Everything you need to know about becoming a DevOps Engineer

DevOps is a software development strategy that works as a bridge between coders and other IT staff. This strategy helps organizations speed up the release of small features and implement feedback and changes real quick. Additionally, DevOps helps in reducing the chances of software failures and shortens the time of fixing bugs within the development. This strategy is called DevOps because it fuses DEVelopment and OPerations. While talking about DevOps engineers, purists insist that DevOps is not a role but a culture. According to them, DevOps is a method to deliver software with distributed pain and responsibility. Their perception is correct to some extent; DevOps is a shared responsibility, but having a DevOps engineer is also a right and adopted approach by established software houses.

A DevOps engineer is someone who has complete knowledge of SDLC and also has an exceptional understanding of various automation tools and processes to resolve different operational challenges and to develop digital pipelines. Such an engineer needs to collaborate with the developers as well as the IT team to plan code releases. Most such people are developers who have an interest in operations and deployment or administrators who have in-depth knowledge of coding and SDLC but want to move towards the development side. Their primary role is to improve and speed up the testing and deployment process.

A DevOps engineer is required to be an excellent communicator. Their role is very similar to that of an IT Project Manager. In a team, such engineers work with other professional experts and manage different pieces of the infrastructure puzzle. Project managers and DevOps engineers, considered as two sides of the same coin that have different visions. DevOps engineers are also sometimes called "mentor software developers" inside an organization. Their job also requires collaboration between IT and Security teams to ensure the release of quality products.

Experience Required to Become a DevOps Engineer

It is a fundamental concept that there are no junior DevOps engineers. You can find this trait gaining much popularity on Reddit and StackOverflow. That means that to become a DevOps engineer, you are required to have many years of experience and an in-depth understanding of related tools. Such professionals are needed to have the experience of integration technology, automation, and cloud coding languages. The career path for learning all this is through Project management, System Management, and Database Administration. After attaining 2-3 years of experience in these domains, a person can become eligible to serve as a DevOps engineer.

These engineers are specialists in writing scripts to make changes to existing cloud setup instead of creating a new one. Hence, organizations that hire DevOps engineers can deploy code in less time and with more accuracy than their competitors. 

Thus, whosoever wishes to choose this career path is required to have excellent skills in open source technologies and have a vast knowledge of tools and techniques used by their senior engineers.

Required Skills for This Role

Some critical skills that are necessary for a DevOps engineer's role include:

  • Agile Project Management
  • Cloud Technology
  • Container Concepts
  • Continuous Integration
  • Deployment Automation & Orchestration
  • Infrastructure Automation
  • Open Source OS
  • Orchestration
  • Source Control

Along with expertise in all the above skills, DevOps engineers are required to have a 4-year graduation degree in IT. And other than the technical ones, the following are some generic skills essential for DevOps engineers:

  • Coding or scripting
  • Process re-engineering
  • Communication and collaboration skills

A DevOps engineer is someone who takes the pain and responsibility of developing and deploying a software project. A single person or a team can play this role, but the primary focus is to get the work done.

Estimated Salaries of DevOps Engineers

In the current era, a DevOps engineer is one of the highest-paid jobs around the world. Although the salary can vary depending upon different factors like company, experience, and skills, they are among the highest-paid staff within an organization. According to April 2018's job data from Glassdoor, a lead DevOps engineer can make up to $180,000 a year.

The Future of DevOps

The basic understanding required for every engineer is that software technology is progressing every day, and coding and scripting skills are also changing with time. Technology is increasing, and DevOps engineers also need to adapt to new trends to sustain their place in the market. While reviewing the history and patterns, we can say that the future of DevOps is very bright. There are great opportunities to deploy goal-oriented pipelines, which would help join standard repositories.

Hiring DevOps professionals usually has a positive impact on IT organizations in terms of team management, meeting deadlines, and development frequency. Early response of converting to DevOps services proves to be facilitating for organizations. This new career path has a massive impact on the company's culture, as well. Over the years, DevOps has become more than an IT function. For many organizations, it is becoming a philosophy, and instead of hiring a single person, they are building DevOps teams.

Many organizations might prefer utilizing their senior resources for this role instead of hiring new staff. As mentioned above, the experience is the main requirement for this job, and hiring external resources could be risky. External resources could take time in settling into the organization's culture and understanding their working style. That is the reason behind companies promoting their existing staff to take on the role of DevOps engineers.

Who is the Right Person for This Job?

The right person for this job would be a person who has in-depth deployment automation and infrastructure automation skills. These skills are not learned through any degree but acquired while working in the field while performing diverse IT roles and having a balanced knowledge of Software development and Project management. Along with all technical knowledge, skills, and expertise, a DevOps engineer should have the following soft skills:

  • Excellent management skills
  • Team player and team manager
  • Good communication skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Adaptable to changes
  • High passion for learning new advancements in technology

DevOps jobs are considered to be high paying and long term. While moving towards this career, a person should know that more than a role, it is a culture that needs development within a software company. This department is more about increasing the deployment of microservices. Their future also relies on providing server-less computing and determining which use-cases are appropriate for a particular diverse environment. By acquiring these skills, DevOps teams become capable of leading their companies in decision-making strategies.

A Few Final Words

A DevOps engineer's principal focus is customer satisfaction. Such engineers are committed to delivering quality products, which requires them to have a broader vision of what customers want as well as the resources necessary for development. As there is no training or course currently available to become a DevOps engineer, and most of them have a software development background, such engineers lack the essential management and planning skills. There is a massive difference between a developer and a DevOps engineer. The developer's only job is to code and create software while a DevOps engineer should have the sense to see the larger picture, which is essential to satisfy the customer. For this purpose, whenever a developer decides to switch to DevOps, he should learn a few Project management tactics as both these roles are very alike.

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