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What does a DevOps Engineer do?

What does a DevOps Engineer do?

The number of Software Engineers is predicted to explode at a rate of 22% between now and 2029. This demand for Software Engineers and the various applications they create has led to many new jobs and innovative, more efficient development processes — such as DevOps. Read on to learn what DevOps is, what a DevOps Engineer does, how much they make, and the skills you'll need to succeed in the role.

What does a DevOps Engineer do?

DevOps Engineers use tools, processes, and development methods to ensure applications are developed efficiently. They play a vital role in each stage of the development process, from ideation to implementation and maintenance.

What is DevOps?

DevOps refers to a way of developing software that keeps everything running smoothly across each stage of development. Before DevOps was introduced in 2009, dev teams usually built each part of an application independently.

For example, one team would tackle database structure, while another created the front end or security features. While efficient, this often led to problems when these different parts were combined.

Say a product was in the final stages of its development, with great design and features that were easy to use. But, as the teams were about to pop the bubbly, they discovered a security vulnerability in the database.

Not surprisingly, fingers would start pointing. Some might blame the database team, others the security team, and so on. Regardless of fault, much of the application's development may have to start over at square one.

DevOps seeks to remedy this problem by bringing all players to the table throughout the development process. Think of it like building a house. Normally, you'd have different contractors doing different jobs: the electricians, the plumbers, the painters, etc. But, with the DevOps model, these contractors would all work collaboratively, discussing each phase of development and working together as a cohesive unit.

As a result, the final product is more effective, and you save time because each component jives with the others. A DevOps Engineer ensures all this happens smoothly and consistently throughout the development life cycle.

How does a DevOps Engineer foster the DevOps culture?

Some people think of DevOps as more of a cultural shift than an innovative development technique. A DevOps Engineer fosters a culture of communication, collaboration, and shared responsibility amongst all parties for the entire development lifecycle.

One of the most significant challenges a DevOps Engineer has to meet is bringing all stakeholders to the table, including:

In the DevOps culture, all these parties are equally important, and their respective insights all carry the same value. A DevOps Engineer ensures that this is understood, practiced, and supported by the team.

The DevOps cultural shift may require executives and developers, for example, to hone their listening skills in ways they never had before. A DevOps Engineer may have to guide them like a coach through this process.

What techniques do DevOps Engineers use?

A DevOps Engineer will often use the following approaches and technologies:

  • Continuous integration, continuous deployment (CI/CD)
  • Containers
  • Container orchestration
  • Monitoring

CI/CD

Continuous integration, continuous deployment introduces automation into software development. The "CD" can also refer to continuous delivery.

Continuous integration (CI)

Continuous integration involves changes to code being built and tested then merged with the rest of the program using a shared repository like GitHub. In other words, changes are made and integrated right away. A DevOps Engineer may be charged with overseeing these changes to avoid interrupting continuous integration.

Continuous delivery (CD)

In the continuous delivery process, changes made to an application get tested for bugs before being sent to the repository. Here, the operations team puts them into a live production environment.

Continuous deployment (CD)

Continuous deployment refers to automatically sending the changes made by a developer from the repository to production, where end-users can use it. This saves valuable time since the operations team doesn't have to do it themselves.

Containers

Containers provide a way of isolating processes from the rest of the software. Each container acts as a virtual machine, running one piece of the overall process.

Because containers can be spun up and shut down very quickly, containerization makes it easy and inexpensive to explore the effects of different aspects of software. A DevOps Engineer needs to understand containerization because it impacts how a product is built, adjusted, and tested.

Container orchestration

A DevOps Engineer uses container orchestration to help processes run more efficiently and automatically, designing rules that dictate the conditions under which containers are spun up or shut down. Containerization is often used to balance the use of resources according to the current workload. To learn how to build containers, you can use several of our courses that teach you the languages you'll use to make them. These include:

Monitoring

As a DevOps Engineer, monitoring involves using a system that allows you to keep an eye on the entire development ecosystem and alerts you if anything goes wrong. With adequate monitoring, you can quickly troubleshoot problems using root cause analysis, which pinpoints where a problem began. Monitoring also lets you figure out how different systems affect each other, both when they're running simultaneously and in sequence.

Your job as a DevOps Engineer would be nearly impossible without a comprehensive monitoring solution. On the other hand, if you can monitor every element of your stack, issues that would be major, time-consuming challenges can be fixed in a matter of minutes.

DevOps Engineer skills

Along with being able to work with the technologies above, DevOps Engineers need to develop soft skills like:

  • Communication
  • Organization
  • Leadership
  • Empathetic listening
  • The ability to focus on high-level objectives
  • Collaboration
  • Presentation skills

These soft skills are critical in getting everyone on your DevOps team to work together. They'll also help you explain your ideas to decision-makers and executives. As a DevOps Engineer, you'll need the ability to encourage a collaborative culture — even among people who are used to working solo.

DevOps Engineer salary

On average, DevOps Engineers in the United States make $144,000 a year. This includes a range going from $115,000 up to $200,000.

The demand for DevOps Engineers has grown significantly in recent years. In a recent survey, 60% of respondents said they're either recruiting DevOps personnel now or will be in the near future.

How to become a DevOps Engineer

To become a DevOps Engineer, you have to gain the knowledge and experience necessary to work with diverse teams and technologies. The key is to learn the skills, apply them, and build up the kind of portfolio that'll impress employers and gain the confidence of team members.

It's best to work with several different coding languages, so you understand how they're used to create solutions. Diversifying your tech stack will also make it easier to troubleshoot issues and explain to stakeholders the limitations and opportunities presented by each language.

Another key step on the path to becoming a DevOps Engineer is to become comfortable working with people from different backgrounds who specialize in various disciplines, both in and out of tech.You can satisfy several of these requirements at once with our courses. As you learn a number of skills, interact with different kinds of learners and teachers, and build your portfolio, you'll lay a strong foundation for a DevOps career. Get started for free today!

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Adam Carpenter

Adam Carpenter

Adam Carpenter is a tech, fintech, and business innovations writer. Passionate about user safety, Adam writes about cybersecurity solutions, software, and innovations.

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What does a DevOps Engineer do?
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