What is a DevOps Engineer?
As our economy shifts even further toward software and digital, the competition for top talent continues to become ever fiercer.
One of the best jobs in the United States today is that of a DevOps engineer. Not only do these individuals get paid handsomely, their skills are increasingly in demand as more and more forward-thinking organizations implement DevOps to become more competitive and deliver more value.
Very simply, a DevOps engineer is someone who works on software over the entire product lifecycle. They create, test, package, release, configure and monitor performance, leveraging feedback and data to continuously improve the product and push out updates as frequently as possible. DevOps engineers closely collaborate with their colleagues every day, working hard to improve their products and enhance the customer experience.
Companies wishing to hire top DevOps engineers should look for candidates who possess the following traits:
- Technical aptitude. Leading DevOps teams use a wide array of tools and technologies every day. Strong DevOps professionals have an understanding of infrastructure automation, cloud computing, source control, continuous integration, site reliability engineering, orchestration, monitoring, deployment automation and more.
- Coding skills. DevOps engineers need to be fluent in current computing languages and systems—like Python, Ruby, Java, the Bash shell and PHP.
- Experience. While some exceptionally gifted rookies may be able to succeed on DevOps teams, the best employees tend to have several years of experience with systems, infrastructure automation and other IT operations.
- Soft skills. Since so much of DevOps involves collaborating with others, soft skills (i.e., “people skills”) are critically important to the job. DevOps employees need to interact with both their colleagues and their customers in a productive way.
- Good communication. While communication skills can be lumped together with soft skills, the ability to communicate effectively deserves extra attention. Strong DevOps professionals are able to articulately communicate with peers and customers over a variety of mediums (e.g., chat, in-person and on the phone).
- Speed and flexibility. DevOps teams move quickly—iterating fast and responding to unplanned crises right away. To thrive in a fast-paced, changing environment, engineers need to be flexible enough to roll with the punches. They also need to be open-minded to hearing others’ ideas and manage their own egos for the sake of the team.
- A passion for customers. While we listed this last, it is perhaps the most important thing that distinguishes the best DevOps engineers. Remember, the whole goal is to continuously iterate and improve the product to best serve customers. The most successful engineers are those who can keep their eyes—and their team’s eyes—on this goal.
The most talented DevOps engineers understand the importance of the big picture. They don’t worry so much about their own pet projects. Instead, they focus on doing everything they can to improve products, help their colleagues and increase customer satisfaction.