Henry Ford, a man who knew a thing or two about well-oiled machines, once said, "Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success." Teamwork is key to the success of any major organization or company. So it's no surprise that a teamwork-centered philosophy and set of practices created to help your organization run like a well-oiled machine would take the IT business world by storm. That, in a nutshell, is DevOps.
In the current IT landscape, there is often a great disconnect between a company's development team and the end user of company products. This is where DevOps comes into play, and why DevOps has become so critical to business success. Certification providers have begun to offer DevOps training, and the latest to join the ranks is enterprise Linux titan Red Hat.
Earlier this month, Red Hat announced a news architect-level credential, Red Hat Certified Architect (RHCA): DevOps. The new credential can be attained by any Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) who passes the following five exams:
- Containerized Application Development
- Configuration Management
- Ansible Automation*
- Container Management*
- Release is pending
In order to understand what RHCA: DevOps can mean for you and your future career, let's dig a little deeper.
What is DevOps?
Is it a way of thinking? Is it a job title? Is it a culture? Is it just a way of doing things? In short, yes. DevOps encompasses many resources and disciplines, but according to Randy Russell, Director of Certification at Red Hat, it's a philosophy and set of tools. These tools are used for communication, collaboration, automation and integration, building a bridge between software developers and IT operations.
"You want to bring (products) to market faster by using automation," said Russell, "and shortening the time that it takes from a developer working on that new application, or that new feature, to the time that it's actually in the hands of the end user."
A typical IT fabrication team consists of developers, database administrators, a quality assurance team and a production team to deploy the finished product to the users. As described in an earlier article here at CertMag.com, DevOps is about creating an environment where everyone involved can work together quickly, efficiently and in concert.
To quote from that article, by April Miller Cripliver: DevOps aids in software application release management for an organization by standardizing development environments. Events can be more easily tracked as well as resolving documented process control and granular reporting issues.
Red Hat's training model is already set up to train team leaders in creating such an environment.
Why is Red Hat a good fit for DevOps certification?
Self-proclaimed as the world's leading open source and enterprise IT provider, Red Hat is solving complex business and IT challenges around the globe. The Red Hat development model is based on transparency and open efficiency in communication, which is right in line with the underlying philosophy of DevOps. The trainers at Red Hat see the company's new DevOps certifications as an opportunity to teach good practices.
"We're saying look, here are some technologies that, properly understood and used, can help you get to DevOps," said Russell. "We're not saying that if you buy this, you're doing it. We're saying this is something that's going to enable you to do it, if you adopt these practices ... we see an opportunity to actually teach those practices."
Learning sound development practices puts you on a DevOps continuum. Russell referenced Facebook and Amazon as being extremely far ahead on the DevOps continuum because of what those companies deal with on a daily basis. These large companies are extremely efficient, pushing thousands of codes out a day. DevOps is all about organizational efficiency.
"There's a subset of our solutions that are really well suited to that, and that's what we've identified," continued Russell. "It's in a sense the toolkit, here are some things that if you have knowledge ... you can make a credible claim to being able to work at DevOps and actually be able to help an organization move to a more DevOps model."
Learning these DevOps practices and understanding how to implement them can make someone very valuable to any organization that could benefit from increased efficiency. Which is to say, really, any organization at all.
What can DevOps certification do for my career?
There are a number of organizations that don't yet grasp how DevOps can help their productivity, but that number is growing smaller. As companies worldwide begin seeing the benefits, trained DevOps professionals are going to be in high demand.
A career in DevOps does not necessarily begin at DevOps engineer. You first need a solid background in IT, but that background can vary. Many DevOps engineers got their start as developers before making the transition, while others got their start as system administrators. Where you start is less important than making an overall commitment and building a solid foundation.
"That person who gets the title of DevOps engineer or DevOps specialist or whatever, they're going to have to be the glue between all of these teams," Russell explained. "That's where the big opportunity is. At the end of the day, it's not something that one person can make happen, but one person becomes the facilitator to it happening."
Big things are happening in the IT world, disruptive things. These disruptions are being driven by the same open source model that dictates Red Hat's business and shapes its certification training. If DevOps is in your future, then RHCA: DevOps is a good target to aim at.