint relating to your personal information or how it is handled, you can do so via the following email address Marion van Vlierden, dataprotection@harnham.com.

 

If we are unable to resolve any issues you may have or you would like to make a further complaint, you can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office by visiting http://www.ico.org.uk/ for further assistance.

 

Mental Health Apps Help Patients Make the Move into Therapy

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. As we continue to untangle ourselves from the cabin-fever isolation of the winter months post-pandemic, many are feeling overwhelmed and mentally burdened. It’s a lot to manage – remote working, virtual schooling, mask mandates, vaccine appointments, and the day-to-day screen time and Zoom meetings. It’s no wonder people are turning, once more to the virtual space for help.  From mindfulness and meditation apps and videos to physician-focused telehealth assistance in the health space, there is digital technology at play. While it may seem as if apps keep people from going to the source and seeking professional help in the mental health space, having an app is helping people make the decision to sit down one on one with someone.  Mind the App: A Note on Market Trends There is a proliferation of mindfulness meditation apps available on Google Play, iOS systems, and on YouTube, just to name a few. In fact, the market is set to grow exponentially over the next five to ten years. And technology companies have been paying attention. Key trends include: Design simplicity and collaboration with subject matter expertsEngagements both personal and professional which lower energy levels leading to disturbed sleep. While millennials search for a more whole (read: work/life) balanced life, it’s reported Generation Z is likely to have the worst mental health issues and desire to seek alternative therapy options.Apps-focused issues include insomnia, anxiety, depression, mindfulness, and whole being self-care.More and more Americans understand mindfulness and meditation are the best resources to help unwind and lessen stressors. Not all apps are created equal, but Headspace and Calm are two of the top contenders and most widely used. Those higher-level products backed by teams to ensure everything runs smoothly are outpacing the proliferation of self-help apps which number upwards of 20,000. Digital Technology and Machine Learning are Moving Things Forward From AI to Digital Technology to Machine Learning, Data professionals are working to ensure mental health apps are not a flash in the pan. Especially for those who may need help the most such as high utilizers. These high utilizers are those who may have multiple issues and check themselves into hospitals most frequently. Just like people worried about robots taking jobs, some therapists may worry these apps could replace in-person therapy treatments. This is unlikely as it may embolden those who need help to seek treatment in the more traditional sense. In fact, some apps could enhance therapy work rather than detract from it. Machine learning tools helped researchers analyze nearly 10,000 patients’ EHR Data over a 2-year period. The algorithm analyzed all the factors at once for a much more efficient breakdown and determination of each factor to best identify patient characteristics. Understanding this information helped researchers determine which factors lead to the disorders for higher utilization. Dangers and Predictions With nearly 20,000 mental health apps on the market, there are probably a fair number which aren’t as useful as they hope or claim to be. And some can be dangerous as was discovered in a 2015 study in which therapies for bipolar disorder were found to be inconsistent with established treatments (Nicholas, J., et al., Journal of Medical Internet Research, 2015). Not to mention ineffectual apps and those which disrupt treatments already in place and established. Mindfulness Apps at Work For happier, healthier workers not burned out from Zoom-fatigue and remote working, business leaders are focusing more and more on mental health. Some are offering mindfulness moments or group yoga classes or meditation opportunities throughout the day for a mental health break. Mental health discussions are now standard practice and efforts to open up more on this front through self-care prioritization and workplace wellness are making their mark. Employee mental health is top of mind as businesses and employees navigate the new normal when it comes to work, education, and the blurring of personal and professional lives as we continue remote practices.  What was once taboo and swept under the rug has been met with Digital Technology, Apps, AI, Machine Learning, and the door is open for discussion. Whether you take a mindfulness minute, write in a journal, meditate, or log in to your app remember mental health awareness is about self-care for the whole you. Need a mental health break? There’s an app for that. If you’re interested in Big Data and Analytics, Harnham may have a role for you. Check out our current vacancies or contact one of our expert consultants to learn more.  For our West Coast Team, contact us at (415) 614 - 4999 or send an email to sanfraninfo@harnham.com.  For our Mid-West and East Coast teams contact us at (212) 796-6070 or send an email to newyorkinfo@harnham.com.  

How Computer Vision Can Modernize American Infrastructure

What if we could imagine a city in which there were no traffic bottlenecks or jams? What if we could sail through tolls and park using an app? Could high-speed rail replace cars as our main means of transport commuting to and from work? Would travel apps with our faces, government IDs, and medical records launch us past the long security lines at the airport?  We already use computers to help us navigate our destinations, buy plane or train tickets, and in some cities, park using only our location and a credit card. Already a part of our day-to-day for many, computer vision is moving us along at a rapid rate.  Smart cities are changing the way we move Computer Vision is being used in a variety of ways and is modernizing our transportation infrastructure for a start. Using advanced technology, computers are learning to ‘see and hear’ and make informed decisions much as humans might to make our world more efficient and safer.  Below are just a few places Computer Vision is already in play in our communities: Traffic patternsTraffic signals – connected cameras watch for pedestrians as they monitor traffic flow. These connected cameras also help to optimize flow and reduce congestion.Street lamps – imagine saving electricity by dimming street lamp switches then turning them back on if movement is detected.Tolls – camera captures of your license plate billed to where it's registered and EZ Pass lanes – one pass to move across highways without slowing, stopping, or having to handle cash or coin.GPS warnings – red for stopped traffic, yellow for slowed trafficParking apps - in cities with significant parking issues such as limited space. Imagine using a location-based service parsed into zones and your credit card to not only find a parking spot more easily, but to guarantee your car won’t be towed or mishandled.Clear ID - when traveling both domestically and internationallyHigh-speed rail - in some cities and talks under way for more. Commuter trains are moving beyond New York and Chicago to other cities such as Atlanta, Detroit, and Dallas just to name a few. These are just a few ways cities are being modernized for individuals. But what about on a grander scale? With the increase of online orders and demand for delivery in the last year or two, it’s estimated that over 1 million packages were delivered in New York each day. Extrapolate that to the other 49 states and the amount of traffic on the road that is strictly for deliveries soon overtakes that of individual commuters. Computer Vision is Solving for Delivery Congestion For many downtowns, parking can be a bear. Especially if you have a delivery van or truck. Where do you park to make your deliveries? Remember, you’re on a deadline. All. The. Time. What if a car is parked in your loading zone? What if there’s too much traffic to park? What had once plagued urban roadways was now a bone of contention to deliver products in a timely manner. On the more negative side of these frustrations, parking revenue was virtually eliminated as the larger companies absorbed the costs into their cost of doing business. No one was getting anywhere fast. Enter Computer Vision technology. Once the reason behind the problem was understood, cities could begin to plan for a solution. This technology could be used to help city planners understand curbside activity so they could tailor their plans based on their cities’ needs. With the proper data to make more informed decisions, cities can plan locations for passenger parking, ride-hailing lots, and delivery only zones to make more efficient use of people’s parking needs. Next Steps Toward a Modernized Infrastructure Curb management is just one of the options that America is working on to modernize its infrastructure. Making traffic patterns and flow more efficient is another. Imagine a plan in which pedestrians, drivers, cyclists, commuters, and delivery fleets can safely share the road while also investing in clean energy solutions. Adding in infrastructure plans to also help combat climate change makes it a win-win for everyone. If you’re interested in Big Data & Analytics, Harnham may have a role for you. Check out our current vacancies or contact one of our expert consultants to learn more.  For our West Coast Team, contact us at (415) 614 - 4999 or send an email to sanfraninfo@harnham.com.  For our Mid-West and East Coast teams contact us at (212) 796-6070 or send an email to newyorkinfo@harnham.com.  

How Big Data and Risk Analytics Can Help Fight Climate Change

Data is all around us. We use it to calculate our calories and our steps to ensure a healthy body. We use it track our packages and ensure delivery to the right location. We look to it to check the weather for exercise, driving conditions, and in extreme cases, safety preparedness. But, could we use it to fight climate change? Could we use it to reign in swiftly rising temperature changes which could affect our food and ecosystems?  Greener Choices for Greener Products People have more choice than ever before. They also have information at their fingertips and can see at a glance the benefits or the drawbacks of purchases. From how their food is grown to how far their food is delivered to the practices of companies from oil and gas producers to the wearables on their wrist. Climate change and Big Data have been linked, but mostly to determine greenhouse gases and effects of pollutants. But with the rise of consumer advocacy groups, farm-to-table traditions, micro-and macro-farming, and a desire to know more about what we’re putting into our bodies, consumers are dictating greener options from the markets. The Business of Climate Risk Analytics As consumers take note of climate change, companies are merging knowledge of climate change risk into their financial decision making. How will climate change their business practices? How will it be scaled based on how climate science rules inform financial risk assessments not yet developed? The markets need just as much information as consumers when it comes to climate risk. These assessments are intended to businesses determine consequences, responses, and likelihood of the impacts of their actions. Enter climate risk analytics. Climate Risk Analytics uses risk assessment and risk management based on natural disasters and their impact. However, the climate is not in a static state. It’s ever-changing and those changes are often in the extremes with little information related to averages. This complicates risk assessments as do the differences in regional projections. How AI Can Help Big data combined with climate risk analytics is getting an additional boost from artificial intelligence. AI techniques are being used for a variety of situations such as disease tracking, crop optimization, and monitoring everything from our heartbeat to endangered species. Solutions from advances in Deep Learning and Machine Learning could solve global environmental crises while assuaging financial risk with predictive modelling. Yet barriers to effective solutions from AI include cost and regulatory approval. But if these items weren’t an issue? We could determine such vital information as water availability and ecosystem wellbeing. Water and ecosystems aside, AI can help: Track and monitor endangered speciesImprove energy efficienciesOptimize wildlife conservation Fight poaching of endangered speciesTrack mosquito populations to prevent diseaseWarn populations of upcoming storms• Inform agriculture, health, and climate studiesDetermine water, forest, and urbanization changesSome vineyards in California use AI to determine if vines receive enough or too much water. AI’s ability to process large amounts of information quickly are a boon to the ever-changing climate, its risk assessments for businesses, and its benefits to consumers and investors who want to know what businesses are doing to keep everyone safe. In Honor of Earth Day This week we celebrate Earth Day. It’s a day to remember and honor the earth who gives us our air, our food, our animals, plants, fish, and so much more. From Greta Thunberg’s School Strike for Climate to Naomi Klein’s book, The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal, climate is front and center of our thoughts and our survival. Want to be part of the movement working with Climate Risk Analytics or the effect of Artificial Intelligence in our environment? Harnham may have a role for you. From Big Data & Analytics to the Life Sciences, there’s something for everyone interested in the Data industry. Check out our current vacancies or contact one of our expert consultants to learn more.  For our West Coast Team, contact us at (415) 614 - 4999 or send an email to sanfraninfo@harnham.com.  For our Mid-West and East Coast teams contact us at (212) 796-6070 or send an email to newyorkinfo@harnham.com.  

Bridging the Gap: The Role of a DevOps Engineer

Siloed teams are swiftly becoming a thing of the past as organizations learn collaboration is key. Businesses are embracing transformation. But some may not know where to turn to help them manage such a massive restructuring of operations. Enter the DevOps Engineer. Yes, Virginia. The unicorn employee does exist. What is a DevOps Engineer? For many businesses, it’s a dream to find a technical person who can also communicate across departments. In the DevOps Engineer role is an IT Generalist who not only has a deep understanding of codes, infrastructure management, and agile familiarity but who also possesses interpersonal skills. It’s this combination that makes this role so imperative to businesses. Working across siloes and bringing teams together for collaboration bridges the gap between the technical and non-technical departments. One of their most important roles is as advocate. Moving from siloed teams to the more collaborative environment of a DevOps culture can be difficult for engineering team members. But as advocate for the benefits, the DevOps Engineer can explain it best to those with whom they’ve worked. Their technical expertise puts them on par with their peers and their interpersonal skills offer a way to communicate across the organization.   Want to Restructure Your Skills toward DevOps? If you’re an IT Generalist with great communication skills. DevOps Engineer could be your next role. But what skills do you need and how might you streamline what you already know into this key role for many businesses? Technical skills depend on team structure, technologies in place, and tools already in use. But the key element of a DevOps Engineer is their strong communication and collaborative skills. Can you morph your technical world into layman’s terms for the executives? Can you translate different needs across teams from QA testers to software developers, generalists and specialists alike? It’s this deep understanding which makes you so valuable to employers. For many organizations, this is the best of both worlds.  Knowing the pros and cons of available tools. Understanding the components of a delivery pipeline. And strong communication skills to bridge once siloed teams into a cohesive and collaborative environment. More technical skills include, but aren’t limited to System administration – such as managing servers, database deployment, and system patching just to name a few.Experience with DevOps tools – understand the lifecycle from building and infrastructure to operating and monitoring a product or service.Configuration management – experience with configuration management tools such as Chef, Puppet, or Ansible to automate admin tasks.Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment (CD) – this is a core practice of DevOps. It’s this role’s approach to software development with tools to automate the building, testing, and deploying of software processes. System architecture and provisioning – ability to design and manage computer ecosystems whether in-office or in the cloud. Within this skillset is the importance of Infrastructure as Code (IaC). This is an IT management process that applies best practices from software development to cloud infrastructure management.  Collaborative management skills – while the CI/CD skills are core to the technical side, this is one of the key components for the soft skills required for a DevOps structure. In a Nutshell DevOps (Development + Operations) is a practice that involves new management principles and requires a cultural change. And a DevOps Engineer is the heart of the transformation. Yet they can’t do it alone. A good DevOps Team has more than just one engineer. It involves a mix of generalists and specialists to implement and improve these practices within the software development cycle. A few of these roles include:  DevOps evangelist Automation expert Software developer Quality assurance  If you’re interested in Big Data and Analytics, Harnham may have a role for you. Check out our current vacancies or contact one of our expert consultants to learn more.  For our West Coast Team, contact us at (415) 614 - 4999 or send an email to sanfraninfo@harnham.com.  For our Mid-West and East Coast teams contact us at (212) 796-6070 or send an email to newyorkinfo@harnham.com.