The modern business world relies on the effective usage of computing technology to operate, succeed, and flourish. DevOps Engineers play a major role in supporting this. So what is DevOps? DevOps is a compound or combination of software developers and operations. It supports corporations in all sectors of industry, via the adoption of processes, systems and methodologies designed to nurture success. For teams within an organisation, DevOps means collaborating on different functions of a business instead of working individually in their formerly siloed roles, coordinating to create better, more reliable products or services. In essence, the role of a DevOps Engineer is allied with streamlining processes and workflows

Duties and responsibilities - What does a DevOps Engineer do?

When a team wants to adopt the DevOps culture, practices and tools to perform on a higher calibre, build better products and achieve greater customer satisfaction they will hire a DevOps Engineer to lead and implement these processes. In short, a DevOps Engineer will introduce all the processes, tools and methodologies throughout an organisation's development life cycle to improve it. 

From the design and coding stage to deployment and maintenance updates, here are a few examples of what a DevOps Engineer may be responsible for: 

  • Developing a working infrastructure in line with the needs of the company
  • Providing support for end users and helping them to get the most from the infrastructure
  • Ensuring applications and systems are safe and secure, and adequately protected from the threat of cybercriminals
  • Collaborating with other members of the DevOps team in the development of effective and efficient applications
  • Reduce the complexities in tasks or operations and close the gap between actions so that the tasks maintain reliability
  • Unify, simplify and automate available processes to ensure smoother production and flow of work
  • Taking responsibility for all aspects of DevOps, including the likes of data management, application development and service delivery
  • Reporting to senior management and other interested parties on the progress of relevant developments

Qualities needed to be a successful DevOps Engineer

The best DevOps Engineers possess a varied range of personal qualities, chief of which will be the ability to communicate and collaborate well with others, including with some who aren’t as au fait with technical matters. They will also have a comprehensive knowledge of current applications allied to an understanding of technologies yet to come. This is because technology continues to change, and DevOps Engineers need to be at the forefront to understand the changes, how they fundamentally impact an organisation’s operations and the ability to pivot and drive new directions. As such, DevOps Engineers also constantly build new skills on top of their current experience.

Furthermore, these individuals will need to be self-motivated at times and perfectly capable of working within dedicated teams. There’s also a need to constantly bear in mind the demands of relevant stakeholders and understand the business's specific commercial needs. In-depth knowledge of the cloud and how it impacts a commercial organisation is a must.

As this role is rightly regarded as highly complex by other staff members, there will be times when a DevOps Engineer professional will need to assess, test, and monitor their own work. It’s important in this position to have a proactive approach and to be prepared to show patience when explaining processes and systems.

Qualifications and technical skills - How to become a DevOps Engineer?

Most DevOps professionals reach their level of expertise with years of enterprise IT experience. They embrace a culture of collaboration in order to gain the holistic view they need to be a successful DevOps Engineer and support organisations to achieve operational advances. 

As befits such a technical position, DevOps Engineers will need a good knowledge of issues such as integration technology, networks, cloud integration and the like. They also often have a sound academic background, often with a bachelor’s degree in related subjects like computer science, mathematics, information technology, data mining, business intelligence and systems analysis. Experience in writing scripts in programming languages such Golang, Java, JavaScript, Perl, Python, Ruby, or Rust is also highly regarded. Certification from the major cloud providers, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud (GCP) or Microsoft Azure are also available in DevOps.

In addition to qualifications, successful DevOps professionals will know how to utilise a diverse range of tools and applications on a daily basis. Which of them are used will depend on the individual role and the CI/CD methodology used, but the list will often include the likes of Jenkins, Docker, Kubernetes, Nagios, Vagrant, Ansible, Puppet and Git for source control.

Career development - What is the next step after DevOps?

Those who become DevOps Engineers often come from other IT-related disciplines, including web design, programming, coding, and database management. Those who succeed in DevOps can go on to become Senior DevOps Engineers, Cloud Managers and Directors of IT. The role of a DevOps Engineer is still an evolving role, so the possibilities of advancement can and almost certainly will change.

The DevOps job role has an extremely promising future as the applications of its use in organisations are increasing day by day. This includes introducing DevOps in new functions and sectors to streamline operations. Furthermore, as technology continues to mature and automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) become more common in the workplace, DevOps has the potential to transform into something greater. 

As a DevOps Engineer, future job possibilities are almost endless, especially in the IT sector. Start-ups are always looking for DevOps Engineers to integrate the philosophy into their model immediately, and larger multinationals are always using DevOps Engineers to strengthen their teams. 

In summary, this means that DevOps Engineers are expected to see more specialist and senior-level positions open up. 

Do DevOps Engineers have a good career?  

A career in DevOps allows you to deploy and utilise a wide range of skills not normally found elsewhere. DevOps Engineers are also constantly refining their skills and growing their knowledge as they face new challenges to solve daily. Many believe it to be an endlessly fascinating career that encompasses a variety of work to be done. This is because the tools, solutions and outcomes in DevOps are closely related to emerging technologies — using them to enable faster deployment, more efficient operations and better products for organisations and teams. It also helps that a DevOps salary is very comfortable. 

Salary and remuneration - How much is a DevOps Engineer’s salary?

Talented DevOps professionals are in great demand, and that means salaries and benefits packages will reflect this. This is partially due to the fact that experienced DevOps Engineers are rare. It’s hard to find these individuals with the required skill set that a specific organisation will need. DevOps Engineers are also well compensated due to the nature of their work. DevOps requires individuals to know a lot of varied information and focus on a range of skills and deliver them efficiently and well. As such, a DevOps Engineer’s salary is a comfortable one to help organisations solve problems and prevent disasters.