A DevOps engineer is an IT professional who works with software developers, system operators (SysOps) and other production IT staff to oversee code releases and deployments. The role calls for someone who has relevant hard and soft skills to overcome the traditional barriers between software development, QA, testing and IT operations teams and foster a collaborative, holistic environment.
Roles and responsibilities of a DevOps engineer
A DevOps engineer must know how to manage the IT infrastructure that supports software code in dedicated, Multi-tenant or hybrid cloud environments. They might have to provision resources, select an appropriate deployment model, direct testing protocol to validate each release and monitor performance after release. Tasks might include test data preparation, results analysis, problem troubleshooting and issue communication back to the software developers.
The DevOps approach to software development aims for frequent, incremental changes to code versions, which means frequent deployment and testing regimens. Although DevOps engineers rarely code from scratch, they must understand the basics of software development languages and be familiar with the development tools used to create new code or update existing code. A DevOps engineer works with development staff to tackle the necessary coding and scripting to connect various application elements, such as APIs, libraries and software development kits (SDKs), and integrate other components such as SQL data management or messaging tools that DevOps teams need to run the software release on OSes and production infrastructure.
Specifically, a DevOps engineer focuses on automation and maintenance in the live environment, so it’s common to find job roles that underscore automation and maintenance of software products, systems and services. For example, a DevOps engineer would automate and maintain a big data build pipeline; perform on-call service for the system availability; develop or source application and system management tools that mitigate manual effort; implement automated management features, such as performance monitoring, diagnostics and failover and availability capabilities; and evaluate risks for all changes while maintaining high availability within the environment.
Required traits for a DevOps engineer
•Comprehensive background in OS administration, such as Linux and Windows.
•Strong experience with a range of automation and configuration management tools such as traditional scripts, as well as more specific tools such as Puppet and Chef.
•A clear understanding of coding and scripting with common languages, such as PHP, Python, Perl and Ruby
•Knowledge of at least one major coding language, such as C++ or Java
•Ability to identify, assess and integrate various open source technologies and cloud services
•Strong IT hardware and operations background with hands-on expertise in servers, storage and network device installation, provisioning and monitoring. This is usually supplemented with a knowledge of IT best practices for fault-tolerant, high-availability operations
•Supportive and collaborative management abilities in a team environment, as well as proven customer-facing management skills
•Strong knowledge of virtualization technologies, such as VMware vSphere for VMs, as well as expertise with container technologies, such as Docker and Kubernetes
•Proven experience with CI/CD tools, such as Microsoft GitHub, Atlassian Jira and Confluence, Red Hat Ansible, Prometheus and Jenkins
•Detailed, hands-on experience with public cloud resources and services such as AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud
•Experience with a diverse range of IT monitoring and management tools, such as Cloudflare and Datadog
•Knowledge on how to troubleshoot and resolve technical issues in test and production environments.
What does DevOps mean
DevOps is a workflow strategy that emphasizes collaboration between development and operations at a company, usually related to software development. The concept of DevOps is related to agile methodology, focusing on optimizing success by integrating the work of software developers and IT professionals. Successful DevOps management has several key goals:
•Faster security updates and software patches
•Reliable IT troubleshooting techniques
•Consistent internal and external methods
•Reduced glitches and software failures
How to become a DevOps Engineer
The first step on your journey to becoming a DevOps Engineer is learning about the concepts source control, continuous integration, and continuous delivery as well as the technologies and tools that surround them. These provide a good base for the day-to-day technical tasks involved in DevOps.
Cloud Academy offers a range of hands-on training and labs that will allow you to deploy your own cloud environments in real time using a variety of DevOps principles.
It’s also a good idea to steer your through the basics of Agile. This will allow you to see the frameworks and process of the this development methodology and how it is used in modern organizations. You’ll be able to adapt to change, make your processes more efficient, and respond to customer needs by adopting an Agile approach in operations.
GitOps is another concept also worth learning. While code automation has had much written about and implemented, infrastructure automation is newer so it bears a deep size. Familiarizing yourself with GitOps enables benefits such as allowing you to automate Kubernetes deployments, saving you time and effort.
Once you put together these skills, you’ll be able to jump into the exciting part: building and deploying your cloud-native app with a stack containing tech like React, Go, Docker, and Kubernetes.
Some tools used by DevOps engineers
Below you will find a non-exhaustive list of the various automation tools that DevOps engineers use as part of a DevOps methodology across the software delivery lifecycle-from continuous integration environments to deployment:
•Source code management: GitHub
•Developing CI/CD pipelines: CI/CD processes require specific tools for automation. Some widely-used ones include Jenkins and GitLab CI
•Testing: these are tools that will help the engineer determine how the application they built turned out and check for errors. Such tools include Selenium.
•Containerization relies on specific tools to build and configure containers that allow software to function across various environments. Such tools include Docker and Kubernetes, an open-source container-orchestration system.
•Configuration management to manage and configure servers in DevOps. Some tools include Puppet and Chef.
•Monitoring: these are tools to help the engineer to screen the app and to make sure it’s working as it should. Such tools include Nagios and Prometheus.
•Cloud platform integration: cloud is a method for storing information over the web instead of your hard drive. There are many cloud suppliers on the market; the most well known include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.
What Are the Responsibilities of a DevOps Engineer
The day-to-day work life of every DevOps engineer is different, as each developer works on unique projects for companies with varied DevOps approaches. However, there are some key responsibilities that most DevOps engineers share. These include:
DevOps engineers often oversee and manage multiple IT projects simultaneously. In practice, this means they schedule and run meetings, set deadlines, check in with team members, delegate work, assess work, coach teammates, and advise on project decisions.
DevOps engineers also liaise with users, management, and developers when designing a system.
•Managing System Security
DevOps engineers optimize their business’s IT infrastructure’s security by designing cyber-secure systems, updates, and practices. While all DevOps engineers consider security in their daily work, some DevOps engineers (called SecDevOps engineers) focus on system security full-time.
•Improving IT Infrastructure
DevOps engineers look for weak spots in IT infrastructure and work to improve them. Specifically, they create solutions to help developers work quicker, spot program flaws, or design updates around user feedback.As DevOps engineers focus on a CI/CD approach, they consistently make minor improvements to IT infrastructure.
•Automating Repetitive Tasks
DevOps engineers reduce the repetitive tasks needed to bring a new system or update to life. For example, a DevOps engineer may design a software plugin to help developers code faster and with fewer mistakes.
It’s important to note that DevOps engineers aren’t trying to automate developers out of a job. They are simply working to improve the developer’s efficiency by implementing easier and faster development solutions.
•Performance Benchmarking and Testing
DevOps engineers track the day-to-day running of IT infrastructure through benchmark testing. Benchmark testing helps them identify areas of inefficiency in the system and mitigate potential issues before they arise.
The benchmark tests each DevOps engineer uses are organization and project-dependent, though they usually use tests that adhere to the seven benchmarking principles.:
•Optimizing Release Cycles
DevOps engineers optimize the system release cycle by reducing the time and resources needed for projects or updates. There are many ways DevOps engineers improve the release cycle, including removing time drains, prioritizing critical components of each release, or introducing new software and tools.
•Monitoring and Reporting Errors
Finally, DevOps engineers constantly track software and systems to help resolve system errors quickly. DevOps engineers are specifically concerned with reducing the length of time between when the error is detected (i.e., the Time to Detect or TTD) and fixed (i.e., the Time to Minimize or TTM). While some DevOps engineers resolve system errors manually, others leave this to the full-stack developers.
What does the future hold for DevOps engineers?
As cloud development continues to grow and more companies migrate to the cloud, the future of DevOps looks good. In the last two years, many companies have instituted DevOps practices and many more are planning to do so.
Companies will continue to embrace DevOps in an effort to bring developers and IT closer together. This, in turn, will open up new roles such as DevSeqOps. The DevSecOps role adds security into the mix of DevOps. The goal is to ensure that systems are secure in every stage of the delivery cycle.
The specific title will vary depending on the organization, but a DevOps engineer can expect regular progression from entry-level to junior-level to senior-level. Which level they start at depends on if they have previous experience as a DevOps engineer or other relevant experience. Senior DevOps engineers may also have the opportunity to advance into management or architect positions where they will have greater authority over the tools, processes, and personnel that the team onboards.
Overall, this role is a good fit for anyone seeking a full-picture understanding of the software development lifecycle, and given the number of skills and responsibilities, they are fairly compensated.