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Recruitment | 10 Min Read

Hiring a DevOps Engineer: Let’s Discover the Skills and Trends Needed by One

Introduction

There was a time when traditional means of developing software was employed in several tech organizations. Two critical teams- Developers and IT/Ops professionals – were tasked with software development. While they had a similar plan, i.e., creating a high-quality product, both had separate and often competing, objectives, performance indicators, and deadlines. It undoubtedly continued to work well for all stakeholders, which is why the process continued to be employed without any significant changes. However, the teams understood that the work culture throughout all stages of the development cycle was mostly redundant and extensive when creating and developing software. 

For one, the wait time for code deployment on the development side was long, leading to substantial pressure on completing pending timelines and adhering to new deliverables. The operations side had its challenges. Maintaining a stable uptime of the work environment with significant paperwork and lack of automotive infrastructure was stymying growth. The lack of effective monitoring and instant feedback delayed the delivery and lowered productivity. The lack of efficient communication and a continual struggle between delivering a quality product and dealing with an unstable production environment was another facet. Both the teams were oblivious to one another’s progress and there was a lack of visibility and shared goals.  The lack of clarity was adversely affecting organizations and teams attempting to deliver swift value propositions to users.

The idea to streamline the concept of software development within a dedicated environment took shape in 2009. The goal was to empower the communication and integration between cross-functional teams to improve product creation and business performance.

What Is Devops and the Role of a Devops Engineer

The demand to increase the rate of software delivery among business stakeholders led to the collaboration of two critical teams – Development and Operations. From encouraging communication among software developers and IT operations to enhancing the speed and quality of delivering the software, DevOps is bridging the gap between the two. 

While some say it is the environment, some prefer calling it a ‘culture’ or a ‘mindset.’ We believe it is an alignment that encompasses crucial business users, developers, test engineers, security engineers, and system administrators, integrated into a single, highly automated workflow with a shared focus. 

Application of the DevOps principles has resolved many dilemmas in an organization. By subscribing to a standard set of goals, the team/individual eliminates repetitive processes and minimizes downtime and redundancy. Experts even claim that USD 40 billion companies made significant improvements by using DevOps principles.

What is the Role of a DevOps Engineer?

It is often challenging to pin-point the precise role of a DevOps Engineer, not because it is one of the most challenging roles in the current dynamic workforce, but because it is still evolving. Currently, it is a hybrid with both technical and non-technical skills in equal measure. 

With a DevOps Engineer, one team or an individual seamlessly manages/liaison with the entire application development lifecycle. They are responsible for features, fixes, and frequent updates, tightly synced with business objectives, integrity, and stability of the system. 

Complete transparency and seamless communication enable DevOps teams/engineers to minimize downtime and resolve issues faster, with greater efficiency, innovation, and delivery with value to businesses and customers.

DevOps Stages and Tools

Here’s a framework that’ll help you understand their workflow if you intend to hire a DevOps engineer.

Trends in DevOps

An IDC report suggests that the Worldwide DevOps software market is forecasted to reach USD 8 billion in 2022. This is because of its ability to minimize technical anomalies and lending agility to the market. Companies that haven’t yet leveraged the DevOps structure have to be swift in transforming their IT infrastructures if they wish to remain relevant and competitive in this decade. 

Here are five top trends that’ll help you understand the industry developments to enable you to make an informed decision in hiring a DevOps engineer.

Automation Takes the Lead:

‘Zero-touch’ is a wonderful and futuristic concept. Imagine the possibility of having machines automate every process, from planning to building, testing, releasing, deploying, provisioning, configuring, and monitoring under human supervision. That’s what the trend will be for 2020- understanding and integrating automation into software development stages for a quick, effective, and flexible outcome. While we believe robotics and complete elimination of human interference is still a trifle far fetched, reducing time-consuming manual labor by a considerable margin is going to be a trend. Numerous companies that have already implemented DevOps have seen a higher efficiency and faster deployment.

The Rise in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Science:

AI-powered technology and tools have been creating a significant wave over the last few years. Hence, there is no denying that the future of DevOps will be AI-driven. Managing the sheer magnitude of data in the current dynamic and distributed application environments is not an easy proposition. However, with artificial intelligence, computing, analyzing, and transforming how teams develop, deliver, deploy, and manage applications for enhanced functionality will resolve significant challenges for DevOps in achieving competency. Similarly, with data science, tackling data extraction and transformation before leveraging Big Data is going to be a game-changer.

The Emergence of DevSecOps:

The notion of security continues to be closely integrated with development lifecycles and operations workflows. The impact of security on business and its reputation is immense, with the exponential growth of security breaches and vulnerabilities in company code and infrastructure. Hence, 2020 will witness the introduction of crucial security checks early on in the development process instead of incorporating security later in the development cycle. Security issues will be identified and encountered without slowing down cycles. According to Security Magazine, only 12 security breaches in 2019 leaked more than 11 billion records.

Shifting Attention from Continuous Integration to DevOps Assembly Lines:

The availability of continuous integration tools and practices to increase speed and efficiency, until now, has been the crux of DevOps’ inception. However, coping up with the increasing demand would get complicated. Hence, in 2020, we would witness the rise of DevOps Assembly Lines, shaping the future of delivery by meeting industry standards. Assembly lines assist in bringing teams together for a streamlined delivery process. It creates long-term scalable and consistent workflows by ensuring all activities by various teams are automated and connected.

The Hype in Using Serverless Architecture:

More than 20% of organizations have already moved to a serverless architecture to simplify the operations aspect of DevOps. Therefore, it is natural that a resilient cloud-based architecture is encouraged to ease changes in production and improve visibility across all applications. Prominent cloud architectures, such as AWS and Azure, can turn platforms, functions, and infrastructure into various simple-to-operate services, known as PaaS (Platform as a service), FaaS (Function as a service), and LaaS (Logging as a service). Companies intending to drive greater business agility would need to address scalable hardware problems and switch to make changes swiftly, with the push of a button.

Career Map For A DevOps Engineer

DevOps is a trending IT profession as a myriad of companies prefers adopting its functions. However, there is also a massive skills gap due to the scarcity of talent. From tech giants, such as Oracle, Barclays, Accenture, Tech Mahindra, TCS, to e-commerce biggies, such as Target, Amazon, eBay – every company is seeking experienced professionals with DevOps skills. And why not? DevOps is the glue that holds a hybrid environment together. Its practices have exhibited high performance with rapid growth for those that have employed it efficiently. That is why DevOps Engineers hold a unique position in the software ecosystem.

Though a typical DevOps role comprises an engineer who works with software developers, system operators, and other production IT staff to administer code releases, their expertise must be class-apart and in tune with the fast-evolving designations and responsibilities.  

Hence, there is no shortcut to beginning your journey as a DevOps engineer. One needs to develop proficiency in specific criteria that can take up to two or more years. You have to constantly switch between multiple tasks before you gain a holistic and in-depth knowledge of the basics.

Here are the skills you need to possess as a DevOps engineer:

  • Learning leading programming language for automation
  • Understanding of different relevant OS Concepts
  • A hands-on knowledge about managing servers
  • Building expertise in applicable networking and security realm, such as DNS, OSI Model, HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, SSL, TLS, etc. You must also remain abreast of evolving concepts on networking and security.
  • Knowing what is set up in your machine and setting it up are other criteria. This includes your web server, firewall, and proxies, to name a few.
  • Championing the art of setting up DevOps infrastructure during coding to automate as much manual work as possible. This also compromises a profound understanding of essential fundamentals, such as containers-Docker and Kubernetes and configuration management tools.
  • Setting up a continuous pipeline for integration and delivery through expansive knowledge of purposeful tools is the key.
  • Learning to monitor software, infrastructure, and log management with state-of-the-art tools is another essential aspect of expertise at DevOps.
  • With cloud becoming distinctly popular, you need to know about competent Cloud Providers and their basics. AWS, Azure, Google cloud are the leaders now, but some relevant players are continually joining the fray.
  • Don’t stop exploring to gain a competitive edge in the industry.

A DevOps engineer’s work doesn’t end even after they have spent several hours mastering these skills. The journey now begins. As you attempt to grow in the ecosystem, you have the option of:

a) Diversifying into a particular job role and gaining proficiency in it.

b) In case you are seeking comprehensive knowledge of this domain, you can move up the corporate ladder by becoming a Sr. DevOps engineer and later a Principal Lead. 

Once you establish yourself in the industry with 8-10 years of experience, you can become a DevOps architect. They serve as a mentor to the team, guiding the developers and operations teams to resolve issues while managing the environment, in tandem, with DevOps methodologies.  

Besides upskilling, ‘soft skills’ is another important skill that forms the crux of a DevOps Engineer’s future. Nowadays, an engineer must be explicit about his wants. From working across various organizational silos to partnering with different people across levels, effective communication will hold considerable significance in getting the work done. 

However, the border picture alludes to a promising career outlook and salary prospects for DevOps Engineers globally. The levels and distinctiveness of the skills are directly proportional to the remuneration.

Challenges in Hiring a DevOps Engineer

As mentioned earlier, there is no universal role of a DevOps engineer. Every company has a set of requirements and practices. But the DevOps engineer must possess experience. DevOps engineers are astute professionals who understand what and how to do things. Their experience levels and reputation for excellence allow them to mold their functioning as per the companies’ needs. Hence, scouting for someone with these levels of precision and expertise for a mission-critical project is challenging. Companies often err by training their in-house IT experts in DevOps skills to meet their requirements. This isn’t a wise strategy as DevOps is a fundamental change in the traditional structure of IT. It requires awareness and technical expertise to design a DevOps infrastructure with modern tools and practices.

How Mercer | Mettl Helps Hire the Best

Finding someone with a well-rounded experience and a skill set can be challenging, especially if a hiring manager has a non-technical background. Isn’t it daunting to find an answer to a  tech-specific question, such as what does a DevOps engineer do? Where can I find DevOps engineers? Do DevOps engineers code? How to hire a DevOps engineer? And many more. The questions and the search can be never-ending. 

Hence, Mercer | Mettl’s automated online DevOps assessment tests simplify your technical hiring quickly. A DevOps assessment test identifies potential candidates, evaluates them on various skill sets and provides a comprehensive summary of their knowledge. It is in tandem with the company’s vision of what a DevOps engineer is required to do regularly. 

We also provide diverse DevOps assessment testing tools and test cases, such as question types, including MCQs, case study simulators, coding simulators, etc. With data-driven evaluation methodology, intuitive user interface and customized reports, hire a DevOps engineer through campus drives or resumes within stipulated timelines.

Ready to Use Pre-Build Tests

The quality and coverage of our technical questions are unmatched as we cover a vast array of roles and skills. A rich repository of 100,000+ technical questions for 300+ skills helps test a coder’s competency comprehensively. You can choose from a set of readily-available standardized tests, such as Microsoft Azure DevOps assessment, or AWS DevOps Engineer, to name a few, from our vast library of programming assessments. With a ready-to-use pre-build test set, assessing a coder’s skill helps save precious time.

Customization at Each Level

In case you are looking for something specific, we get our team of experts to build a customized assessment that you can’t find anywhere. These tailor-made pre-hiring assessments are an ideal filtration process for exploring candidates’ desired skill sets without bias, not only for IQ skills but also for coding skills. Tailored solutions, matching organizational objectives with features and applications, are offered at every level to assist you in hiring an ideal DevOps engineer.

An Extensive List of Simulators

Mercer | Mettl offers an extensive list of simulators to evaluate a coder’s hands-on experience and the ability for the desired role. They enable hirers to give a real project to a coder from a specific domain of software development and evaluate their experience and ability to solve a problem in any desired programming language. These real-world challenges provide a real and comprehensive understanding of a candidate’s project building abilities.

This comprehensive simulator environment is available for: 

  • Codelysis: Backend Simulator

Evaluates candidates’ experience and expertise in solving a problem in any desired programming language. 

  • DBLysis: Database Simulator

Evaluates candidates’ capability to write correct and optimized SQL queries. 

  • FES: Frontend Simulator

Evaluates candidates’ capability to implement web designs and solve problems using frontend technologies. 

  • R: Data Science Simulator

Evaluates candidates’ analytical & statistical acumen for data analytics roles. 

  • Code Project: Backend+DB Simulator

Evaluates candidates’ capability to develop console-based applications. 

  • MEAN Simulator

Evaluates candidates’ capability to develop frontend, backend and database applications using JavaScript.

These simulators are highly-scalable, auto-graded and designed to test students’ and working professionals’ coding skills. Our simulators support all popular technologies and enable creating language-agnostic questions. A complete auto-graded evaluation report provides a detailed code journey with a plagiarism detector.

A Unique Role-Based Coding Platform

If you have an advanced requirement to assess candidates in a project-based coding environment, Mercer | Mettl has introduced a first-of-its-kind, all-in-one coding assessment platform to evaluate candidates on project-based, real-world tasks. This highly sophisticated and customizable tool with real-time, insightful reports and auto-evaluation of the code provides best-in-class integrated development environments (IDE) and programming tools to evaluate their proficiency levels. It caters to all major programming roles and supports the most diverse set of technologies. Major roles include:

  • Frontend Development
  • Backend Development
  • Full Stack Development
  • Data Science
  • DevOps
  • Quality Assurance

The Future of DevOps

The software industry is an experiential and limitless marketplace where continual updates transform the way software is delivered. Despite being in a nascent phase, DevOps is taking center stage by ushering a cultural shift in this highly competitive technological world. By unlocking its prowess and reducing bottlenecks, DevOps is accelerating developer agility, driving business productivity, reducing the risk of decision-making and enhancing IT operational efficiencies. Did you ever imagine a tool introduced in 2009 would become a widely accepted part of an IT firm? A growing number of organizations have either embraced it or are planning to experience higher quality, better innovations and easier adoption to changing conditions. 

The future of DevOps becomes clear if we examine the direction technology’s growth. Automation is already gaining traction in 2020, but its approach will supersede automation itself. 

In 2025, it will likely be a radical shift, as apps would be self-written and coded. Tasks such as integration, security, testing and deploying will be dictated by AI, data and machine learning in the all-new AIOps. This will automate every possible technicality and drive momentum. The software will also take a more data-driven approach, emphasizing prompt value-propositions. Hence, you must lead the charge as a hiring professional. The recognition of being a DevOps-led organization can provide your company with a distinct positioning. If you are looking to become a DevOps engineer, there isn’t a better time to apprise yourself with modern DevOps practices and tools.

Originally published July 8 2020, Updated July 9 2020

Shirisha Jain

Written by

Shirisha has been helping countless brands gain traction with her content. Her deep understanding of the education sector and sound knowledge of technical skills have helped her structure the most creative solutions for key stakeholders. Shirisha has also ghosted pieces for several industry honcho’s successfully published both online and offline. When she's not keeping up with the world, you're sure to find her catching up on bollywood stories or gramming for fun.

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