If you are looking to recruit a DevOps engineer, you are not alone. Many organizations need an IT professional to lead the charge for automation, CI/CD, and software delivery lifecycle operations as part of their DevOps strategy. In fact, the DevOps Institute’s latest annual Upskilling report found that 39% of respondents are hiring or have recently hired a DevOps engineer.
According to Glassdoor, “DevOps Engineer” is among the top 10 “Best Jobs in America in 2019” and is ranked sixth in terms of most sought-after professionals. In LinkedIn’s 2018 survey of the most hired jobs, DevOps Engineer was number one !
As companies look to thrive in the age of digital transformation, the high demand for DevOps engineers and the low number of qualified candidates has put IT managers in a bind. As a DevOps engineer is a relatively new career path, there may be a lack of clarity about the responsibilities of this position within an organization. The most important skills and key competencies to look for when hiring are not clearly defined. There are many variables that contribute to what a company is looking for and many depend on where the company is in its own DevOps journey.
Even the title of DevOps engineer is a subject of debate among leading DevOps experts. However, no one can deny the value of engaging quality DevOps practitioners. To help your organization determine what to look for in a potential DevOps engineer, we’ve compiled a list of core competencies and a job description template that encompasses the most important attributes for hiring a DevOps engineer.
You’ll want to adapt the template based on your individual business needs and where you are in your DevOps journey, but you’ll find some actual job postings as examples. Also keep in mind that finding the perfect recipe for a DevOps engineer can be a challenge internally. What is important to the C-Suite in terms of skills may not be as important to the IT team. Consider the wants and needs of the entire business, as this will matter as your IT transformation progresses, which could impact other areas of the business.
But before we get into the list of desired skills for a DevOps engineer, let’s discover together why you need a DevOps engineer.
Why do you need a DevOps engineer ? Benefits of having a DevOps engineer in the project
DevOps engineers should be included in the software development process, from the very first meeting to the daily maintenance of an ongoing project. This way, they can monitor performance tests, production status, security (or lack thereof), operating system versions, updates, enhancements. If you hire a DevOps engineer on your project, from the beginning, they will listen and judge. A LOT. But all for the good of the product.
In the late stages of the project, DevOps engineers provide support to ensure that the infrastructure is up to date, protected from harmful security flaws, and stable enough for end users.
Another element to consider is SEO. A DevOps engineer will always consider the speed of the website. Pages that open slower have a lower index, so no matter what you do, it will always be low in the search engine results. You may have the best application, but if it’s in the bottomless pit of search results, your potential customers won’t even know it exists!
This is useful when you plan to have your own software team. The person who takes over the application will have access to all of the written code (which saves time sifting through the documentation) and the description of the entire infrastructure. Later, you can make changes, see who applied what and what changed.
Scale matters – your application should be able to handle a lot of traffic without problems when the number of users is high. But if you don’t need that many resources, the DevOps engineer can always scale down the application. This helps to reduce costs. Angry users don’t listen to reason – they will delete your application and stop using it altogether if it is slow or unusable. It’s better to hire a DevOps engineer than to pay for bugs and a slow application at the expense of your reputation.
The list of skills for a DevOps engineer
Here’s a list of the most frequently requested skills, many of which feature prominently in the latest Upskilling report. Again, keep in mind that these skills will vary depending on your specific needs, so think of this list as a range of skills.
The “T-shaped” professional
There is one thing that all DevOps engineers should have in common, and it was evident in the Upskilling report. Companies absolutely need to find and hire more “T-shaped” professionals, people who have a deep understanding of one discipline – software development, for example – as well as the ability and skills to branch out into other disciplines. T-professionals are the future of IT – the company should at least keep that in mind when hiring.
The ideal DevOps engineer has a core competency in a specific area such as:
- Software Development or Automation Architecture – (again, these core competencies will depend on the needs of your individual organization).
- Expertise in continuous integration and deployment
The DevOps engineer is considered a strong candidate if they also possess most of the following skills:
- Automation expertise and understanding – this requirement ranks high, along with the core competencies, as most companies list automation as part of the DevOps Engineer job description.
- Process Skills : an understanding of the processes that lead to intelligent automation
- A deep understanding of the software development lifecycle or process flow and analysis.
- Agile Skills
- Prior experience with source control models and processes
- Technical skills such as:
- Cloud computing experience
- Analytical skills
- Experience with commonly used software development and delivery tools
- Coding and scripting
- Functional Skills
- Security has become one of the most important functional skills and its importance will likely continue to grow.
- Knowledge of IT operations and infrastructure
- Application development and design
- UX/UI experience developmen
- Soft skills (according to the Skills Improvement Report, these are the most important skills for business leaders – below are some of the key soft skills for a DevOps engineer identified in the report).
- Ability to collaborate and cooperate
- Smart problem solving
- Excellent interpersonal skills
- Ability to share and transfer knowledge
- Flexibility and adaptability
- Other common soft skills include creativity, persuasiveness and time management.
This is not an exhaustive list of skills and there is certainly room for interpretation. Some organizations may place more emphasis on soft skills than functional skills, for example. It really depends on the culture and needs of your organization.