DevOps or cloud engineer career to choose

DevOps or Cloud Engineer: How to Know the best career path for you


Are you caught in the dilemma of choosing between a career as a DevOps Engineer or a Cloud Engineer? You’re not alone! The tech industry offers a plethora of exciting career paths. This can make choosing one specific path difficult, especially for those without no tech background. But fret not! This purpose of this post is to guide you to determine the ideal career path for you.
So, let’s embark on this journey together and discover whether DevOps Engineering or Cloud Engineering is the right choice for your future.

Understanding DevOps

Let’s begin this part with understanding what DevOps is. DevOps is a set of practices that combine software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops). The concept of DevOps is aimed at reducing the time it takes to develop, test, and deploy a application. This is achieved by combining cultural philosophies, practices, and tools that increases an organization’s ability to deliver applications and services at high velocity. It also helps to improve the quality of software products.

I wrote a detailed post on what DevOps is and who a DevOps Engineer is here. I encourage you to read it too.

Responsibilities of DevOps engineers

So, let’s explore some of the core responsibility of a DevOps engineer. I did a well detailed post on responsibility of a DevOps Engineer here.

  1. Implement and manage Continuous Integration and Delivery and Deployment (CI/CD) process.
  2. Automate and manage infrastructure deployment to achive immutability and fast scalability.
  3. System monitoring and performance tuning of application.
  4. DevOps engineers adopts the services of major cloud platforms to for managing an application. Some of this includes AWS CodePipeline, Google Kubernetes Service, Azure DevOps and so on.
  5. Adopt collaboration and communication methodology to circulate information to all involve in an application development. This involve both inter and intra communication.
  6. DevOps Engineer are also responsible for the security and compliance of an application.
  7. DevOps engineer also participate in incident response and troubleshooting.
  8. Knowing and recommending the right tools for an application automation.
  9. DevOps engineer are required to document every process taken. They are also allowed to share same for the good of the organisation.

Although, 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 DevOps Engineer.

Skills and knowledge required for DevOps roles

There are many skills you will require to take up a DevOps role. However, we will mention few of them here. They include:

  1. Have a solid understanding of the principles and philosophies behind the DevOps culture.
  2. Have a good grasp of configuration management tools like Ansible, Chef, or Puppet to automate and manage infrastructure and application configurations.
  3. Also be knowledegeable about continous intergration and continuous delivery and deployment tools like GitHub Actions, Circle CI, Jenkins, and so on.
  4. Understand how to use collaboration tools like Jira, Linear, GitHubs Projects, Zoom, Confluence, and so on.
  5. Be well informed about the cloud technology tools and services, and how they can meet the requirement of a project.

Career opportunities and growth prospects in DevOps

DevOps have quite a number of career prospects. You can choose to go the path of a DevOps engineer, Site Reliability Engineer, Project Manager, DevOps consultant and other related fields that deals with DevOps practise. You can read this post to learn about the other opportunities in DevOps including the salary range you should expect to earn.

Let’s Explore Cloud Operation ENGINEER

Cloud Operations or CloudOps Engineering as a profession focus on designing, implementing, and maintaining cloud-based infrastructure and solutions. It encompasses a wide range of activities, including architecture design, deployment, security, scalability, performance optimization, and ongoing management of cloud environments. The person responsible for executing these activities is called a Cloud Engineer. Cloud Engineers utilize their expertise in cloud platforms, tools, and best practices to enable organizations to leverage the full potential of the cloud and drive innovation. I also have a well detailed post on Cloud Engineer here.

Roles and responsibilities of Cloud Operation Engineers

Just like DevOps engineer, Cloud Operation Engineer too have specific responsibilities that will be require when you take up the role.

Few of the responsibilities of a cloud engineer include:

  1. Cloud Engineers are responsible for designing scalable and resilient cloud architectures tailored to meet the specific needs of organizations.
  2. Utilize tools like AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Virtual Machine, Networking, or API gateways to streamline the deployment of applications, manage cloud environments, and automate scaling based on demand.
  3. Implement robust security measures, such as identity and access management (IAM), data encryption, and network security controls, to protect sensitive data and prevent unauthorized access.
Essential skills and certifications for Cloud Engineering

Some skills you will need to navigate the terrains of cloud engineering includes: Linux, Networking, Security, Configuration language, database and some few more.

Career paths and advancement opportunities in Cloud Engineering

Just like DevOps, Cloud Technology also have a wide range of career path you can choose to specialize in. You can choose to specialize in Cloud Security, Cloud Networking, Cloud Database Admin. You can also explore to become a DevOps engineer from Cloud Engineer. The Opportunities are endless. You can read more on the career opportunities including salary range and certifications you will need to take here.

Key Differences Between DevOps and Cloud Engineering:

Focus areas and primary objectives of each role:
DevOps: DevOps emphasizes collaboration, communication, and bridging the gap between development and operations teams. The primary objective is to streamline software delivery, enhance agility, and foster a culture of continuous improvement.

Cloud Engineering: Cloud Engineering focuses on the design, implementation, and management of cloud infrastructure and services. Unlike DevOps engineer, the primary objective of a Cloud Engineer is to the application is optimize for scalability. It also ensure the security, and uptime of the application in the cloud environment.

Overlapping skills and responsibilities
Both roles share some common skills such as knowledge of cloud platforms, infrastructure automation, and scripting. However, DevOps Engineers often possess additional expertise in areas like CI/CD, configuration management, and monitoring, while Cloud Engineers specialize in areas like networking, virtualization, and cloud architecture.

Distinctive aspects and areas of specialization
While they has many similarities in roles, a DevOps Engineer excel in orchestration and automation, ensuring smooth software delivery pipelines and efficient deployment. While a Cloud Engineer specialize in cloud infrastructure design, network architecture, and optimizing cloud services for specific use cases. They work closely with other teams to ensure efficient resource allocation and cost optimization.

Does a Cloud engineer need to Know DevOps

While it is not mandatory for a Cloud engineer to have extensive knowledge of DevOps, having a solid understanding of DevOps principles and practices can greatly benefit their role.

However, it gives you an edge when applying for a job, and businesses find you valuable when you understand how DevOps works as cloud engineer. Some other reasons includes:

  1. Collaboration and Communication
    DevOps promotes collaboration and communication between different teams involved in software development and operations. Understanding DevOps principles allows Cloud engineers to effectively work with development, operations, and other cross-functional teams, facilitating smoother coordination and alignment.
  2. Infrastructure Automation
    DevOps emphasizes automation for infrastructure provisioning, configuration management, and deployment processes. Cloud engineer can leverage DevOps practices and tools to automate how to create and manage cloud resources. That can also make infrastructure provisioning more efficient, consistent, and scalable for a cloud engineer.
  3. Continuous Integration and Deployment
    As you now know, DevOps promotes continuous integration (CI) and continuous deployment (CD) which enable frequent and automated software releases. Cloud engineers can play a crucial role in setting up CI/CD pipelines on cloud platforms, ensuring efficient software delivery and reducing time-to-market.
  4. Infrastructure as Code (IaC)
    DevOps encourages the use of Infrastructure as Code, where infrastructure configurations are defined and managed using code. Cloud engineers can leverage DevOps practices to implement IaC frameworks like Terraform or CloudFormation, enabling them to provision and manage cloud resources programmatically.
  5. Monitoring and Alerting
    DevOps emphasizes the monitoring and observability of software systems. Cloud engineers with knowledge of DevOps can contribute to designing and implementing monitoring solutions for cloud infrastructure. Such can enable effective performance monitoring, logging, and alerting for the application.

While Cloud engineering and DevOps are distinct disciplines, understanding DevOps principles and practices can enhance a Cloud engineer’s effectiveness in building and managing cloud infrastructure. It also allows them to align their work with DevOps teams, automate processes, facilitate collaboration, and contribute to the overall efficiency and success of software development and operations.

Self-Assessment: Finding Your Fit

It is important to know which is the best fit for you between DevOPs and Cloud Engineer. This sections provides guidelines to help you answer this question.

  1. Identifying your interests and strengths
    Consider which aspects of technology excite you the most. Are you more inclined towards development, deployment, and automation, or are you passionate about architecting scalable and secure cloud environments?
  2. Evaluating your technical skills and knowledge
    Assess your proficiency in areas like programming, infrastructure management, and cloud platforms. Identify where your current strengths lie and where you have room for growth.
  3. Understanding your preferred work environment and tasks
    Reflect on whether you thrive in fast-paced, collaborative environments, or if you prefer focused work on infrastructure design and optimization. You should also consider the day-to-day responsibilities and tasks from any of the two path that align more with your work preferences.
  4. Reflecting on your long-term career goals
    Consider your aspirations and where you see yourself in the future. Do you envision leading cross-functional teams, driving DevOps transformations, or architecting complex cloud solutions?
Rise of hybrid roles How about you Explore Hybrid Roles:

Although, I would not recommend this for a start, however, as you explore your choice you may also want to see if taking roles from both career is something you find interesting.
With the convergence of DevOps and Cloud Engineering, hybrid roles are becoming more prevalent. These roles require a combination of skills from both fields and offer opportunities to work on end-to-end solutions.

Benefits and challenges of pursuing a hybrid career path

Hybrid roles provide a broader skill set and a deeper understanding of the entire software development lifecycle. However, they may require continuous learning and staying updated on both DevOps and cloud technologies.

Skills and knowledge required for hybrid roles

To pursue hybrid roles, you need a strong foundation in both DevOps practices and cloud technologies. This includes expertise in CI/CD pipelines, infrastructure-as-code, containerization, and cloud platforms.

Seeking Guidance and Professional Development

Some of the ways I personally believe you can grow faster in any of the field you choose will be to:

  1. Engage with industry professionals and mentors:
    Connect with professionals working in DevOps and Cloud Engineering to gain insights into their experiences and advice on career paths. Seek mentors who can provide guidance and support throughout your journey.
  2. Participate in relevant online communities and forums: Join online communities and forums dedicated to DevOps and Cloud Engineering. And when you join, do not be part of the numbers, actively engage in discussions, ask questions, and learn from experienced practitioners. These platforms offer valuable insights, resources, and networking opportunities. I once got a job offer as an active member of one of the AWS user group.
  3. Pursue certifications and additional training: Invest in certifications that align with your chosen career path. Certifications like AWS Certified DevOps Engineer, Microsoft Certified: Azure DevOps Engineer, or Google Cloud Certified – Professional Cloud Architect can enhance your credibility and demonstrate your expertise to employers. My first salary increase and role change happened after I took and passed the AWS Solutions Architect certification years ago.
  4. Gain hands-on experience through projects and internships: I highly recommend you take on projects or internships that allow you to apply your skills and knowledge in real-world scenarios. This practical experience will not only strengthen your resume but also provide valuable insights and problem-solving abilities. One of my students moved to a 6 figure income through interning with an AWS partner within 6 months.
How Do you Make an Informed Decision?

While both career path has many potentials, you may want to start on one before you move into the other. This part of the piece requires continuous evaluation of yourself even after you take up your first job. I also do this every now and then just so I am sure I am exploring my skill on my core strengths. Let’s see some of what you can consider before moving into any of the role.

  1. Weigh the pros and cons of each career path
    Consider the advantages and challenges of both DevOps and Cloud Engineering. Evaluate factors like job responsibilities, work-life balance, growth opportunities, and market demand to make an informed decision.
  2. Align your decision with your passions and aspirations
    I can make a whole post on this point here. Follow, follow, and follow your passion and choose a career path that aligns with your long-term goals. Consider which field excites you the most and where you see yourself thriving and making a meaningful impact. As for me, I started as a solutions architect, I found along the way that I enjoy configuring and automating pipelines, and can be curious access in and out of infrastructure too. So, I naturally tend towards DevOps and Cloud Security path. Find you own passion and aspirations to get you unique.
  3. Consider market demand and growth opportunities
    Research the current and projected market demand for both DevOps and Cloud Engineering professionals in your locality. Evaluate the growth potential, job prospects, and the evolving nature of each field to understand the long-term viability. In some places, DevOps are more in demand, while in other places, they need Cloud Architect more. Do not assume. Do your own diligence before you decide. That will fast track your getting a job and relevance on the long run.
  4. Stay open to career pivots and evolving industry trends
    You should also keep in mind that career paths are not set in stone. The technology industry is constantly evolving, and new opportunities may arise. Take for instance, the concept of platform engineer in now on the rise in recent years. Therefore, stay adaptable, embrace lifelong learning, and be open to exploring different paths as your interests and industry trends evolve.

In conclusion, the decision between DevOps and Cloud Engineering ultimately depends on your interests, skills, and career aspirations. Both fields offer exciting prospects and opportunities for growth. Through self-assessment, exploration of hybrid roles, seeking guidance, and professional development, you can gain clarity and make an informed decision.

Also keep at the back of your mind that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of what to choose between a DevOps and Cloud Engineer. The key just like we mentioned is to align your decision with your passions, strengths, and long-term goals. Continuously invest in your learning. seek mentorship, stay adaptable, and remain open to new opportunities as you embark on your career journey in either DevOps, Cloud Engineering. And if you have the capacity you can explore the hybrid role that combines the best of both worlds.

Your determination and passion will pave the way for a successful and fulfilling career. Best of luck on your chosen path!
Kindly share your thoughts on which you think is best for you in the comment section. Also share and follow for more informative post like this.






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