Combining expertise in development and operations, DevOps engineers serve as a link between the two tech areas. Their efforts improve the collaboration process, which is vital to the ultimate goal of deploying software. As might be deduced from the name, DevOps engineers often come to this complex role from one of two previous positions—software developer or systems administrator.
Interested in learning more about what a DevOps engineer does and how to become one? Here’s a general look at this growing occupation.
What Is DevOps?
Put simply, DevOps blends software development (or coding) and operations. It is the shared responsibility of creating, testing, and deploying new software that customers like and use without complaint. By improving the collaboration between developers and IT staff, developers deliver code with fewer bugs and a shorter time between bug fixes.
What Is a DevOps Engineer?
Creating software and digital technologies involves numerous complicated pieces that need to come together. DevOps engineers focus on troubleshooting software and hardware to get the components to work seamlessly as a whole. For instance, a project involving different systems may pose challenges because of a lack of a unifying data structure or because one system is much older than the other.
DevOps engineers look at the individual parts and think about how to get them to work together in the best way possible. To this end, tasks required of DevOps engineers may include:
- Improving efficiency by creating strategies, automating functions, and streamlining services
- Monitoring software performance and security
- Coding, scripting, integrating, and testing
- Documenting projects
- Analyzing test data and conveying issues back to the appropriate department
- Fostering a collaborative environment by breaking down barriers between teams
- Connecting technical and business goals quickly and competently
- Ensuring the quality of the final product
What Education or Certifications Does a DevOps Engineer Need?
DevOps engineers commonly hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in computer science, engineering, or a related field. Some professionals bolster their attractiveness in the job market by seeking credentials such as Certified DevOps Engineer offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft’s Certified DevOps Engineer Expert, or one of the many certifications offered by the DevOps Agile Skills Association (DASA).
Necessary DevOps Skills
Without a doubt, a solid track record demonstrating mastery of a variety of hard skills impresses employers. In general, though, expect employers to look for things such as:
- Understanding operating systems such as Windows and Linux
- Knowledge of various programming languages (especially Java and C++) and at least one scripting language
- Experience with public or private cloud resources and services (especially AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud)
- Familiarity with open-source tools and technologies for managing source codes
- Success at building, managing, and troubleshooting servers
- Hands-on experience in network and storage
- Strong experience with a range of automation and configuration management tools as well as virtualization technologies
- Experience with the agile methodology of project management
- Strong willingness to keep up on the latest and greatest technologies that emerge
Because DevOps engineers wear many hats, soft skills matter, too. DevOps engineers should be excellent multitaskers capable of managing time and setting priorities. Since they work with many different people, solid communication skills—including listening carefully and explaining clearly—serve them well. They must also possess excellent diplomatic skills to foster teamwork and get results among different departments.
DevOps Salary and Job Outlook
The average annual salary for a DevOps engineer is $94,627, per PayScale.com. An entry-level DevOps engineer can expect an average annual salary of $73,010 while a late-career DevOps engineer (one with 20 or more years of experience) can average $127,081 per year. Bonuses and profit-sharing can add to the compensation total.
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not use the term “DevOps engineer” in its breakdown of occupations, the job outlook should be promising based on data for similar roles. Employment of software developers, for instance, is expected to grow an impressive 21 percent between 2018 and 2028.
Putting It All Together
Ultimately, a DevOps engineer brings a software solution from inception to completion by seeing the big picture and helping everyone involved in the project work together. Like many software development jobs, a career in DevOps engineering can lead you to many flexible and remote job opportunities.
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