DevOps is a cultural, philosophical and organic approach toward automating workflow and getting products to market more efficiently and effectively.
DevOps engineers are in top demand right now. According to studies by Gartner, 25 percent of top global 2000 organizations will have adopted DevOps as a mainstream strategy by the end of 2016.
DevOps is both a cultural movement and a philosophy … which can make it difficult to define the specific skill set you need a DevOps team to possess in order to function successfully.
Of course, an excellent way to show fluency in DevOps is by earning a DevOps Institute certificate—for example, DevOps Foundation®.
That being said, there are some “mission-critical” DevOps skills that organizations are searching for pretty universally right now.
1. Experience with infrastructure automation tools and fluency in web languages
Experience with tools such as Ansible, SaltStack, Puppet, Docker, Chef and Windows PowerShell DSC as well as fluency in languages including Ruby, Python, Java and PHP are must-have skills for DevOps pros.
Organizations are searching for DevOps candidates who are highly proficient in many of these tools and languages and open to increasing their competencies further when given the opportunity to do so.
2. Expertise in “soft skills”
DevOps evolved as a way to enhance collaboration across project life cycles and connect front-end and back-end professionals on either side of the software development and operations spectrum.
When software developers and operations staff (system engineers, systems admins, DBAs, etc.) collaborate effectively, communicate honestly and work as a cohesive team, the software development life cycle (SDLC) is streamlined, risk factors are mitigated, and projects are completed and deployed with a minimum of bugs, quality defects and glitches.
In addition, it can be useful for organizations to have DevOps specialists on their team who are comfortable in the role of client consultant, able to interact effectively and build positive business relationships with customers while addressing their needs and wants.
Organizations look for DevOps candidates who are skilled in interpersonal communication, with an arsenal of listening, negotiation, problem-solving and team-building skills at the ready.
3. Familiarity with CI (continuous integration) tools
Continuous integration is a DevOps methodology that continually merges source code updates from all developers on a specific software build, notifying the team of any failures in the process.
This offers a real-time window into the developing software system, allowing immediate and constant engagement of all team members throughout the project lifecycle.
CI tools DevOps candidates should be familiar with include CruiseControl, CruiseControl.NET, Jenkins, Bamboo, Hudson, ThoughtWorks’ Go, Urbancode’s Anthill Pro, Microsoft’s Team Foundation Server and Jetbrains’ Team City.
4. Bonus Skills
Other skills hiring managers are on the lookout for in the DevOps space include:
- Extensive knowledge of software build cycles
- Experience deploying code
- Experience in software architecture
- Familiarity with application programming
- Database management
- System design
Useful experience and certifications include:
- Project Management
- Risk Management
- Scrum Master
The good news is that the industry’s need for DevOps team members with diverse and evolving skill sets is in sync with what DevOps candidates want from their workplace. According to the 2014 State of DevOps Report from Puppet Labs, an atmosphere conducive to learning is a primary component of job satisfaction among DevOps engineers.
About the Author / Robin Borough
Robin Borough is President of Omnikron Systems, Inc., which offers IT and management training and IT staffing services. As an advisor to technology professionals and executives for over 25 years, Robin has built a world-class reputation as a “go to” career strategist in the IT industry, one who’s capable of successfully guiding executives and specialists, at any level, through transition.