A Successful DevOps Engineer Needs These 10 Skills

devops engineer

The market for DevOps is booming. According to Statista, 38% of IT recruiters seek out DevOps skills, and a full quarter of software developers want to have these competencies.

Far more than a buzzword, DevOps has emerged as a popular approach to delivering quality, secure software quickly, through collaborative team efforts. Thanks to this mindset, teams are able to improve time to market and meet the needs of consumers. And at the heart of the operation is the DevOps engineer.

What does a DevOps engineer do?

The DevOps engineer is central to the software development process, the individual who acts as a liaison that bridges departments and units together. They use their technical knowledge and soft skills to facilitate and coordinate workflows, overseeing all aspects of development, testing, and deployment. They are essentially the manager of the entire DevOps process.

The DevOps engineer works closely with the developers and other team members, ensuring operations run smoothly, from conceptualizing the software to building the product to testing it. Their many responsibilities include project management, facilitating collaboration, refining DevOps practices, coding, updating code, prototyping, and many others.

10 important skills for every DevOps engineer

1. Communication and collaboration

Communication and collaboration are central to the skillset and role of the DevOps engineer. DevOps practices depend on teamwork, and it is the engineer’s job to bridge gaps and eliminate silos that contribute to process breakdowns. They are also, essentially, the go-to individual for bringing professionals with different roles together to deliver optimal DevOps services — and with the right communication skills, this is far more feasible than it would be without.

2. Programming language proficiency

It is also the DevOps engineer’s job to essentially manage and update code within the project and work with the development team on releases. They should have a foundation in programming languages like C, Go, JavaScript, Perl, Python, Ruby, and many others, depending on the project.

3. Automation

DevOps services involve a good deal of automation. The engineer must have a high proficiency in this process, allowing them to automate the DevOps workflow and its many components. The engineer should also have a strong command over the tools necessary for automation.

4. Cloud

Cloud and DevOps practices go hand in hand. It is the environment in which many of the stages of the project lifecycle are carried out, including testing, automation, resource management, monitoring, and ultimate deployment. Today, the cloud is everywhere — even businesses that aren’t directly responsible for software development use it to an extent.

With an understanding of the cloud and its capabilities, a DevOps engineer will be better equipped to manage the many parts of their projects.

5. Continuous integration and continuous delivery

Known as CI/CD, continuous integration and continuous delivery are foundational to the DevOps methodology. This is because the approach is a continuous, neverending cycle, in which developers and engineers are always coding, testing, and deploying, before repeating from the beginning. And because the DevOps engineer is at the center of the operation, they must understand the concept and how to apply it in a high-stakes setting.

6. Security

Security is paramount in our world, one that is rife with data breaches, hacking, and other cybercrimes. An expert DevOps engineer should be knowledgeable about cybersecurity and the risks involved in a software development process that follows the approach. That includes best practices for safeguarding all data and integrating systems with an eye on security.

Security cannot be separated from the software development lifecycle or fall to the QA testing specialists — it must be thoroughly ingrained in the mindset and practices all team members employ.

7. Testing

In contrast to several other methodologies and approaches for software development, testing happens concurrently with development, rather than after the fact. This is part of the CI/CD philosophy and workflow. Additionally, quality assurance is the responsibility of all team members, not just QA specialists.

Any DevOps professional must understand the purpose of testing and how it works to keep the project flowing and ensure quality throughout. There are tools to help, but knowledge of the testing process is necessary, too. This helps the team prevent errors from interfering with the project and ultimate product.

8. DevOps tools

The DevOps engineer will need to know how to use a variety of technical tools for the different phases of the software development and deployment process. Tools help facilitate continuous integration, automation, testing, quality assurance, project management, security measures, analytics and reporting, and much more.

The specific brands and types of tools a professional working with the DevOps methodology depends on factors like project specifications, roles on the team, project objectives, and personal preference.

9. Technical support

In addition to having critical soft skills to support all team members, the DevOps engineer should also have the technical acumen to assist development, QA, and other professionals with the operations and workflows within the development process. They act as the owner of the overall project and the intricacies within it, fostering an environment that is conducive to continuous delivery and improvement.

Technical support encompasses a number of qualities and tasks, including troubleshooting problems that arise, providing oversight, and translating technical language and concepts into digestible terms for stakeholders, as well as being on call at all times to handle emergencies.

10. Soft skills

Finally, a DevOps engineer needs a wide array of soft skills in addition to technical skills. They will allow them to lead the project and bring together team members to produce exemplary results. Must-have soft skills include:

• Empathy

• Flexibility

• Proactiveness

• Problem-solving

• Self-motivation

• Time management

Do you need a DevOps engineer at your company?

DevOps is one of the most popular approaches to software development. If you’re broaching a project or digital transformation that leverages the approach, you will need a DevOps engineer with strong technical and soft skills — one with expertise in the philosophy.

Nearsure can assist you with your staff augmentation needs, finding you the best-fit DevOps engineer to shepherd your project from start to finish, while integrating seamlessly into your team.