How to Become a DevOps Engineer?

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Software organizations, these days are facing a tremendous pressure and fierce competition to deliver the software at a rapid pace and on a frequent basis with error-free operation in the production environment at any given time. Organizations need to align the concerns of stakeholders in order to provide better quality with less time. There is a need for organizations to stay ahead of the game and for that purpose, they should be lean and agile throughout the whole process of software development.

What actually is DevOps?

In an Agile environment, developers have to deliver features in an incremental order. However, operations teams make sure that these features and improvements are properly deployed into the production and they are running indefinitely without any disruption or outages at any point. Since operation teams are aware that the frequent changes to the system are the major cause of problem whereas developers have to release software more frequently, which causes instability of the infrastructure. If any problem occurs, both sides might not necessarily have enough knowledge as to what happened actually. Operations might not aware of the inner working of the deployment, and developers might not pay attention to the stability and performance of the system while designing it. This actually creates a lot of confusions and obfuscates the ability of the management to give any timeframe for future releases. To demolish this wall of confusion among the stakeholders, DevOps is the answer, a concept to smooth out the interaction between development and operations. In other words, DevOps is an extension of the Agile methodology. To find out more about DevOps, read our DevOps Ultimate Guide.

What is a DevOps Engineer?

To become a DevOps engineer there is no formal career path. They are developers who are familiar with deployment and network operations and able to handle such tasks or they are those operations personnel’s who have skills in coding and move into the development subsequently improving the planning and deployment within the organization. They do that single-handedly. Either way both need to go beyond their current skills set in order to get a more holistic view and approach to their technical environment.

This elite group is taking place and organizations are improving or changing their environment to adopt DevOps as the competing-force in the software development industry. DevOps engineer possesses the following attributes:

  • They have experience with IT operations and knowledge of infrastructure
  • They are able to use and comfortable with a variety of tools and technologies
  • They have command of automation tools
  • They have the ability to test and deploy frequently
  • They are able to write and understand code and script
  • They have the ability to avoid instability in a whole infrastructure
  • They possess data management skills
  • They possess business acumen
  • They are comfortable (in terms of communication and collaboration)with all the stakeholders in the chain process

What is a role of DevOps Engineer?

DevOps engineer is fully involved throughout the whole Software Development Life Cycle. They possess strong technical knowledge for the delivery cycle and have the ability to optimize the deployment process. DevOps Engineer must have excellent communication skills for collaborations and all the talking. DevOps engineers are multi-talented as they need to build their current skills set to an advanced level which includes coding, servers, storages, hardware, networking, infrastructure, and other soft skills required to communicate confidently with all the members of the team, by maintaining a strategic overview of the business. Following are the brief points for a role of DevOps engineer.

  • Manages the methods of deployment (development, testing, feeding code into production)
  • Manages the Continuous Integration (CI) system of the organization
  • Manages the development tools to ensure that they are prone to failure and scalable
  • Manage outages and prevent loss of delivery by creating failure management procedures
  • Manage Agile development tools such as JIRA
  • Manage issue tracking tools
  • Manage automation
  • Manage documentation of processes
  • Manage monitoring via analytical tools to measure the efficiency of processes and system

How to become a DevOps engineer?

Currently, there is a huge demand for DevOps engineers in the market. The reason is simple, they are proving to be a great success for the organizations from all around the world. Organizations who employ them are experiencing overwhelming ROI compared to those who don’t yet engage the services of those elite professionals. However, to become a DevOps engineer is not an overnight process, yet you have to lay some grounds for that. First thing first, for aspirants, they need to keep in mind that there is no substitute for hard work, as they only get expertise this way.

To initiate your career as DevOps Engineer, an aspirant must grasp the basic fundamental principles of DevOps and by having a good research background they get an in-depth understanding of the concept. People usually ignore this important initial task as they disregard and try to learn and master various available tools. You need to have a solid foundation in order to reach the top. One of the misconceptions is that DevOps is related to automation only, which is totally incorrect and absurd. There are various automation tools which are available long before the concept of DevOps. One should have built their focus on an understanding of DevOps in itself, not just the understanding of tools.

The actual question is how one can become a DevOps engineer. The most important thing is to emphasize on the fundamentals of DevOps before mastering the tools. Following are the things which aspirants can consider to pursue the fastest demanding career.

Thinking from Developers Perspective:

For a DevOps engineer, coding is a backbone of the process chain. DevOps engineer should be well aware of the coding process, refactoring of the code, testing of the code and when these activities are being carried out. To gain knowledge from different sources is a good thing, however, implementation is totally a different thing. When it comes to implementation, you need not have complete knowledge of coding and DevOps, you just need to think smart and put yourselves in the developer shoes to solve problems in an efficient manner. Basic programming languages with complete command on fundamentals will suffice. There are certain vital issues usually faced by the developers while creating the software and integrating the code into an existing setup, once you are in a developer’s shoe, you are able to cope with them in a productive manner which is a real success. Once you get aware of the manual process of carrying out the operation, then it will be easier for you to incorporate the tools of DevOps.

Operations: Gateway to DevOps

It is much more important for an aspirant to gain knowledge of operations before pursuing DevOps as a career. DevOps is dependent on the IT sector and it is a well-known fact that DevOps exists only due to the advancement in the information technology industry. Within IT, operations team manages various operating systems such as Linux and Windows along with various web servers where codes are being placed. They use Shell as a program, and Script which is actually a piece of code which interprets the instruction in an automated way. Developers think that such smoothness is not needed anymore, therefore they are not able to take control of these tools completely. One should drop this misconception and keep in mind if the concepts of Operations are not cleared and understandable by aspirants, they are not able to become a master in DevOps. One must strive to gain expertise in operations first, and takeoff to land on to another base.

Following points will help you complete your journey towards becoming an efficient and effective DevOps engineer.

  • Learn Linux and its working
  • Learn about various Web Servers and how to function them properly
  • Learn the fundamentals of networking
  • Learn scripting languages such as Python, Ruby, Perl
  • Learn about RDMS and NFS systems

Code Management:

Old techniques of transferring codes are no longer followed. Distributed Version Control System (DVCS), is a version control system and familiarity with such a system is necessary for an individual. Tools such as Git, Trac, Mercurial etc. are the reason why DevOps is popular among the organizations. So keep in mind, these are the tools which DevOps need to use on a regular basis.

CI and CD: The Jenkins Way

These two practices are very important in DevOps, Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Development (CD). In CI, all the codes from various system or developers feed into a centralized place. This need to be repeatable in order to avoid any lag, hence the name Continuous Integration. In CD, all the code is merged together and pushed into the production.

In organizations, where DevOps has been a tremendous success, the reason behind them is Jenkins. This tool has been there in the market long before the introduction of DevOps. The incorporation of this tool within the DevOps team proved to be successful as it offers more automated features and the server management is more stable. There are other tools used for CI and CD with respect to DevOps, but Jenkins is the dominant one and it is recommended for the aspirants to understand Jenkins along with CI and CD concepts in DevOps.

Monitoring:

One of the most important things in DevOps is monitoring. Monitoring can be carried out through various or inbuilt tools in the system. Monitoring of infrastructure provides early feedback to help organizations improve and optimize the system.

Cloud Infrastructure:

Future belongs to cloud and market is demanding cloud system. This is an added advantage if understand and learned properly for every individual who wishes to pursue DevOps. Aspirants must have clear knowledge regarding cloud providers and services they are offering.

How do you become a great DevOps Engineer?

There are many factors to consider in becoming a great DevOps engineer. One such factor is Automation. Once you become ideal in automating every process involves in the chain, such as CI/CD, release management, testing, customer feedback adjustment, and even infrastructure provisioning, the faster the ability to innovate. Subsequently, manual interventions are eliminated and able to fix bugs as soon as they appear. Also, the fast incremental release and faster feedback from customers help you improve the system and you are able to cope with rapidly changing demands.

You have most probably heard the saying “Teams that play together work well together”. That is another factor in becoming a great DevOps engineer. You should know all the members of the team and interact with them frequently, not just for work. Everything should be transparent, even all the communications across the team which help in creating a better understanding.

DevOps Engineer Skill-Sets Checklist:

Successful DevOps engineers should possess core skills which are mentioned as follows:

  • Coding – must do efficiently
  • Programming Languages – PHP, Ruby, Python, Perl
  • Integration with the existing platform – SQL, Exchange
  • Expert in Stack management – Linux, Microsoft, Windows Server and Cloud
  • Configuring automation tools – Chef, Ansible, Puppet, Jenkins, Kornshell
  • Communication – Written, Verbal
  • Quick decision making
  • Maintenance of rapid development and deployment
  • Adaptable

As we discussed and come to know that DevOps is a highly-skilled and demanding role in the current market without an iota of doubt. One should be talented, hardworking, and as well be competent enough for inevitable challenges. This is an exciting and incredibly a rewarding career for the right person.

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