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DevOps And DevOps Engineer: All You Need To Know


In this post, we will dive deep into the DevOps and DevOps engineering aspects in the Cloud Technology field. We will know the what, the how, the why, the skill, knowledge requirements, and possible responsibilities of a DevOps Engineer.

what is DevOps

The DevOps concept aims to reduce the time it takes to develop, test, and deploy an application. This is achieved by combining cultural philosophies, practices, and tools that increase an organization’s ability to deliver applications and services at high velocity. It also helps to improve the quality of software products.

DevOps culture also aims to break down silos between development and operations teams, fostering a culture of shared responsibility and continuous improvement throughout the software development lifecycle.

DevOps teams are typically cross-functional, meaning they include members from both development and operations teams. This method allows teams to work more closely together and share information more effectively. While the DevOps concept involves all aspects of a business, the DevOps Engineer is responsible for implementing this culture across all levels of software development

who is a DevOps engineer

DevOps engineers are experts in combining software development and IT operations expertise to streamline and automate the software delivery process. Bridge the gap between development teams responsible for building and modifying software and operations teams responsible for deploying and maintaining software in production.

DevOps Engineers have a wide range of skills, including knowledge of software development practices, systems administration, and cloud technologies. They strive to break down the silos between development and operations, fostering collaboration, communication, and efficiency.

A DevOps Engineer’s primary responsibility is to design, implement, and maintain systems and processes to enable Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) processes. They automate manual tasks and build and manage infrastructure. They also configure and monitor systems, and optimize software delivery pipelines.

DevOps Engineer is responsible for fostering a culture of automation, efficiency, and continuous improvement within the organization. Work with your development team to ensure code quality, implement version control best practices, and deliver fast and reliable deployments. Also works with operations teams to manage infrastructure, monitor system performance, and troubleshoot issues.

core principles of DevOps

I like to summarise the core principles of DevOps into two. The continuous-as-a-service and collaboration or communication. Having these two principles at the back of one’s mind makes adopting the expanded list easier. As a DevOps engineer, your core is to keep your workflow running. And in the case of an eventuality, you should have good communication skills to earn the confidence and trust of both your colleagues and your app users.
That being said, let’s delve into the detail of the core I summarised above.

  1. Collaboration: DevOps emphasizes the importance of collaboration and effective communication between development, operations, and other stakeholders. Teams work together to align goals, share knowledge, and achieve common results.
  2. Automation: Automation plays a central role in DevOps. DevOps aims to automate repetitive tasks. A script can be used to trigger a build process, which runs a series of tests on the code, which checks for bugs or proper functionality of the features of the application. The same script will also push the packaged application into a development environment or production environment. With this teams can increase efficiency, reduce errors, and speed up the software delivery process.
  3. Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD): DevOps encourages frequent integration of code changes, automates the release process, and enables software to be deployed in small incremental updates. Continuous integration focuses on merging code changes on a regular basis, while continuous delivery allows the software to be released at any time.
  4. Infrastructure as Code (IaC): Infrastructure as Code involves managing infrastructure resources such as servers, networks, and databases through machine-readable configuration files. IaC enables teams to provision, configure, and manage infrastructure in a consistent and automated manner, promoting scalability, repeatability, and version control.
  5. Continuous Monitoring and Feedback: A DevOps engineer can use continuous monitoring to gain insight into application and infrastructure performance, availability, and security. Feedback loops enable rapid identification and resolution of issues, facilitating continuous improvement of development and operations processes.
  6. DevOps Culture: DevOps fosters a culture of shared responsibility, trust, and continuous learning. This encourages individuals to embrace change, take responsibility for their work, and collaborate across teams to efficiently deliver value to clients.

Organizations that adhere to these principles can accelerate their software delivery process by adhering to them. It also improves product quality. And we have high customer satisfaction. Without compromising the agility and innovation of your software development and operations processes.

key responsibilities of DevOps Engineers

Now you ask what the responsibilities of a DevOps engineer are. I will tell you again, it is to keep the DevOps culture running in a circle. That being said, let us see what you will be expected to do as a DevOps engineer.

  1. Continuous Integration and Delivery (CI/CD):
    One core responsibility of a DevOps Engineer is implementing and maintaining the continuous-as-a-service concept. Much of what DevOps Engineers do involves automating all the processes of software deployment in the cloud. This process is what is referred to as PIPELINE. A DevOps pipeline is a combination of tools and services to build. test, and deploy an application with little to no human intervention.
  2. Infrastructure automation: DevOps engineers use configuration management tools and infrastructure as code (IaC) techniques to automate the provisioning, configuration, and management of cloud infrastructure resources. Also, you ensure consistency and scalability of the infrastructure with tools like Terraform, Ansible, Chef, and Puppet.
  3. System monitoring and performance tuning: This part is where DevOps and Site Reliability Engineers cross paths. DevOps engineers also use tools such as Prometheus and Nagios to monitor system, application performance, and availability. You will be responsible for analyzing metrics and logs, identifying bottlenecks and causes, optimizing resource utilization, and improving system performance. You will also be involved in recommending possible solutions.
  4. Cloud Platform Management: You will also work with cloud services as much as a cloud engineer will do. Many of the cloud providers have one or more services that you will need to achieve your goal of automation. AWS CodePipeline, Elastic Container Registry, Firebase Hosting, Google Kubernetes services, etc are some of the tools that DevOps Engineers use to achieve the scalability, reliability, and security that an application requires.
  5. Collaboration and communication: One of the core skills you appreciate this role for is their communication prowess. DevOps engineers work with development teams, operations teams, and other stakeholders to align goals, optimize processes, and resolve issues. They facilitate communication across departments and promote a culture of collaboration and knowledge sharing.
  6. Security and Compliance: DevOps engineers implement security best practices throughout the software development lifecycle. These ensure proper identity access control, data encryption, vulnerability scanning, and compliance with industry regulations.
  7. Incident Response and Troubleshooting: DevOps engineers also play a crucial role in incident response by diagnosing and resolving system issues quickly. I for one have been involved in performing countless root-cause analyses of a problem. You should be ready to implement preventive actions for any future occurrence of the same or related issues. And more importantly, contribute to continuously improving business systems and processes.
  8. Tools and Automation: DevOps Engineers where many hats when it comes to tools. This usually is not deliberate however, it just so happens. How else do you intend to manage the multiple facets of the software development process if you are not making good use of the tools at your disposal? The tools only make your workflow much easier. Some tools are version control systems like GitHub and Git, build tools like Jenkins or AWS CodePipeline, monitoring tools like Prometheus or Netdata, containerization platforms like Docker, and orchestration frameworks like Kubernetes.
    Although, I usually encourage fellow DevOps engineers to apply the principle of less is more when considering tools to use.
  9. Continuous learning and improvement: Without any doubt, I know you possess this skill because it brought you to this blog post. This means you are a step into choosing the best career for yourself. DevOps engineers stay abreast of new technologies especially cloud-based, industry trends, and best practices. The learning here is not limited to digging out information on the internet to solve a bug or reading a post like this. You may also actively participate in open-source projects, attend conferences, and participate in the DevOps community to improve your skills and contribute to the field. Events like AWS ReInvent, Google I/O, and Microsoft Build are a few of such. I am part of my locality’s AWS User Group and Google Developer Group. They have proven to be a tremendous learning platform.
  10. Documentation and Knowledge Sharing: DevOps Engineers do quite a lot of writing. You are either documenting the process used to troubleshoot a broken pipeline, recording the steps to installing the recent security addition to your pipeline or explaining the cause of the 502 error on the production app. In my case, I document cloud spending too. There is always a reason to write. So, if you think you enjoy writing and maintaining documentation, DevOps is a good place. Do not scare, documentations serve as a valuable resource for future reference. I have less headache troubleshooting once I lay my hands on my documentation.

Although, the exact responsibilities of a DevOps Engineer may vary depending on your organization, project needs, and team structure. However, the above lists are the core responsibilities of a DevOps Engineer.

What Are the skills and knowledge requirements of a DevOps Engineer

Let’s also take a dive into some sets of the skills and knowledge required for DevOps Engineer roles. This list can be endless, however, the most important ones are listed here. Also, you do not have to possess every one of the skills on this list. The others can be developed on the job.

  1. Strong Understanding of DevOps Principles: DevOps Engineers need to have a solid understanding of the principles and philosophies behind the DevOps culture. I am of the opinion that the core of DevOps should be categorized into two models. The continuous-as-a-service model, and the Collaboration-as-a-service mode.
  2. Programming and Scripting: While this particular point is debatable is a brainer that you will need to have a good knowledge of either a programming language or a configuration language. Programming languages like Python, Ruby, or Go are essential for automating processes and creating scripts. On the other hand, Bash, Powershell, HashiCorp Language, YAML, and JSON are configuration languages you will need for valuable system automation.
  3. Configuration Management: Just like the points above, DevOps Engineers also need to have a good grasp of configuration management tools like Ansible, Chef, or Puppet to automate and manage infrastructure and application configurations. Are you asking if you need all of this? HELL NO! It is a case of either or for the tools. Also, it is largely dependent on how much you like exploration. However, I recommend picking these tools one after the other just like I did too.
  4. Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD): This is the point many thought is the core of being called a DevOps engineer. And yes, you are right. However, it is just the expression of what DevOps stands for. Every tool a DevOps engineer use is a build-up to achieve the continuous-as-a-service and collaboration culture of an organization and for the product. Some tools like CI/CD tools like Jenkins, GitLab CI/CD, AWS CodePipeline, GitHub Actions, or CircleCI are crucial for implementing and maintaining pipelines that automate software build, testing, and deployment processes.
  5. Cloud Computing: You will need to also have a solid understanding of cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is necessary. Knowledge of provisioning and managing cloud any of these cloud resources is a huge advantage for a DevOps engineer.
Career opportunities in DevOps?

Due to its multifaceted nature, the field of DevOps offers a wide range of exciting career opportunities with strong growth prospects. As organizations increasingly adopt DevOps practices, the demand for skilled professionals continues to rise. Here are some career opportunities and growth prospects in the DevOps field:

1. DevOps Engineer: This is the most common role in the DevOps field. DevOps Engineers are responsible for implementing and managing DevOps practices, including automation, CI/CD pipelines, infrastructure management, and collaboration between development and operations teams.

2. Site Reliability Engineer (SRE): SREs and DevOps engineers can be likened to twins. Although, SREs focus on ensuring the reliability, performance, and availability of software systems. They also work closely with DevOps Engineers to design and implement systems that are scalable, resilient, and highly available.

3. Cloud Engineer: As DevOps heavily relies on cloud infrastructure, Cloud Engineers also play a vital role in designing, deploying, and managing cloud environments. They have expertise in cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, or GCP and help organizations leverage cloud technologies for scalability and cost optimization.

4. Cloud Security Engineer: If we consider the increasing emphasis on security in DevOps, Security Engineers play a critical role in integrating security practices through the lifecycle of software. CSE is a specialty when it comes to identifying vulnerabilities. They also implement security controls and ensure compliance with industry standards and regulations.

5. DevOps Consultant: DevOps Consultants provide guidance and support to organizations in adopting DevOps practices. They also assess existing processes, develop strategies, and assist to implement tools and technologies that enable successful DevOps transformations.

growth prospects in the DevOps field

Now, let’s talk about the growth aspect that comes with working in a DevOps field.

DevOps is a high-skill profession, therefore the growth prospects are highly promising. Many organizations across various industries are investing in DevOps to drive faster software delivery, improved quality, and increased efficiency. This has also made the demand for skilled DevOps professionals continues to surge. What this means for you is you have more chances of getting employment in the career path. This is no cast in stone as it requires some level of hard work, dedication, and consistency like any other high-skill field. There are however some factors contributing to the growth prospects. They include:

1. Industry-wide Adoption: DevOps is becoming the standard approach for software development and operations in many organizations. This widespread adoption ensures a consistent demand for DevOps expertise.

2. Continuous Technological Advancements: The DevOps landscape is constantly evolving, with new tools, technologies, and practices emerging regularly. Staying updated with these advancements and acquiring relevant skills can open doors to exciting career opportunities.

3. Increased Focus on Automation and Cloud: As automation and cloud technologies become more integral to business operations, the need for DevOps engineers, SREs, etc who can effectively manage and optimize these areas will continue to grow.

4. Competitive Salaries and Benefits: DevOps roles often command competitive salaries and attractive benefits due to the high demand for skilled professionals and the critical nature of their work. More on this later.

5. Opportunities for Continuous Learning and Upskilling: The DevOps field encourages continuous learning and professional development. Engaging in training, certifications, and community involvement can enhance career growth and open doors to leadership positions.

earning potential in DevOps

Now let’s talk about what you can earn for being a valuable asset to any company you work for as a DevOps engineer.

According to a recent report by Indeed, the average salary for a DevOps engineer in the United States is $135,524 per year. In the UK, the salary range of a DevOps Engineer range between £90,694 – £130,000. Meanwhile, demand for DevOps engineers is expected to grow by 35% from 2020 to 2030, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.

The salary mentioned is not a guarantee of what DevOps earn worldwide. Factors like experience level, location (country or state where you apply), and the financial capacity of the company play a major role in the earnings of DevOps.

Therefore, I recommend making thorough research on the average range of DevOps salary in your home country. Glassdoor and Jefferson Frank websites can be useful for this purpose.

Where to find DevOps Jobs

There are a lot of websites that have DevOps job listings. Some of them are:

LinkedIn Jobs

Please note I do not advertise for any of the companies in this list.

where to start?

While there is no best way to get into the DevOps field, the barrier is relatively low to get started. In real-world scenarios, the best way to become a good DevOps engineer is to build real-life use cases. I wrote a couple of technical tutorials to help you on this blog. I encourage you to check them out. Get the tools installed on your laptop and start experimenting with it.
You could also lay your hands on good books that talk about the DevOps culture.

  1. Get A Degree
    Also, if you have the resources and time, I recommend you get a degree from a reputable institution. A degree in computer science or a related field will give you the foundation in software development, IT operations, and other areas that are essential for a career in DevOps.
  2. Get Certified
    Another point will be to get certified in DevOps. Although, there have been debates over the usefulness of certifications and whether they could get you a job. I like to answer the question by saying, do not get certification for the sake of landing a job, get a certificate to prove you have authority in the topic. Certifications like Kubernetes Administrator, Terraform Associates, AWS Developer, etc show you know your job. You could start from the practitioner level and build your skill until you reach the professional level. However, your goal should be to be able to demonstrate and apply your knowledge to solve real-life problems in the field of DevOps.
  3. Show Your Experience
    Most importantly get experience of actual work use cases. You can get experience by interning at a company with a DevOps team or any related team, or by volunteering for an open-source project using DevOps practices. In addition, reach out to a mentor.
    You should also show the recruiters what you can do if they ask you. Do this by building your own portfolio. Put your projects in GitHub repositories, write them on a blog post, or put them on your social media feeds. You show your competency by doing so.

In this post, we have discussed extensively all you need to know about DevOps and DevOps engineering. We talked about the core principles of DevOps, the responsibilities of a DevOps engineer, the career and growth prospects, and how to get started, including some useful job board links.

Let me round up by saying DevOps culture and the role of a DevOps Engineer are pivotal in driving successful software delivery, fostering collaboration, and accelerating business growth. Companies are also embracing the principles, practices, and mindset of DevOps to enhance productivity and achieve higher customer satisfaction, and a competitive edge in today’s fast-paced digital landscape. The best time to get started as a DevOps was yesterday. The next best time is now. The world needs you to solve problems. You can also need to read my exciting and detailed post on CloudOps engineering and platform engineering.






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