“Who is a DevOps Engineer” is a great question.  To be honest, there isn’t a convenient answer. To a large extent, what a DevOps Engineer does depends on the company.

Some businesses may see DevOps as an ownership role, where the responsibility is to maintain development ownership of the software from start to finish.

Let’s dig a little deeper to answer this question.

Who is a DevOps Engineer?

DevOps are considered IT professionals who work with developers, system operators and other IT staff to manage the release of software products.

The position is intended to cross corporate silos to create a collaborative environment for developing customer-centric products.

A few companies may view it as more of a system-operations position. Other organizations see the position as a collaborative role that is responsible for creating a cooperative environment among all stakeholders throughout the product’s lifecycle.

What is the Role of a DevOps Engineer?

The main role of a DevOps engineer is to know how to manage the IT infrastructure that supports software development.  Their specific tasks cover a range of functions in a software product’s lifecycle, such as:

  • Finding resources
  • Selecting a deployment model
  • Overseeing test protocols
  • Validating code releases
  • Monitoring performance
  • Reporting errors

DevOps engineers are responsible for communicating with development teams.  They provide the results of user feedback, testing and troubleshooting.

They may also assist in coding and scripting to connect such components as APIs, libraries, or databases to various application elements.

They should be familiar with various tools to make the release cycle of software more manageable.  Many consider automation, version control and testing tools to help with the maintenance of products, systems and services.

What Does a DevOps Engineer Earn?

How much a DevOps engineer earns is unclear, because it has not been a separate job classification for long.  As a result, the salaries of individuals working as DevOps engineers have not been reported under that job classification.

However, the average annual salary for a DevOps engineer was reported to be about $110,000 in 2019, which is similar to that of a software developer.

Actual salaries for DevOps depends on the job functions and location.  It also depends on the industry, with education and nonprofits being the lowest paying.

If the position is more aligned with systems operations, the salary may average around $90,000, although it can be as low as $75,000.

As more companies adopt the development strategies that use DevOps, more reliable information on salary will become available. However, it is unlikely that the dramatic increases in salary will continue.

How do I Become a DevOps Engineer?

All IT jobs can lead to a DevOps engineer position because there is no formal career path to become one.  Most DevOps are developers who become interested in network operations, software release and software deployment.

System administrators that are interested in coding and want to focus on planning, testing and deployment represent another route to a DevOps position.

DevOps are professionals involved in a more comprehensive role in a technical environment. They must be lifelong learners because the position is constantly evolving.  There will always be something new to learn.

Instead of looking for a formal path, individuals interested in becoming a DevOps Engineer should create a roadmap that outlines the skills, experiences and soft skills that are required.

It may be helpful to identify the various roles and responsibilities of a DevOps engineer in the industry of interest.

No matter the path, a DevOps engineer, must know at least one programming language.  Since a DevOps may assist in some aspects of development, it is essential to have a basic knowledge of programming.

In addition, individuals need to become familiar with various tools that are used throughout the development process.

The best experience is to participate in the software development and deployment process.  If that isn’t an option, volunteer to work on projects that allow you to use your soft skills and planning tools.  With no formal career path, experience and skills are crucial to becoming a DevOps engineer.

What Skills Do I Need to be a DevOps Engineer?

One of the most important skills for a DevOps engineer is curiosity.  New technologies and tools are continually being developed, and a DevOps will always need to stay on top of technology trends.  Here are a few of the more important skills:

  • Know a programming language such as Java or Python
  • Understand operating systems such as Windows or Linux
  • Learn how to manage servers in groups or clusters
  • Know how to set up a web server, proxy server, or forward server
  • Be familiar with networking and security
  • Experience with cloud technology such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud

A DevOps engineer should also have experience with tools for:

  • Source control such as Git, Bitbucket, VSTS
  • Continuous integration such as Jenkins, Bamboo, VSTS
  • Infrastructure automation such as Puppet, Chef, Ansible
  • Deployment automation and orchestration such as Jenkins and VSTS

Knowing the best testing protocols and tools are central to DevOps since software testing and quality control are a critical component of the development cycle.

Where Should I Begin?

As more companies adopt strategies that use shortened development cycles and continuous engineering, the need for DevOps will only grow.

Without a DevOps engineer, the agile approach to product delivery becomes difficult to manage. But, the path to becoming a DevOps engineer requires a roadmap.

A roadmap helps visualize the various aspects of the position and lets you track the skills you’ve acquired and those you have not.

The first step on the road map should be learning a programming language and the fundamentals of software development.

If you’re ready to be a part of the changing face of software development, we are here to support your passion for change.  Get connect with us and start a powered by Woz U program today!

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