DevOps is an approach aimed at facilitating efficient and reliable software development and implementation by integrating application development, quality assurance and operations. More and more organizations are adopting DevOps because of its potential to streamline production, offer value to the end user, and enable agile services, all of which boost competitiveness and contribute to business growth.
Communication between the development, QA, and operations teams, inter-team cooperation, automation, continuous delivery, monitoring, and swift response to feedback are key features of DevOps. DevOps engineers, particularly those who work in cloud environments, currently command high salaries. LinkedIn's 2018 report of the most in-demand jobs on the site stated that DevOps engineer was the most hired role.
What does a DevOps engineer do?
A DevOps engineer manages the technical and human interface between software development, quality assurance, and IT operations. Depending on the industry type and size of the organization, a DevOps engineer may work alongside developers, or be responsible for a certain part of the DevOps lifecycle, or supervise a team comprising developers, a QA manager, a release manager, automation engineer, and infrastructure administrator.
A DevOps engineer is responsible for streamlining software delivery and integration using automated processes in order to speed up product releases and offer value to the customer. Responsibilities differ from organization to organization and might include some or all of the following:
- Provisioning and managing infrastructure, including hardware, networks, storage, VMs, and software for development, testing, and deployment
- Developing a strategy to streamline development and operations in order to expedite delivery and optimize outcomes
- Defining requirements and documenting server-side configurations
- Writing scripts for Continuous Delivery (CD) and Continuous Integration (CI)
- Automating requirement, development, testing, and deployment processes to ensure continuous delivery and continuous integration
- Implementing security measures to protect software from cybersecurity attacks. This includes writing secure code.
- Assessing and monitoring performance of software applications
- Performing tests
- Enabling collaboration between development, QA, operations, and product teams
DevOps continues to evolve
The rapid pace of technological change keeps enterprises constantly under pressure to hasten delivery and satisfy clients' changing needs. In this environment of constant change and competition, the DevOps engineer's role keeps transforming.
DevOps practitioners expect automation to increase. According to an article in Tech Republic, Tim Eusterman of BMC Software expects coding automation to go mainstream in 2019. According to an article by Gil Artmoore in DevOps.com, the focus is shifting from continuous integration (CI) to continuous delivery and automation, bringing in the DevOps assembly lines method, which helps to bridge the divide between manual and automated functions.
ArtificiaI Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are changing the way software is developed. DevOps engineers need to acquire knowledge of new ML and AI testing tools and implement the same to be able to analyze higher volumes of data swiftly and comprehensively.
It's crucial to learn current technical skills, including Test Driven development (TDD), Behavior Driven Development (BDD), and Acceptance Test Driven Development (ATDD), as well as stay abreast of the latest changes in coding and software development.
As cyber threats continue to increase, it's also imperative for DevOps engineers to keep themselves informed of the latest threats and security technologies. They must continually implement robust and up-to-date enterprise security options.
Necessary training and employment background
To be an effective DevOps engineer, you need to hone both technical and soft skills. Successful DevOps engineers have development, system administration, communication, and people skills, and a customer-first approach. Most companies prefer candidates who hold at least a bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology, or engineering.
Relevant experience is required for most DevOps engineer positions. Take a look at recent job advertisements and you will come across many that specify professional experience of at least two years as a developer, IT operations manager, system administrator, or a QA professional.
A DevOps engineer needs to be able to handle software testing and deployment. In order to achieve this, he must have hands-on experience with automation tools, such as Chef, Puppet, Git, Ansible, Jenkins, Nagios, and Docker.
Besides knowledge of current tools, it's essential to have coding skills because you will be required to write scripts and tweak code. Programming languages include C#, PHP, Java, C++, and Ruby. Most recruiters require knowledge of at least one scripting language, such as Python, PowerShell, or Bash.
Experience with SQL or NoSQL database systems is necessary because database models are used during deployment. As the emphasis is on fostering effective communication and collaboration between teams, a DevOps engineer must have solid communication and team management skills. She or he must also be flexible and be able to adapt fast in a constantly changing scenario.
Though certification alone will not get you hired as a DevOps engineer, the right certification can add value to your résumé and give you an edge over a candidate with similar qualifications and experience, but without certification. Industry-recognized credentials demonstrate current knowledge of automation systems, specific cloud platforms, or application techniques.
There are a number of vendor-neutral and vendor-specific certifications available. Your choice of certification would depend on preferred specialization, market needs, employer's requirements if you wish to change roles within the same company, and industry trends.
In-demand certifications include:
AWS Certified DevOps Engineer � Professional
This certification is designed for professionals who have more than two years of professional experience as DevOps engineers in an AWS environment. Candidates must pass a 170-minute, multiple-choice, multiple-answer exam. Details are available online.
Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA)
Developed by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) in association with the Linux Foundation, the CKA credential validates the holder's knowledge and skills in administering Kubernetes clusters. The performance-based exam tests the candidate's ability to solve problems from the command line. Details are available online.
Certified Kubernetes Application Developer (CKAD)
Managed by CNCF and Linux Foundation, the CKAD certification is designed for Kubernetes application developers and demonstrates the holder's ability to design, develop, configure, and troubleshoot Kubernetes cloud applications and solve problems in a command-line environment. Candidates are required to pass a performance-based test. Details are available online.
Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer Expert
This certification is suitable for those who work as DevOps engineers, developers, system administrators, and other DevOps professionals. It validates the knowledge and skills needed to design and implement DevOps methods using Azure tools and services. You must hold a valid Azure Administrator or Azure Developer certificate and pass the AZ-400 exam to earn the Azure DevOps Engineer Expert certification. Details are available online.
Puppet Professional 2018 Certification
According to Puppet, over 35000 organizations across the globe use Puppet. This certification demonstrates the holder's expertise in using Puppet automation software to manage system infrastructure and author modules. The PPT-206 exam also tests knowledge of Puppet documentation and language constructs. Candidates need to have practical experience using Puppet IT automation software. Details are available online.
The DevOps Institute, a member-based association of DevOps professionals, offers 7 DevOps competency-based certifications, which include DevOps Foundation®, DevOps Leader (DOL)®, DevSecOps Engineering (DSOE)℠, Continuous Delivery Architecture (CDA)℠, DevOps Test Engineering (DTE)®, Certified Agile Service Manager (CASM)®, and Certified Agile Process Owner (CAPO)®. Details are available online.
A growing market
Demand for DevOps professionals is expected to increase as more and more companies strive to make their business processes more efficient. To be noticed by potential employers, you need the right mix of experience and aptitude, communication and interpersonal skills, technical expertise, problem-solving ability, flexibility, and focus on putting the customer first.