Of late, the concept of DevOps has taken the IT industry by storm, and for all the right reasons. DevOps is a methodology that finds its roots in both Agile and Lean approaches. It combines the best of both worlds – cultural philosophies, best practices, and tools that boost and enhance an organization’s capacity to deliver applications/services on-demand. As organizations can offer their deliverables speedily and readily, they become more competent and efficient in managing the overall business.
Speed and efficiency are the two fundamental reasons why DevOps is becoming more and more popular in the industry. As more companies are joining the DevOps bandwagon, they are driving the demand for skilled DevOps Engineers. Today, the role of a DevOps Engineer has come to be one of the most highly demanded and lucrative career options and demand for full-stack developer courses is increasing as we speak.
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A DevOps Engineer is essentially an IT professional with expertise in scripting, coding, and the entire operation of product development and deployment. The role demands that one transcend the traditional barriers of software development, testing, and operations teams, and create a holistic environment for quality product development. DevOps Engineers combine in-depth knowledge and hands-on experience in software development with business analytics skills to build innovative business solutions.
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What does a DevOps Engineer do?
DevOps Engineers work in close collaboration with Software Developers, System Operators (SysOps), and other production IT members to manage and supervise code releases. They must be well-versed in IT infrastructure management that is integral for supporting the software code in dedicated, multi-tenant, or hybrid cloud environments.
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In a DevOps model, the development and operations teams do not function separately as ‘siloed’ units but merge together. Also, this approach to software development demands frequent and incremental changes. Hence, DevOps Engineers have to perform a wide range of functions across the entire application lifecycle – from development and test to deployment and operations. This calls for a versatile skill set that is not limited to a particular function or role.
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To successfully implement the DevOps approach, DevOps Engineers must be well-versed in the best practices of DevOps methodology, that include:
- Continuous Integration – This practice requires developers to merge the alterations in their code into a central repository, after which it runs the automated builds and tests. Continuous integration aims to identify and fix bugs quicker, enhance the software quality, and reduce the validation and release time of software updates.
- Continuous Delivery – In this practice, the code changes are built, tested, and prepared automatically for the production release. It is the successive step to continuous integration wherein all the code changes are deployed to a testing environment and/or a production environment following the build phase.
- Infrastructure as Code – This practice encourages the provision and management of the infrastructure using specific code and software development techniques (version control, continuous integration, etc.). Instead of manually setting up and configuring the infrastructure resources, the cloud’s API-driven model allows developers and system administrators to work with and scale the infrastructure programmatically.
- Monitoring and Logging – Monitoring and logging are essential to check and measure the metrics of applications and infrastructure and see how their performance affects the user experience of a product/service.
- Communication and Collaboration – DevOps encourages increased communication and collaboration within organizations. DevOps tools, along with the software delivery process automation, allow for increased cooperation between the development and operations teams by merging their workflows and responsibilities.
- Microservices Architecture – It is a design approach used to develop a single application as a component of small services. In this design, the individual services run their own processes while communicating with other services via a well-defined interface (usually an HTTP-based API).
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Now, we move on to the main functions and responsibilities of a DevOps Engineer.
DevOps Engineers have to perform a wide range of tasks to fulfill their three core functions – coding, scripting, and process re-engineering. The primary duties of a DevOps Engineer are:
- Project Planning
DevOps Engineers are an integral part of the project planning operation. Their skills in software development and system options, and business expertise (the risk, impact, and costs vs. benefits) allows them to foresee the project needs and resources, thereby helping them to create actionable timelines and strategies for business projects.
- Product Development
DevOps Engineers are responsible for developing, building, and managing IT solutions. To meet this end, they have to install and configure solutions, implement reusable components, translate technical requirements, perform script maintenance and updates, assist operations teams at all phases of data testing, develop interface stubs and simulators, to name a few.
- Product Deployment
DevOps Engineers design and develop automated deployment arrangements by leveraging configuration management technology. This allows them to deploy new modules/upgrades and fixes in the production environment itself. Also, DevOps Engineers have to ready the new modules/upgrades for production.
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- Performance Management
Apart from evaluating existing applications and platforms, DevOps Engineers also offer recommendations for enhancing the performance. To do so, they must also identify and develop practical and alternative solutions.
- Maintenance and Troubleshooting
Maintenance and troubleshooting are two routine tasks of DevOps Engineers. Using strategy-building techniques, they delineate the requirements and procedures for implementing regular maintenance. Also, they have to troubleshoot existing information systems for errors and fix the same.
Essential skills of a DevOps Engineer
A DevOps Engineer must have:
- Familiarity in working with a variety of open-source tools and technologies for source code management.
- Thorough knowledge of IT operations and system admin roles for planning the entire integration and deployment process.
- Expertise in software code testing and deployment.
- Experience in working with DevOps automation tools.
- Strong foundational knowledge of the Agile methodology.
- The ability to connect to technical and business goals.
- Excellent communication skills and team spirit.
Since the role of a DevOps Engineer is highly demanding and versatile, the job compensates with high salary packages. The average annual salary of a DevOps Engineer in India is Rs. 6,52,296. Needless to say, the more experienced you become, the higher will be your salary. Overall, the job role of a DevOps Engineer is highly promising.
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How can you become a DevOps Engineer?
To establish a career as a DevOps Engineer, it is the first and foremost requirement to gather the skills, qualifications, and knowledge. In general, a DevOps engineer is a senior role, and carrying past experiences is an add-on. It is certainly beneficial to have past experience, but as an IT specialist, and with a computer science degree, one can also climb up the ladder to become a DevOps Engineer. Having a degree is the best way to get started as a specialist in DevOps. However, as a QA or manual tester, one can easily evolve to become a DevOps engineer. Additionally, it is best to possess the knowledge of high-end technologies such as cloud computing, AWS, Azure, etc.
Are DevOps certifications useful?
Back in the year 2018, DevOps was in rising demand, and DevOps professionals were required all over the world. The demand has continued to grow ever since exponentially or otherwise. Therefore, getting a certification in DevOps is a wise decision to make, and you also gain an upper hand if you complete the certification. The benefit of certification goes both ways, i.e., the individual and the organisation, both benefit equally. As an IT specialist, a certification in DevOps will add value to your existing profile, help you stand out, and will help to gain career prospects faster than one can expect.
What is the job of a solution architect?
To aim for a job as a DevOps engineer, it is necessary to acquire the specialisations by learning a variety of skills and knowledge. As a solution architect, one has to gain expertise in virtualization and deployment experience and understand the technologies better. The demand for professionals who can design a solution, and can scale its performance are the best resources to work with. Also, they utilise the maximum resources to minimise the efforts, and eventually reduce the time. A solution architect with DevOps skills is likely to head towards a prosperous future in the long run.