Suppose you hire a contractor to paint the exterior of your house. Now suppose the company has a specialist who goes around initially to do all the cut-in and touch-up work.
If you are a team of only one painter, you can probably pay the specialist as a part-timer. She goes to a new site, cuts it in, and then comes back after the team has done the main work. If you get bogged down, you might have to pay her some overtime pay to work in the evening or whatever to finish up, but usually you can pay her just as a regular part-time employee.
But if you have a few jobs going all the time, you should probably make her full-time and maybe even salaried, right? She will have plenty of new sites to go to, and can travel around to the ones that are finishing up. She might spend some time every day just in the car, but it wouldn’t make sense to pay her overtime as a part-timer when you can just pay a salary to get the job done in the evening. Some of the folks may wonder what she’s doing all the time, as they see themselves working for hours on end while she’s traveling between sites or waiting for them to finish, but that’s the nature of her work.
My job is very much like the specialist’s. As the DevOps Guy on my team, I first make sure that the systems are functional and ready for the development team to add software to them. When the devs are finished with their programming, it’s my job to make sure that the apps get put onto the systems so people in the real world can use them. Note that in a perfect world, the systems will always work. (And, truthfully, they usually do.)
So my job is really similar to the painter doing the touch-up work at the end. If the developers run into problems and have to work late, that means I’m working later than I’d like. If a deadline is approaching, I’ll be working harder, just as the devs are. But during SOME of the day, I, like the painter, am sitting in the car waiting.
Fortunately, like the salaried painting specialist, I support several developers working on several things…so that keeps me out of the car quite a bit. But can I really complain if I have to work late once a week? Hell no…this is a damn good gig.