Software development tools and technologies have come a long way since the 1950s and so have their methodologies. Modern development teams often subscribe to Scrum, Agile, Continuous Integration and Continuous Development, or DevOps frameworks. Thanks to the ongoing digital transformation boom, more developers are converting to DevOps. This has led to the creation of several new and popular DevOps roles for software professionals.
Why is DevOps so popular?
While DevOps is only a collection of development principles, it has spawned numerous tools and best practices for managing the software development life cycle (SDLC). What makes DevOps so attractive is its potential to expedite development by creating more collaborative development environments.
Creating more integrated development means combining efforts from all parties working on software releases; this includes development, IT Operations, QA, and Security operations teams. DevOps is breaking down silos and improving communication and cooperation between teams. With 60% of teams implementing DevOps having seen release productivity increases by up to 200%, the results speak for themselves.
Organizations seeking to improve productivity may not always know how to apply DevOps approaches to their existing development culture. This is where expanding teams by investing in DevOps roles can be beneficial.
Know your DevOps Roles
If you’re trying to create a DevOps-based team or transitioning your existing team to DevOps-based development, it can be difficult to know where to start. While it’s possible to start from zero and build experience with the core DevOps features, it’s generally much faster to find experienced DevOps practitioners to guide your teams.
Adding a well-rounded selection of DevOps roles to your team can make the transition smoother and faster. This reduces hiccups in productivity during changes and contributes to knowledge sharing. The following are 8 of the key DevOps roles delivering the most impact in modern software development.
1. DevOps Evangelist
DevOps Evangelists are the champions of DevOps adoption. They are typically senior tech professionals within organizations who lead DevOps transition efforts. They do this by creating stakeholder buy-in, identifying roles necessary for developing DevOps capacity, ensuring adequate training for talent, and developing convincing, actionable implementation strategies.
DevOps Evangelists usually have experience with DevOps in development and the positive outcomes it can provide. With their knowledge and expertise, they act as intermediaries between executives and tech stakeholders. By guiding leadership and teams to better interdepartmental collaboration and communication, they are often keys to realizing the advantages of DevOps.
2. Product Manager
DevOps Product Managers are essential for software development teams. One of DevOps’ key tenets is to unify the different arms of the development process. Product Managers are traditionally found in IT Operations teams, but in DevOps teams, they find new utility and responsibilities.
Primarily, they ensure that business needs are being met by development teams. They identify and prioritize requirements in line with customer success goals to guide development efforts. What differentiates DevOps Product Managers is their ability to blend management skills with knowledge of development team operations in line with DevOps principles. By improving collaboration with key stakeholders, they help streamline product development and deployment.
3. DevOps Engineer
In a DevOps framework, DevOps Engineers are responsible for creating and supporting the build systems used to develop products and features. Their work spans the SDLC from the requirement stage to complete deliverables. Much of this involves monitoring and optimizing the development, testing, and deployment pipeline from end to end.
They do this by developing and maintaining automation pipelines to assist the DevOps team’s efforts. They may create pipelines for pushing software in development through iterative testing, evaluation, and rework until a finished product is ready. For a more in-depth look at DevOps Engineers, see our article here.
4. Release Manager
Release managers oversee the release process, manage the contributing workflows, and coordinate releases and deployment into production environments to meet client expectations. DevOps Engineers are responsible for effectively “engineering” technical elements of the build and development system, whereas Release Managers apply a project management approach to the pipeline.
While there can be confusion between Release Managers and DevOps Engineers, they’re technically ensuring smoother development pipelines in different ways. In some cases, however, DevOps Engineers with enough experience may take on certain Release Manager responsibilities as well. That said, a DevOps team would ideally have both of these roles working in tandem.
5. DevOps Automation Architect
Automation plays a huge part in any ongoing effort to improve processes with repeatable elements. DevOps is all about making development to release smoother and more reliable. Naturally, a DevOps role exists to ensure that automation is carried out in the best way possible.
DevOps Automation Architects (or simply DevOps Architects) are responsible for the planning, design, and oversight of the implementation of automation systems in the development pipeline. DevOps Architects are usually experienced DevOps Engineers who can leverage their expertise to plan out high-performance automation tools and systems alongside less senior Engineers. Read more about DevOps Architects here.
6. Security/Compliance Engineer
The growth of cybersecurity threats in recent years has made security and compliance measures in software a high priority. Security has become such a priority that security engineering has now become an important feature of DevOps practices. Naturally, Security and Compliance Engineers are necessary roles for ensuring that development efforts are also in line with cybersecurity best practices.
Security and Compliance Engineers have several important responsibilities in DevOps environments, such as:
- planning, implementing, and monitoring development security protocols
- responding to software incidents in production
- developing and deploying security components
- detecting exploits or vulnerabilities
- managing security and compliance requests
- testing products in development
- guiding security measures in development
7. Data Analyst
Data is creating value in industries by providing greater visibility into processes and trends affecting business outcomes. DevOps Data Analysts work to extract valuable insights from data generated throughout the development process and by users in production.
Typically, Data Analysts add value to the development process by mining data, creating dashboards and helpful visualizations, and communicating insights derived from their analyses. These insights are then used to guide software development goals going forward. At a higher level, they can also provide visibility into development activities to guide business strategy and improve profitability.
8. DevOps Software Developer/Tester
Sometimes considered the ground-level of DevOps teams, DevOps Developers/Testers are responsible for creating and maintaining the quality of products in the SDLC. In the past, Development and IT Operations silos kept QA testers separate from Developers. This often led to friction and sticking points in the development pipeline. As DevOps demands greater cross-functionality from teams, software developers and testers have become more collaborative.
Now, DevOps developers are more responsible for making continuous testing part of the development process. At the same time, QA testers and Engineers assist by developing automated testing pipelines and conducting manual testing alongside developers. With closer collaboration and rapport, ongoing and iterative testing creates better software quality with fewer defects escaping into production.
Making the most of your DevOps capacity
When DevOps is implemented successfully, tech businesses can see incredible gains in productivity. However, by itself, DevOps is only a framework. To gain real business value, you need people to live up to its principles. Therefore, there needs to be sufficient buy-in from business and tech stakeholders.
At the end of the day, your team’s structure and support network are important for improving software development efforts. Building capacity with the right DevOps roles for your business needs, putting the necessary infrastructure and tools in place, and providing training for employees are essential to success. To learn more about putting together a great software team, read our article here.
About the authorJuan Pablo González
Working as Foreworth’s Chief Technical Officer, Juan Pablo (JP) manages the company’s technical strategy. With nearly 20 years of experience in software development, he ensures the development process at Foreworth is meeting its keys objectives and technical requirements.More info →