Development and operations were once distinct components. Developers wrote code while system administrators managed deployment and integration processes; as communication between these silos was limited, specialists usually worked separately within each project.
That model worked fine when Waterfall development reigned supreme. Still, as Agile and continuous workflow development have taken hold in software development, this model no longer fits. Short sprints with releases every two weeks (or even daily!) necessitate a different approach and team roles that must now be in place for such rapid release cycles.
Today, DevOps is one of the most-discussed software development approaches. Its popularity can be seen among Facebook, Netflix, Amazon, and Etsy, among many other industry-leading companies; so if you are considering adopting it to improve performance, business success, and competitiveness, then take the first step by hiring a DevOps engineer; but first, let’s explore what DevOps is and how it improves product delivery.
Their focus should be to drive the business forward faster while giving them an advantage technologically. A DevOps engineer should possess strong scripting and coding abilities and be adept at deployment automation, framework computerization, and handling version control systems effectively.
What Is DevOps?
DevOps (pronounced DEE-VOOPS) is the combination of development (Dev) and operations (Ops). DevOps consulting companies consists of all the tools and disciplines related to these business areas, enabling an organization to deliver services or software applications quickly to better serve its customers.
“DevOps” is an acronym combining “development” and “operations.” Patrick Debois first coined this term at DevOps Days 2009 conference; at that event, he presented DevOps as an alternative approach that helps accelerate project delivery through careful management and Continuous Delivery.
Both definitions can be interpreted differently; however, DevOps generally involves writing code that connects customers (both internal and external), business processes, and software development together in an agile fashion.
DevOps engineering often means serving as a go-to employee to address an engineering challenge by writing code quickly and efficiently. In other words, in certain organizations, DevOps engineers act as essential IT employees who understand how to create efficient code quickly and efficiently.
DevOps stands for development and operations. This practice unifies development, quality assurance, deployment, and integration processes into one continuous set of processes – an extension of Agile development practices and continuous delivery methods.
DevOps provides companies with three essential advantages that encompass technical, business, and cultural dimensions of development.
Higher speed and quality of product releases: By adopting continuous Delivery, encouraging rapid feedback loops, and providing developers with early access to fixing bugs in their system early, DevOps accelerates product release times while simultaneously automating processes and increasing quality control.
Faster responsiveness to customer needs: DevOps allows a team to respond to customer needs more quickly, reacting swiftly to customer change requests while adding or altering existing features, thus speeding up time-to-market and value delivery rates.
DevOps principles and practices foster an optimal working environment: By improving communication among team members and increasing productivity and agility, DevOps teams tend to be more productive and cross-skilled compared with conventional teams; all members working on one DevOps team – those involved with development as well as operations – work in concert.
These benefits come only with an understanding that DevOps isn’t simply a set of actions but a philosophy designed to foster cross-functional team communication. Furthermore, DevOps doesn’t necessitate major technical modifications; its main emphasis lies in changing how people work; its success ultimately depends on adhering to its principles.
What Is a DevOps Engineer?
DevOps engineers are essential to any IT department – helping quickly create efficient and user-friendly systems.
Hiring one can bring many benefits to any business:
- Allow businesses to better integrate their IT systems and make them more user-friendly
- Assist companies in making IT systems easier on end users
- Accelerate developer release times by streamlining development processes
- Implement DevOps tools that help enhance the quality of their work.
- Automate repetitive internal processes
- Guide in designing cybersecurity systems
- Adopt DevOps practices like Continuous Integration/ Continuous Delivery (CI/CD).
Atlassian’s 2020 DevOps Trends report also revealed this fact, showing that:
- 61% of businesses that implemented DevOps believe it helped produce “higher-quality deliverables.”
- 49% of firms that implemented DevOps believe it improved deployment frequency
- 98% of surveyed companies feel DevOps “had a positive impact.”
What Do DevOps Engineers Work?
To better comprehend what DevOps engineers do, it is helpful to understand the Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC).
- Planning: When developers outline a project’s scope and requirements.
- Analysis: When developers research requirements to implement them into a system.
- Design: When developers design the architecture for a project
- Implementation: When developers construct the system, optimization: When testing is carried out to identify and correct code errors.
- Testing: When code testing occurs to address bugs that have arisen
Deployment and Maintenance: When systems are released after implementation but also require ongoing upkeep from their owners for optimal functioning. When systems are released after testing as well as ongoing upkeep for efficient functioning
There are various approaches to SDLC, such as Waterfall and Agile methodologies. Waterfall methods involve individuals working sequentially through each step, from planning through deployment and maintenance. At the same time, Agile allows people to move through it continuously.
Agile development methodologies partially inspire devOps. To implement DevOps Lifecycle effectively, engineers enact a version of SDLC known as the DevOps Life Cycle that loops continuously between:
- Continuous Feedback
- Continuous Integration and Deployment
DevOps Engineers work on Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery principles.
Continuous Integration refers to continuously adding code changes to your repository (essentially compiling as you write). Continuous Delivery involves automatically and consistently preparing code for deployment (for instance, pushing new features, bug fixes, or updates to users on an ongoing basis instead of in one big update).
What Are The Responsibilities of A DevOps Engineer?
Every DevOps engineer works differently as each developer takes on different projects for companies with various DevOps approaches. However, all DevOps engineers share certain core responsibilities, which could include:
DevOps engineers often oversee multiple IT projects simultaneously. In practice, this means scheduling and running meetings, setting deadlines, checking in with team members, delegating work to other team members, evaluating it all over again as part of the assessment, and coaching teammates as they make project decisions.
DevOps engineers work collaboratively with users, management, and developers when designing systems.
Managing System Security
DevOps engineers help organizations enhance the security of their IT infrastructures by designing cyber-safe systems, updates, and practices. While all DevOps engineers make security part of their daily work, some (called SecDevOps engineers ) specialize exclusively in system security.
Improving IT Infrastructure
DevOps engineers work to improve weak points in IT infrastructure. For instance, they might create solutions to help developers work quicker, identify program flaws more quickly, or design updates based on user feedback.
DevOps engineers who take an iterative and continuous delivery (CI/CD) approach consistently make small tweaks and improvements to IT infrastructure.
Automating Repetitive Tasks
DevOps engineers minimize the time-consuming, repetitive tasks of developing or updating systems or software applications. For instance, DevOps engineers could create software plugins to assist developers in coding faster with fewer errors.
Note that DevOps engineers don’t seek to automate developers out of employment; rather, they seek to enhance developer efficiency through easier and quicker development solutions.
Performance Benchmarking and Testing
DevOps engineers keep an eye on IT infrastructure through benchmark testing. Benchmark testing helps identify inefficiency within the system and anticipate any potential problems before they arise.
DevOps engineers typically select their benchmark tests based on organization and project requirements; however, many utilize tests that conform to seven benchmarking principles inclusive:
- Cost Effectiveness
Optimizing Release Cycles
They use various strategies to speed up this process, such as clearing away time drains, prioritizing key components of every release, or adding new software or tools.
Monitoring and Reporting Errors
Finally, DevOps engineers continually monitor software and systems to quickly address errors within them. Their main focus is reducing the Time To Detect TTD) before the error can be addressed with its fix (i.e., Time To Minimize or TTM). While some DevOps engineers resolve system errors directly, others leave this task up to full-stack developers.
Who Can Become A DevOps Engineer?
DevOps engineers need to have an innate ability to decode customer requirements. Furthermore, they must produce software and services which satisfy those specifications in a usable and testable form. Since development takes place collaboratively across teams and cultures, you will also require leadership and management abilities and keeping their cool under pressure.
How Long Does It Take to Become A DevOps engineer?
On average, assuming that you possess basic Linux admin and networking knowledge, it should take six months and follow the learning path below. Of course, the length of time will depend upon several factors, including your mindset, current skill set level, and career position.
That said, an abundance of free tools and resources available can assist in your journey to becoming a DevOps engineer. Some professional DevOps engineering sites even provide free or reduced exams to help demonstrate your potential and grow. Let’s dive deeper into becoming a DevOps engineer starting with the tools and skills needed for the role.
What Are the Skill Requirements to Become A DevOps Engineer?
Because DevOps engineers take on various roles within an organization, requiring many distinct skill sets to become one. In this section, we’ll take a look at some essential ones.
Experience With Automation Tools
First and foremost, it is necessary to gain familiarity with automation tools. They allow you to outsource repetitive functions to automation programs – for instance:
- Atlassian Bamboo
Atlassian Bamboo is an open-source CI tool that enables developers to automate the building and deployment process. Compatible with all programming languages, this program features pre-builds, code tests, reporting tools, deployment options, and integrations with Jira, Bitbucket, and Git (among others). Depending on team size and requirements, Atlassian is available as free and paid options.
Jenkins is a free automation server designed to assist developers in automating system building and deployment through plugins. Over 1,800 community-contributed plugins have already been made available through Jenkins; you can even create and use your own custom ones! Plus, Git integration makes Jenkins even more useful.
Experience With Version Control Systems
Experience with Version Control Systems As a DevOps engineer, you must also gain experience using Version Control Systems (VCS). These tools enable developers and DevOps engineers to track updates to their source code repository while helping resolve conflicts when multiple people add code simultaneously.
As a software developer, you are likely familiar with using popular version control systems (VCSs), such as Git. Git is an open-source and free tool that integrates seamlessly with repository hosting tools such as GitHub and Bitbucket.
Experience With Repository Hosting Tools
As part of a development team, as a DevOps engineer, you should be familiar with using repository hosting tools as part of the software development process. Repository hosting tools enable developers to access prewritten code, speeding up software development processes.
Becoming acquainted with three essential hosting tools as a DevOps engineer would be best. These are:
GitHub is a cloud hosting service used by over 65 million developers, 3+ million organizations, and 72% of Fortune 500 companies worldwide. Established in 2008 and offering both free and paid versions, Microsoft currently owns GitHub.
GitLab, an open-source development environment offering DevOps features such as continuous Integration, security, and project management tools, is a GitHub alternative with free and paid plans that integrate with Git. Although similar in name, there’s no affiliation between the two products.
- Atlassian Bitbucket
BitBucket is a hosting service tailored for development teams that integrate with Git and project management tools like Jira and Trello. If your team consists of five members or less, the free plan of BitBucket makes this hosting solution available to them.
Experience With Configuration Management Tools
It would be best if you also were well-versed in configuration management tools as a DevOps engineer. These help IT professionals consistently configure system elements and shorten development cycles when deploying new systems.
DevOps engineers generally employ two configuration management tools. These tools include:
Puppet predates DevOps; Puppet Labs Limited released it back in 2005. Even today, it remains one of the best configuration management tools, as developers can set their desired state and have Puppet automatically configure their system into that state.
Chef is another open-source configuration management tool built around its central “Chef Server.” This component oversees and manages Chef Workstations and Nodes across the network; similarly to Puppet, Chef allows developers to define desired states via “Cookbooks.” Facebook, IBM, and Rakuten all utilize Chef.
Experience With Monitoring Software
Monitoring is a critical element of DevOps engineering work. Engineers should become acquainted with monitoring software to detect any potential issues within an infrastructure. Monitoring allows DevOps engineers to monitor any potential threats or challenges within an infrastructure and keep tabs on it for potential issues that might arise.
Every organization takes its approach to monitoring, but you may use monitoring tools such as:
Nagios is an open-source DevOps tool first released in 2002, designed to monitor infrastructure in the background and alert you if a problem arises. Over 9,000 customers currently utilize Nagios for server and application monitoring purposes.
Raygun is an app monitoring solution used by brands such as Coca-Cola, Target, Microsoft, and Avis – among many others – for real-time app and website monitoring services. Raygun tracks deployments, customer experience metrics such as errors and crashes, and how users interact with the system.
- Coding Skills
To thrive in this position, being a DevOps engineer requires familiarity with some of the most frequently used scripting and programming languages.
Programming languages use compilers to convert text into machine code. Two of the most widely-used programming languages are C++ and C.
Expertise in Containerization Tools
DevOps engineers in many organizations employ containerization tools. These tools allow developers to package code quickly into small containers for deployment across environments. Deploying code this way also improves system efficiency across environments.
As part of your efforts as a DevOps engineer, it’s essential to gain familiarity with containerization tools such as Docker. Docker is an open-source platform-as-a-service offering that enables developers to build, package, and deploy code via containers. Docker integrates seamlessly with GitHub for optimal use.
Kubernetes (known as K8s) is an open-source system for deployment and management that uses containerization technology. Kubernetes provides:
- Automatic rollouts.
- Configuration management tools.
- Automated container packing features.
- Batch execution processes.
- Load balancing capabilities.
- Other features.
Experience With Project Management Tools
As DevOps engineers manage and supervise development projects, you need experience with project development tools before becoming one. Project management tools help people track projects using Gantt charts, checklists, and card-based filing systems:
- Trello: With its board-based project management feature, Trello allows for board creation with lists. Cards can then be moved between these lists using an intuitive user interface. Asana and Trello can often be seen side-by-side regarding project management tools for DevOps projects.
- Atlassian Jira: Jira is a project management tool tailored specifically for IT teams using an Agile or DevOps approach to software development. Using cards and boards, Jira allows tracking each task required in your project while also serving as a collaboration tool, accommodating multiple users simultaneously.
- Atlassian Confluence: Atlassian Confluence is a collaborative workspace tool for small teams to share work and organize projects via calendar or timeline management. Some teams use both Jira and Confluence simultaneously.
Experience with Public Cloud Services
DevOps engineers often work on cloud-based projects, so they must become acquainted with public cloud services before embarking on this career path. Public cloud services allow organizations to share networks, storage, and hardware via the Internet. These cloud computing services allow their infrastructure to be easily accessed.
Three of the most widely utilized public cloud services include:
- Microsoft Azure
- Google Cloud Platform
- Amazon Web Services (AWS).
DevOps developers who interact with system users require excellent customer service skills for success in DevOps development. Specifically, active listening abilities, communication abilities, conflict resolution skills, and an aptitude for understanding users’ needs must all be demonstrated to thrive within this framework.
Collaborative Management Skills
As DevOps engineers frequently collaborate in small teams, you will require strong collaborative management skills. In particular, you must excel at giving constructive feedback, accepting it when given to you, brainstorming in groups, and working toward common goals.
WordPress Development Skills
WordPress powers 40% of websites worldwide, so strong WordPress development skills may be essential if you wish to join a DevOps team dedicated to WordPress development. You will need to gain an understanding of how it operates, as well as hosting tools.
What to Consider When Hiring A DevOps Engineer?
So far, this article has focused on those pursuing DevOps engineering careers as individuals. Still, if employers want to hire one themselves, some essential skills and attributes set great DevOps engineers apart.
These include hard skills such as scripting or programming languages knowledge and soft skills like communication. When hiring DevOps engineers, it’s important to recognize what makes a great DevOps engineer. Keeping these in mind can make sure a new hire has the necessary capabilities that match those sought out by employers looking for them before.
An understanding of the agile methodology and SDLC. Also an appreciation of containerization and automation concepts and expertise in cybersecurity. Experience with version control systems, repository hosting tools, configuration management systems, containerization tools, and automation tools is desirable.
Experience with monitoring, planning, and designing development projects
A potential developer that has experience using any of the following tools could also have what it takes to be an exceptional DevOps engineer:
- Atlassian Jira
- Atlassian Confluence.
- Experience managing projects, including running meetings, setting deadlines, delegating work and delegating authority (e.g., meetings to organize), delegating authority (delegate work to others), and delegating responsibility for work (delegate tasks to someone else)
- Possess excellent teamwork and collaboration skills.
- Creative problem-solving capacities, accepting feedback to adjust work accordingly, and great active listening abilities (see “qualities”).
- Working successfully with users and diverse teams with widely differing skill sets.
Backgrounds Suited to DevOps Jobs
Backgrounds Appropriate for DevOps Jobs DevOps engineering services is still relatively new; many DevOps engineers transition into it from other roles. If someone with experience in software development, hardware management, general IT administration, or system administration has the desired set of transferrable skills suited for DevOps in software engineering jobs.
Aspiring DevOps engineers may also make great DevOps engineers if they possess at least a bachelor’s degree in any of these fields:
- Computer Science
- Information Systems
- Software Engineering
- Systems Engineering
DevOps Implementation Roadmap
Once you have evaluated all factors and decided to implement DevOps within your company, an implementation roadmap should be drawn up to facilitate an orderly transition from traditional software development towards DevOps development methods. Here we outline all the key steps.
Organizing a DevOps Initiative
A company’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) often organizes a DevOps initiative as part of its IT department program, allowing it to make changes in development and operations activities that cause minimal pain for the rest of the company. By managing investments and personnel resources efficiently, CIO also facilitates optimal resource utilization. At the same time, the program manager is charged with creating the DevOps strategy and overseeing its implementation.
Building the DevOps Strategy
For an effective DevOps strategy, program managers should employ best practices that foster interdepartmental cooperation while opening up innovative ways of infrastructure provisioning, software development, and testing. Some key practices include:
- Integrate all company development, testing, design, operations, and other teams into one shared working DevOps environment in which members focus on the outcomes of software development cycles while understanding each other’s motivations and duties. Establish one central goal – such as speeding up software development while assuring high quality – that drives all developers and operations personnel towards this common objective.
- Implement IaC to facilitate rapid provisioning of IT infrastructure upon developers’ or test engineers’ requests whenever needed for creating or verifying builds or quality testing. This enables DevOps practitioners to quickly obtain new infrastructure for development or testing while eliminating human errors associated with manually configuring its infrastructures.
- Automate software building, unit testing, application testing via user interface testing (UI testing), software integration deployment, and release processes to shorten software development-testing-releasing cycles.
Containerizing through tools like Docker can address reliability concerns when software transitions from development to testing and production environments, providing everything needed for running an app within its container, such as dependencies, libraries, and configuration files. Their isolation from other parts of IT infrastructure allows them to continue functioning reliably regardless of changes to their environments.
Given that its components (its database, front end, etc.) are divided among multiple containers, operations teams find it much simpler to manage the application as they no longer need to rebuild it entirely when updates to one of its microservices are required.
Integrating Infrastructure Automation with Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment Tools
Once the software is contained within containers, its management becomes even more important. Infrastructure automation tools like Kubernetes and Ansible Chef Puppet must seamlessly integrate with Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment tools like Jenkins Bamboo GoCD for more efficient configuration management and software deployment.
Kubernetes (for large infrastructures) or Ansible (for smaller ones) provide container management capabilities with fault tolerance, monitoring health status, and rolling software updates; Jenkins provides the ability to build, test and deploy new builds into Kubernetes.
Increase Test Automation and Align QA with DevOps Engineering
For DevOps projects to achieve faster delivery, sufficient automated testing must be ensured. Not all forms of testing need to be automated – exploratory, usability, and security tests may still need to be conducted manually; for instance, depending on the efforts required in creating automated tests for functional tests, certain aspects may remain manual.
Development and testing activities must go hand-in-hand to prevent post-release bugs. While an application is still under development, conducting automated tests 1-2 times daily should be optimal; should any defects be found during these automated tests, developers may work on stabilizing software before releasing another build.
Guaranteeing Total Application Performance Monitoring
DevOps-related teams need visibility of overall performance issues related to an application, such as slow response, memory leaks, and runtime errors. Such issues may surface during application server monitoring or user experience monitoring services.
Application performance monitoring enables organizations to rapidly identify, prioritize and isolate application defects before end users discover them; quickly pinpoint root cause errors with software like Zabbix, Nagios, or Prometheus designed to monitor an individual application.
The Future of DevOps
Since DevOps emerged, it has proved its effectiveness in multiple ways, from speeding up development processes to creating greater value with high-quality products.
DevOps may not be going anywhere soon, but neither can it remain static.
As organizations migrate towards the cloud, DevOps will become closely tied with cloud-native security bringing fundamental shifts to how software is developed, deployed, and operated. Through SecDevOps, companies can incorporate security directly into development and deployment workflows for increased efficiency.
Experts anticipate the widespread adoption of BizDevOps, an approach to software development that removes divisions between developers, operations teams, and business staff so companies can build user-oriented products more quickly.
Finally, development teams will become more involved in decision-making to lead companies toward digital transformation.
DevOps engineers require technical abilities, an in-depth understanding of industry standards, and a commitment to creating a culture of continuous development. Individuals may acquire these abilities through formal education in systems and it engineering services or DevOps approaches or self-study; aspirant DevOps engineers may also acquire expertise in domains such as system administration, software development, and IT operations – regardless of how their knowledge was acquired, becoming an effective DevOps engineer requires learning new abilities and applying them regularly.
DevOps may still be evolving, yet DevOps engineers are becoming indispensable to businesses with extensive IT systems that require maintenance.
DevOps engineers can be invaluable, providing oversight of IT projects, optimizing team performance, and speeding the development lifecycle.