DevOps, the burgeoning practice of development and operations collaborating to speed software deployments, improve software quality, and fix problems faster, continues to be red-hot at companies large and small. But DevOps can be complicated—and sometimes controversial—so it’s a good idea to pay attention to the people who speak confidently and knowledgeably about the subject.

To help you find some of the best, we’ve put together a list of 18 DevOps leaders—in alphabetical order, by first name—whose opinions and insights we thought were worth following, along with samples of their DevOps-related tweets. We made our selections based on DevOps influence and expertise as well as how often they made us smile, nod in agreement, or exclaim, “Oh, that’s good to know.”

By necessity, we left out plenty of interesting DevOps folks, such as @garethr, @botchagalupe, and @UberGeekGirl, because we didn’t want to overwhelm anyone, and because we didn’t want to point only to the Usual Suspects. We made an effort to include worthy voices that may not be as widely known, but if you know of other DevOps leaders you think everyone should follow, please share on Twitter: #DevOps2Follow.

1. Charity Majors

@mipsytipsy is a startup co-founder in the infrastructure space, a database enthusiast, and “ops lady.” Her Twitter feed shows her experience designing and implementing full stack architecture “and automating the pain away: She’s got attitude as well as tech chops. (And you can hear her on the latest episode of The New Stack @ Scale Podcast: Velocity Meets Monitoring in Software, sponsored by New Relic.)

2. Damon Edwards

Some people clutter your Twitter feeds with off-topic posts alongside business tweets. (Though really, how can anyone object to a cat video?) @damonedwards doesn’t post all that often, but when he does, people listen (or at least “favorite” what he says). A frequent conference speaker and contributor to the blog, he focuses on DevOps and operational process topics for SaaS, e-commerce, and cloud businesses.

3. Donnie Berkholz

@dberkholz is 451 Research’s director for development, DevOps, and IT operations. He’s often on the road, posting from tech conferences you wish you could attend, and sometimes complaining about being stuck in the middle seat on the flight home.

4. Gene Kim

@RealGeneKim is co-author of The Phoenix Project and The Visible Ops Handbook, and is something of a connector in the DevOps community. For example, he runs online DevOps chats, which attract a wide range of people whom you want to know. We’ve also covered many of his DevOps insights in the New Relic blog.

5. Goat User Stories

We’re tempted to categorize the @GoatUserStories Twitter feed as humor, except it’s so on point that the daily tweets serve as a reminder to serve the user. You’ll laugh, particularly on a Friday afternoon after a long week, and you’ll appreciate the photos in your Twitter feed, but it’ll also make you think. It’s not all DevOps all the time, but user stories matter, too.

6. James Turnbull

@kartar is CTO at Kickstarter, and previously was VP of services at Docker, VP of engineering at Venmo, and VP of tech operations at Puppet. So you’d rightfully expect he has a lot of street cred on DevOps topics, and he knows cool folks whom he retweets. But you might not expect such a great sense of humor.

7. Jeff Sussna

@jeffsussna is a consultant, author, and workshop organizer whose attention is on “creating digital service teams and organizations that deliver on the promise of continuous value.” His Twitter feed offers continuous value to the DevOps community.

8. Jez Humble

@jezhumble is another DevOps icon. Jez is co-author of Continuous Delivery and Lean Enterprise, a lecturer at U.C. Berkeley, deputy director of delivery architecture and infrastructure services at 18F, and a former VP at Chef and Opscode. He also runs the Continuous Delivery site and has been featured in the New Relic blog: 10 Deep DevOps Thoughts From Chef’s Jez Humble.

9. John Arundel

@bitfield is an expert in Puppet (he’s the author of several books on the subject) and a web operations consultant with more than two decades of system administrator experience. In addition to providing plenty of his own DevOps wisdom, he also retweets stuff you wanted to discover (but didn’t know existed yet).

10. Kelsey Hightower

As a staff developer advocate at Google, @kelseyhightower tweets about containers, Kubernetes, and Golang, among other things—he’s the author of Kubernetes: Up and Running—but doesn’t neglect DevOps. (He was also a guest on The New Stack @ Scale Podcast: Google’s Kelsey Hightower on APIs, SLAs, Silos, and Platform Management at Scale.)

11. Kris Buytaert

Kris Buytaert is a longtime Linux and open source consultant, and (at least self-described) one of the instigators of the DevOps movement. @KrisBuytaert posts sporadically, but you’ll find his commentary and links instructive.

12. Leslie Carr

@lesliegeek is on the Board of Directors for SFMIX, a data center nerd, and passionate open source advocate who has centered her attention on building robust infrastructures to improve scalability, manageability, and uptime. She also tweets about cats, so you know she’s cool.

13. Mandy Walls

@lnxchk is technical practice manager for Chef and senior technical evangelist for Opscode, with specialties in web application operations and large scale web issues, such as DevOps workflow. Her Twitter feed is a delightful mixture of tech, wry process observations, and geeky content curation (that’s a fancy way of saying, “She finds fun stuff”).

14. nixCraft

The @nixcraft blog regularly shares Linux tips, hacks, and tutorials. Its Twitter feed is a fun and useful mixture of “news you need to know” and things to entertain you. And since “fun and useful” is always an ideal combination, this is a winner.

15. Patrick Debois

Another IT consultant, @patrickdebois describes himself as “bridging the gap between projects and operations.” His Twitter feed mentions plenty of open-source flavored tools and technologies, especially about serverless computing, with a welcome dollop of self-deprecating humor.

16. reddit’s /r/sysadmin

Little-known fact: Many subreddits have a Twitter feed that acts like a latter-day RSS feed, such as this one at @rsysadmi or @reddit_DevOps. So you can be distracted in one browser window instead of having to go to another one for your shininess. These aren’t conversational Twitter accounts; if you want to participate, you need to follow the link to reddit.

17. Sad Operator

Nearly 10,000 people follow @sadoperator, and if you have any sense of humor (or you feel the need to indulge in ennui), you’ll do so, too. It’s just plain funny, even though your non-geek friends will have no idea what you’re giggling about.

18. Tom Limoncelli

It’s astonishing that fewer than 5,000 people follow @yesthattom. Maybe everyone else keeps in touch with him via old-school email lists, but sheesh, any self-respecting DevOps practitioner ought to pay attention to Tom’s comments on cloud technologies in the sysadmin universe. He also runs

Finally, of course, you should be following New Relic’s own Sean Kane @spkane (co-author of Docker Up and Running), and Alice Goldfuss @alicegoldfuss (check out her excellent list of women in the ops space to follow). And don’t forget @NewRelic itself, which is a good way to keep learning about cool DevOps posts like this one.

Since 1992, Esther Schindler has made a living by translating from Geek into English. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, where she’s sure to distract you from getting productive work accomplished. View posts by .

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