Support Boot Camp

Goal: Prepare new Service Engineers at GitLab

For each stage, there are learning goals and content to support the learning of the engineer. The goal of this boot camp is to have every Service Engineer prepared to help our customers with whatever needs they might have and to also assist our awesome community with their questions.

Always start with the University Overview and then work your way here for more advanced and specific training. Once you feel comfortable with the topics of the current stage, move to the next.

Stage 1

Follow the topics on the University Overview, concentrate on it during your first Stage, but also:

  • Perform the first steps of the on-boarding process for new Service Engineers


Aim to have a good overview of the Product and main features, Git and the Company

Stage 2

Continue to look over remaining portions of the University Overview and continue on to these topics:

Set up your development machine

Get your development machine ready to familiarize yourself with the codebase, the components, and to be prepared to reproduce issues that our users encounter

Become comfortable with the Installation processes that we support

It’s important to understand how to install GitLab in the same way that our users do. Try installing different versions and upgrading and downgrading between them. Installation from source will give you a greater understanding of the components that we employ and how everything fits together.

Sometimes we need to upgrade customers from old versions of GitLab to latest, so it’s good to get some experience of doing that now.

Start to learn about some of the integrations that we support

Our integrations add great value to GitLab. User questions often relate to integrating GitLab with existing external services and the configuration involved


  • Aim to be comfortable with installation of the GitLab product and configuration of some of the major integrations
  • Aim to have an installation available for reproducing customer reports

Stage 3

Understand the gathering of diagnostics for GitLab instances

Learn about the Support process

Zendesk is our Support Centre and our main communication line with our Customers. We communicate with customers through several other channels too

  • Familiarize yourself with ZenDesk:
  • Dive into our ZenDesk support process by reading how to handle tickets
  • Start getting real world experience by handling real tickets, all the while gaining further experience with the Product.
    • First, learn about our Support Channels
    • Ask other Service Engineers for help, when necessary, and to review your responses
    • Start with StackOverflow and the GitLab forum
    • Here you will find a large variety of queries mainly from our Users who are self hosting GitLab CE
    • Understand the questions that are asked and dig in to try to find a solution
    • Proceed on to the Support Forum
      • Here you will find queries regarding our own
      • Helping Users here will give you an understanding of our Admin interface and other tools
    • Proceed on to the Twitter tickets in Zendesk
      • Here you will gain a great insight into our userbase
      • Learn from any complaints and problems and feed them back to the team
      • Tweets can range from help needed with GitLab installations, the API and just general queries
    • Proceed on to Regular email Support tickets
      • Here you will find tickets from our GitLab EE Customers and GitLab CE Users
      • Tickets here are extremely varied and often very technical
      • You should be prepared for these tickets, given the knowledge gained from previous tiers and your training
  • Check out your colleagues’ responses
    • Hop on to the #support-live-feed channel in Slack and see the tickets as they come in and are updated
    • Read through old tickets that your colleagues have worked on
  • Start arranging to pair on calls with other Service Engineers. Aim to cover a few of each type of call
    • Learn about Cisco WebEx
    • Training calls
    • Information gathering calls
      • It’s good to find out how new and prospective customers are going to be using the product and how they will set up their infrastructure
    • Diagnosis calls
      • When email isn’t enough we may need to hop on a call and do some debugging along side the customer
      • These paired calls are a great learning experience
    • Upgrade calls
    • Emergency calls

Learn about the Escalation process for tickets

Some tickets need specific knowledge or a deep understanding of a particular component and will need to be escalated to a Senior Service Engineer or Developer

  • Read about Escalation
  • Find the macros in Zendesk for ticket escalations
  • Take a look at the Team page to find the resident experts in their fields

Learn about raising issues and fielding feature proposals

  • Understand what’s in the pipeline and proposed features at GitLab: Direction Page
  • Practice searching issues and filtering using labels to find existing feature proposals and bugs
  • If raising a new issue always provide a relevant label and a link to the relevant ticket in Zendesk
  • Add customer labels for those issues relevant to our subscribers
  • Take a look at the existing issue templates to see what is expected
  • Raise issues for bugs in a manner that would make the issue easily reproducible. A Developer or a contributor may work on your issue


  • Aim to have a good understanding of the problems that customers are facing
  • Aim to have gained experience in scheduling and participating in calls with customers
  • Aim to have a good understanding of ticket flow through Zendesk and how to interact with our various channels

Stage 4

Advanced GitLab topics

Move on to understanding some of GitLab’s more advanced features. You can make use of to understand the features from an end-user perspective and then use your own instance to understand setup and configuration of the feature from an Administrative perspective

Get initiated for on-call duty

  • Read over the public run-books to understand common tasks
  • Create an issue on the internal Organization tracker to schedule time with the DevOps / Production team, so that you learn how to handle going down. Once you are trained for this, you are ready to be added to the on-call rotation.


  • Aim to become a fully-fledged Service Engineer!