When it comes to DevOps there’s general agreement that a skills shortage is holding back broader adoption. The real issue, of course, is identifying what specific DevOps skills are required most.
With that goal in mind, the DevOps Institute this week published a report that finds the DevOps skills most in demand fall into three broad categories: automation skills (57 percent), process skills (55 percent) and soft skills (53 percent).
DevOps Institute CEO Jayne Groll said that, given the fact that DevOps is all about automating repeatable processes, the fact that automation skills are the most sought-after is not all that surprising. But when it comes to process skills, the top five areas where organizations need the most help are software development life cycle (47 percent), understanding of process flow and analysis (46 percent), agile development expertise (42 percent), experience with test-driven deployment concepts and methods (40 percent) and system thinking (39 percent).
The survey also identifies areas where survey respondents need additional functional skills; most notably, IT operations knowledge (52 percent), security (47 percent), IT infrastructure (44 percent), application design and development (42 percent), quality assurance (34 percent) and testing (31 percent).
While the survey makes it clear what skills are needed most, it’s less clear whether organizations want to train people with the right attitude toward DevOps skills or find individuals with proven skills. About 30 percent of the survey respondents said they look for soft skills first, with an eye toward training or educating new hires on the process and technical skills later. But 32 percent of respondents said they first look for technical skills.
In that context, however, it’s also worth noting that 43 percent of the C-level executives and IT management executives that participated in the survey identified business skills—defined as communication, influencing, negotiation, strategic thinking and leadership skills—as being the most important attribute of a new hire.
Other noteworthy attributes of the organizations participating in the DevOps Institute include:
- Two-thirds (66 percent) have already adopted DevOps to some degree.
- More than three-quarters (76 percent) employ agile development processes.
- Nearly half (47 percent) have adopted the ITIL framework as a best practice for IT service management.
- Only 10 percent rely on site reliability engineering (SRE) practices defined by Google.
Groll said the survey makes it clear there is still much work to be done in terms of advancing best DevOps practices. One the biggest challenges are all the silos within IT organizations that have their own nomenclature and culture. Each of those silos creates technical and cultural inertia that must be overcome to integrate processes end to end, she said.
On the plus side, Groll noted the next-generation of IT professionals are being taught best DevOps practices in academic settings, which means the pool of job candidates with familiarity with DevOps practices should increase steadily. The downside is that it might take a while before those individuals learn enough about the business of the company that hires them to effectively employ those DevOps practices.