The QCon conference arrived in London this week - it's a big deal for anyone involved in software development.
Our technology team at the Government Digital Service (GDS) spoke at the event, along with speakers from a number of talented start-ups, such as Netflix, Twitter, Soundcloud and Shazam.
No longer is there surprise in seeing our name in this kind of speaker line-up. Previously, a perfectly reasonable question would have been, what can the government possibly teach us about technology innovation? Now the question is can the government share some of its best practise on agile, open source, Devops and microservices?
GDS has helped the government come a long way, establishing itself as a success story in the UK technology sector. If you quote the words of a previous Guardian headline, we’re ‘the best startup in Europe we can’t invest in’. I'm proud of how far we've come, and I'm excited by the challenges ahead.
GDS designed and built GOV.UK, the best place to find government information and services. The website is now the central publishing platform for 350 agencies across 24 different departments, and receives an average of 2.64 million visits per day (January 2015).
But GDS is not just about websites. It’s working with the rest of government to make public services simpler and more transparent. It’s building platforms like Verify, which confirms users are who they say they are, and the Performance Platform, which gives citizens statistics on how government services are doing right now.
We’re helping citizens carry out more of their tasks digitally. For example, they can now easily claim redundancy pay, renew their driving license or apply for a student loan online. The Office of the Chief Technology Officer, which sits within GDS is setting standards for digital platforms that are shared across agencies and departments, ensuring the technology is consistent and controlling government spend.
All members of the GDS technology team focus on different projects but these do share some common components. They involve consulting with a large number of different departments and agencies, practicing agile, preaching the power or openess and changing the government’s delivery culture so teams can build and run their services, like in a mature Devops culture.
GDS technical architect Anna Shipman talked at QCon on Wednesday about what this Devops culture looks like, as well as some of the upcoming challenges we’re facing within government and outside.
My talk at QCon on Friday is about microservices, when you should run them, and why the new architecture requires us to change how we operate our systems and manage our development. I discuss how to give developers more responsibility for their choices, and how to manage monitoring, logging, auditing, security and other concerns when working with a distributed, microservices system.
The QCon conference is a good time to look at what we’re bringing to the technology industry as well as what we’re doing for government. It’s also a chance for us to show you there is exciting technology work going on within government. If work like this sounds good to you, please get in touch.
If work like this sounds good to you, take a look at working for GDS. We’re searching for talented people to come and join our team.