Due to the ever-changing nature of the business world, new roles are consistently being created and rising to prominence. As the needs of a business change, new roles are required to best fit those needs. One such role that has grown in popularity over the past few years is that of DevOps. There are several reasons that the number of DevOps positions has grown in recent history, but first it is important to understand exactly what the role of DevOps entails.
The thing is about Devops is that it’s not necessarily a role, or even department; it can be, but it’s essentially more of a cultural shift that is becoming more relevant within businesses thanks to Agile methodologies of the software development life cycle (SDLC). DevOps helps companies focus on improvements in the level of performance in respect to the Development of products and/or features and the Operations of the underlying IT infrastructure and operations.
In the past, if too many projects were pushed through the development cycle, their deployment tended to become more complicated and fragile, or more at risk for breaking. DevOps is the role, department, culture, and emerging professional movement that promotes collaboration between Development and Operations to achieve a faster flow of planned work while also increasing the reliability and stability of the production environment.
Because of it’s relative ambiguity, every organization has to decide for itself what “DevOps” really means to them. Since those who work within DevOps work between both departments, they typically have enough experience and savvy to navigate and manage projects within development and operations. Some larger companies may recruit employees who have a relatively equal blend of both skillsets to create its own DevOps Engineers within a department, while other companies may simply designate software developers with IT operations/infrastructure knowledge to occasionally assume DevOps responsibilities. It became clear a few years ago that having employees who are familiar and comfortable with both areas offer many benefits to companies.
How does DevOps benefit an organization?
The first benefit that a company receives from implementing DevOps is time savings. For instance, rather than spending time building a project from the ground up, a DevOps engineer can make use of existing projects on the development side and jump start the creation process. In addition, since DevOps engineers are also familiar with the deployment side, they can improve and fix the rollout of products or features, should there be a need. The result is an increased amount of delivery of features that don’t cause the breakdown of the production environment.
Of course, with saved time comes saved money. Companies will spend less developing their products, and later improving them. In addition, if a DevOps engineer can build and/or deploy features on their own, it removes the need for additional employees within development/operations, saving money in the form of salaries and benefits. However, if a company’s application or product does require separate teams for both software development and deployment, DevOps employees can act as an essential go between, improving the lines of communication and ultimately increasing efficiency.
What are are the benefits of a DevOps role?
We’ve seen how hiring a DevOps engineer is good for a company, but is it a good career path for employees? First and foremost, it largely depends on an employee’s interests. Typically, employees working within DevOps enjoy having a broad knowledge of more technologies rather than deep technical knowledge and focusing on solving problems within a contained environment, like software developers. DevOps Engineers are exposed to more components and inner workings of a project during its life cycle, delving into how they are pieced together and deployed.
If DevOps sounds like the right career path for you, you’re in luck: many companies are looking to hire DevOps engineers, and the number of open positions keeps growing. In fact, DevOps positions are the hardest to fill in the tech world. This gives interested employees a wider selection when it comes to choosing which companies to work for, not to mention a good amount of job security in the field.
Since the demand of DevOps roles is high, so is the pay. According to the DevOps Salary Report, more than half of DevOps engineers earn more than $100,000/year. As the need to fill these positions increases, and companies continue to talk publicly about how these roles are improving their companies, we can expect that not only will there be an increasing number of available DevOps positions, but that they will continue to pay well.
How to jump start a career in DevOps
For those looking to get into DevOps, there are a few requirements. First, you will likely need at least a Bachelor’s Degree – something related to either computer engineering or software development. Since a DevOps engineer has to be familiar with both the programming side and the product deployment side, education and/or experience in both of these areas is also a necessity.
As a part of your education – whether through a school or past work experience – you will need to learn some of the common programming languages and technologies. Python, Java, C, and Ruby are all popular, but there are several others that you should become familiar with, such as PowerShell, Jenkins, Chef, Ansible, Puppet, or any cloud service (AWS, Azure, etc).
DevOps will continue growing in 2017
For many companies, it’s more efficient – not to mention cheaper – to hire employees that can manage responsibilities of both software development and IT operations. By having a foot in both camps, a good DevOps engineer will know how to code, automate, deploy, and more. For those who do not want to be pigeonholed into one department – either development or the operations – DevOps lets you expand into something more challenging and exciting. And since businesses are starting to create and fill these roles with a greater frequency, now is the perfect time to get into the field.