In a huge demand for DevOps engineers, here's how to become one
By Kylee McIntyre27-Mar-2019Views 1074

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For DevOps, you don't have to choose between a developer and an administrator. Get you a person who can do both. Photo credit: Pixabay.

If you're the kind of person who gets an unreasonable amount of satisfaction out of checking things off a list, modern technology has figured you out and can suck you in like a vacuum.

I'm not calling you out on anything. On the contrary, I'm the first to admit that I'm one of you. It's hard for me to start any kind of quest-driven video game because I'll be up for stupid amounts of time trying to check every item off that list. Push notifications work on me like a charm. That's why I have to turn most of mine off, or I would be stuck to my phone all day.

I wasn't kidding. All. Day. via GIPHY

So when I open up my phone, and my apps have that taunting little red circle numbers next to them? My purpose in life has temporarily been replaced by a need to exterminate - the notifications. The only thing that seems to slip through the cracks is the number of unread useless emails that are on my phone (something's gotta give).

So every night, when I plug in my phone before I go to sleep, I take a quick glance at things to make sure that there are as few taunting little red circles as possible. That's usually around the time when I spot the giant red circle by the App Store. Didn't I just update all my apps yesterday?

(The answer to that is usually yes.)

But the quick nature of software updates means that a devops team can realize and fix problems early. But what do devops teams actually do?

What is DevOps?

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DevOps, like a lot of emerging fields in tech, is a work in progress. Photo credit: Pixabay.

DevOps, to the casually trained eye, looks like a word mashup of “developers" and “operations." Traditionally, these teams did work separately, but combining them involves mixing skills that traditionally belonged to both teams, along with some cloud engineering and testing.

DevOps enterprise platform Docker explains that the field is less of a set role with set responsibilities and more of a shift in ideology that combines two traditionally different roles. Previously, companies had their developer and operations teams working separately. The developers took care of the nuts and bolts of the product, while the operations teams dealt more with the day-to-day running and business side of the company.

Working in DevOps therefore requires skills from both teams. They will deal primarily with deployment and network operations, and will help with the test planning of programs.

According to our salary data, in Singapore, DevOps engineers can make between S$3,500 and $9,500 monthly, depending on the number of years of experience.

Hard skills

DevOps is more of a set of skills than a role in and of itself, meaning that several different kinds of skillsets can lend themselves to working in DevOps. If you're a member of a developer or an operations team and want to move into DevOps, the good news is that you probably have several of the skills that you need to work in the field. Here are some starting skills for your toolkit.

1. A widely used programming language like Javascript, Python, or Java; and the ability to design, build, and operate a technology stack

2. Process re-engineering, which is a method of streamlining efficiency in business. In DevOps, this manifests as having the ability to use open source tools with a company's platform and systems to improve product and process. DevOps involves a lot of automation, so get comfortable with that area of industry.

3. Cloud services experience like AWS

4. Proficiency with an open source automation tool like Jenkins, configuration management tools like Chef and/or Puppet, a NoSQL DB (a method for storage and retrieval of data) like MongoDB.

If that seems like a long list of skills, don't be too daunted - because of the skillset required, DevOps is generally a role reserved for senior engineers. These people have spent years honing their skillset and developing the perspective needed for such a role.

Soft skills

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Photo credit: Pixabay.

Class can only take you so far. Practice and experience are the best ways to truly hone your skills, especially interpersonal ones. If you're preparing to pivot into DevOps, take leadership positions in your company. Dealing with people across roles and skillsets can help you gain experience in the kind of collaborative work that DevOps requires. Good leaders and collaborators know when to speak and when to listen.

The best thing to do when you're learning to communicate and facilitate across teams is to get experience doing it yourself, and to take feedback and advice from others. Taking a humble but firm attitude toward projects and accepting as many leadership roles as you can will help prepare you for this aspect of your job. Skills like empathy can't be taught, but as long as you keep up an enthusiasm for learning - a hallmark of any good developer - you'll get there.


DevOps is an ever-changing part of tech. Want to help define it for your company? 100offer's talent platform candidates are ready to make waves in DevOps. Request a demo today and see how you can propel your company forward.

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Kylee McIntyre
American tech, science, health, and environmental writer. Lover of scifi, fantasy, travel, and coffee. Find her on Twitter @ejkyleem.
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