DevOps is an approach to software development that aims to make a collaborative effort of software engineers and other related professionals to automate the process of software development and technology infrastructure changes. DevOps is more than a designation, inspired by the Agile methodology DevOps engineers implement a set of practices that optimize software delivery and shorten its life cycle.
DevOps refers to a merger of software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops) in the most effective manner. The term was first coined in 2009 at a conference called ‘ devopsdays’ in Belgium. Since 2012, several State of DevOps reports has solidified the conceptual and philosophical approach of DevOps.
DevOps has the potential to bring about cultural shifts in the approach to software development. It can do so with a collaborative effort of involved professionals, continuous delivery, optimal use of several disciplines such as development, operational, infosec, and lean management practices.
Before moving on to a DevOps Bootcamp, it’s important to understand what it entails. Instead of relying on single-pronged approaches to software development, DevOps deploys several ‘toolchains’ to ensure continuous delivery. The following categories make up most of these toolchains:
DevOps is adopted and executed with a collaborative effort of all professionals involved in software development to deliver better results with the help of continuous feedback.
A career roadmap for potential DevOps engineers involves acquiring a ton of technical skills along with polishing their soft skills to enhance communication and the feedback loop. Don’t forget to top these skills off with hands-on experience. Let’s take a look at the kind of skills a DevOps engineer is required to have.
Conceptual Clarity of DevOps and Agile Principles – DevOps goes beyond titles and designation, it’s an approach to software and infotech that aims to bring about a cultural shift in the manner of software development. These principles weed out redundancies, streamline processes, continuously work on a feedback loop and thus deliver better outcomes. A DevOps engineer has to understand these principles and apply them to the way they do things.
Source Code Management – There are several tools available for source code management regardless of the number of code sets. Git, CVS, Mercurial, and many others will help you manage large projects effectively. In the beginning, it’s advisable that you start with Git as it has a lot of online support and is used to track changes in the source code. Multiple developers can also access the source code on Git.
Linux Fundamentals – A DevOps engineer also needs to be familiarised with Linux CLI (command line interface). Knowing Node.js is a cherry on the top. The must-have skills for DevOps engineers in Linus are Linux shell, commands, and networking commands. It’s also recommended that you know various Linux distributions and Linux/Unix systems.
Application Building – Building apps is a key part of a DevOps engineer role. They have to be proficient in building applications and managing software projects. They also need to have knowledge of application building automation tools like Maven, Git, and Gradle. These tools help DevOps engineers build and manage projects in a time-bound manner.
Automation – Along with automated build tools, there the DevOps approach intends to automate any repetitive and predictable processes within software development. This leaves room for software engineers to focus on feedback and higher cognitive functions involved in development, testing, deployment, and monitoring. DevOps engineers can make use of continuous integration CI/CD tools to make automation easier. There are many such tools available like Maven, Jenkins, TeamCity, etc.
Application Testing – After the build process, DevOps engineers are responsible for testing web applications. This can be done with the use of automated testing tools like Selenium. It’s essential for DevOps engineers to know their way around such tools.
Application Deployment – After the build process and testing the web applications are ready to be deployed. For deployment, the applications are run on production servers. DevOps engineers should be familiar with tools like Docker as containers and Ansible as configuration management tools.
Application Monitoring – Monitoring applications is an important aspect of DevOps engineers’ job profiles. After building, testing and deployment, the applications have to be monitored to figure out any existing issues and remedy them. Nagios is a popular tool for monitoring applications.
Communication Skills – In order to successfully receive and work on feedback, DevOps engineers must be fluent communicators within teams and across managerial levels. Good communication can aid in a rewarding career that might lead to greater opportunities and help you climb up the ladder.
Roles of DevOps Engineers
Some of the roles and responsibilities of DevOps engineers may include the following:
Systems Analysis: These engineers are responsible for analyzing current technological solutions to optimize them by working on a feedback loop. System Analysis is important for DevOps engineers’ responsibilities as it includes analyzing and laying the foundation for project planning.
Project Planning & Documentation: This includes zeroing down on a framework that will be followed throughout the project cycle with some tweaks as they go. DevOps engineers are responsible for devising operational needs and software development forecasts. They also communicate operation plans, strategies, risks, and costs at planning meetings.
Performance Management: These engineers perform a gap analysis to weed out redundancies and fill in the gaps within the performance of software and developers. They will suggest optimal solutions and modifications if necessary to enhance performance.
Apps Building, testing, deployment, and monitoring: This is a major part of a DevOps engineer’s job. They are responsible for building apps and automating the process with the use of tools like Git. DevOps engineers then test these software applications out with automated tools. These applications are finally deployed with the use of production servers. They also need to be monitored for any discrepancies and overall performance.
The role of these engineers and software developers is not limited to these functions and might expand depending on the size and nature of the organization.
Mastering the above skills is a sure shot at a successful career as a DevOps engineer. Software engineers following this approach to development stand to earn a healthy salary from entry-level to senior-level of employment. Whether you’re in it to get an idea of the DevOps approach to software development or with the hope of building a career as a DevOps engineer, there’s a lot of scope for this methodology. This is a skill in high demand across software and information technology verticals. DevOps is here to stay.