Digital Transformation is driving the evolution of business in new directions. With it, comes a host of new technologies, terminologies, development paradigms, and skillsets. Traditional software development efforts have expanded to include IT operations and business outcomes. This evolution has inspired the new tech culture and philosophy of Development Operations (DevOps).
DevOps is fast becoming a mainstay in tech, leading to shifts in traditional roles and responsibilities found in software development. One new role that has emerged is “DevOps Engineer.”
What is a DevOps Engineer?
Typically, DevOps Engineers are experienced tech professionals who coordinate efforts between development and operations teams to make the software development process fast and efficient. They usually have a strong background in Computer Science or IT and are versed in software AND operations engineering.
According to RedHat, DevOps engineers:
“[introduce] processes, tools, and methodologies to balance needs throughout the software development life cycle, from coding and deployment to maintenance and updates.”
In the past, the separation of developer and operations teams often led to friction, which delayed new feature releases, updates, or bug fixes. DevOps engineers bring these teams together by facilitating more collaborative working environments. They streamline the development pipeline by automating away many of the manual processes that can slow down releases.
Key competencies for the role of a Devops Engineer include:
- Strong communication and collaboration skills
- DevOps collaborative methodology
- Agile/Scrum methodology
- Coding and Application Development
- Version Control Management
- Network engineering
- Cloud service integration
- Automation for Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD)
- Application Testing and Monitoring
- Container Configuration and Management tools (Docker, Kubernetes, OpenShift, etc.)
How do DevOps Engineers add value?
In addition to fostering more collaborative and open development environments, DevOps Engineers ensure that the entire development process is fast and productive. This is why a good DevOps Engineer needs to be a jack-of-all-trades, with proficiency in a wide range of tools and IT processes. It is also what makes them so valuable. The following are common tasks falling under the purview of DevOps Engineers:
Managing the development and release pipeline
DevOps Engineers ensure the smooth flow of information and resources from developers to IT operations. They do this by tracking product development progress through the pipeline from the initial planning phase to deployment and operations. By monitoring and measuring each step in the development process, DevOps Engineers can identify bottlenecks to optimize workflows.
Task Automation for CI/CD
It often falls to the DevOps Engineer to identify repeatable manual processes that can be automated within the development and deployment of software products. The goal is to reduce man-hours spent on busywork, saving time and money. This is one of the key areas where DevOps Engineers can add value to enterprises.
Testing and monitoring
DevOps Engineers regularly check into project repositories to monitor the state of products in both development and operations teams. Continuous Integration requires that products in development are continuously monitored and tested to ensure the quality of releases.
Setting up and overseeing the infrastructure for testing in production and deployment level environments is another important component of DevOps. Infrastructural needs are typically automated, managed, and maintained by DevOps Engineers using Infrastructure as Code paradigms. This is another area where they add value by saving time and resources.
Server administration for teams
DevOps Engineers are also responsible for setting up and operating virtual servers to support development efforts between teams. Although this is often factored into the Infrastructure as Code implementation, DevOps Engineers also administrate servers once they are set up. They manage access permissions to ensure that all teams can access only the resources they need, while also keeping those resources secure.
Why are DevOps Engineers so important for Tech Businesses?
Success in software often hinges on maximizing customer experience and satisfaction. To provide reliable software with new features and support quickly, the development process must be agile and efficient. DevOps Engineers achieve this through automation, fostering collaboration between devs and IT operations engineers, and providing infrastructure solutions for enterprises.
DevOps Engineers see the bigger picture of software solutions and understand the importance of fast and reliable product releases for positive business outcomes. For this reason, they can be one of the best investments for software businesses aiming to improve productivity on the ground. If you're not quite ready to hire a full-time DevOps Engineer, you may want to consider Software Consulting Services to help get the job done.
If you’ve found our look at DevOps Engineers helpful, you might also enjoy our article on popular DevOps Tools Explained.