Hiring A DevOps Engineer? Everything You Need to Know

Hermione at Pangea.ai
Tanaaz Khan
Published: 28.10.2022

DevOps combines the software development (Dev) and operations (Ops) parts of the software development lifecycle (SDLC). Essentially, it refers to the collection of tools, processes, and approaches to managing software development projects. Even though the term didn't exist 20 years ago, now it's an indispensable aspect of every product-led organization. Considering that the global DevOps market is projected to be valued at $57.9 billion in 2030, growing at a rate of 24.2% yearly, this isn't surprising.

According to Atlassian’s 2020 DevOps survey, 61% of surveyed businesses that implemented DevOps believe it helped produce higher-quality deliverables. Moreover, 90% of the surveyed companies believe that a DevOps approach positively impacted their organization. For this reason, every software company is focusing on hiring dedicated DevOps teams — to streamline their internal operations and create a larger impact.

This article will discuss the internal roles within a DevOps team and how a DevOps Engineer contributes to software development projects.

Individual Roles Within a DevOps Team

A DevOps team must consist of individuals with hands-on experience managing data, libraries, code, and the people who handle it. They need to know the basic software engineering principles so that they can effectively manage every phase of the project. In this case, knowing Continuous Integration and Delivery (CI/CD) practices is essential as they’re responsible for consistently managing the code development and deployment process.

An image of how the continuous integration and deployment cycle works. It consists of different phases like planning, building, deploying, operation, monitoring and repeating these phases as long as needed.

Here are a few critical roles within a DevOps team:

DevOps Evangelist: The leader of the DevOps team — responsible for implementing essential DevOps practices within the organization.

Release Manager: They're responsible for anything that involves post-release support, like releasing new features/ updates. Additionally, they act as a quality analyst before the product launch — to ensure it's up to the required standards.

Automation Expert: They're responsible for developing, deploying, and maintaining the CI/CD pipeline within the organization. They implement automation for any redundant or repetitive tasks.

DevOps Engineer: They're the primary liaison between the Information Technology (IT) operations/maintenance and software development teams. They ensure effective collaboration and timely completion of projects while keeping the user's needs in mind.

DevSecOps Engineer: They’re responsible for building security and maintenance systems to eliminate potential security breaches and similar threats.

IT Operations Engineer: They're responsible for ensuring that internal operations like infrastructure, equipment, systems, and services are functioning properly.

Configuration Management Engineer: They're responsible for change management if the software needs to be configured differently, optimized further, or support is required to maintain individual components.

Responsibilities of a DevOps Engineer

As DevOps engineers are responsible for coordinating between multiple teams — they're responsible for several aspects of the SDLC. They play a role in everything from project management to automation to individual mentorship.

A developer coding on their tablet while having another screen open to cross-check that information.

Here's a list of responsibilities they're usually tasked with within any organization:

Project Management

Every software project requires an elaborate and strategic plan detailing every minute aspect and a dedicated project manager. As the DevOps Engineer is involved in a cross-collaborative capacity, they'll likely take charge of the entire process. From planning to implementation, they're responsible for the whole process.

First, they plan the project with software developers, the operations team, and additional stakeholders. Once the plan is ready, they perform a risk-benefit analysis and cost analysis and give their entire proposal to the leadership — after it's approved, they handle the entire project. It also means they're involved in setting the tone for communication between relevant teams and getting the job done on time.

Server Administration

A key part of their job is to monitor internal systems — including databases and servers. As the development projects happen on specific servers, it’s their job to:

  • Provide/revoke access to users
  • Continuously monitor the servers
  • Ensure that data is backed up and secure
  • Identify root causes for glitches
  • Minimize human errors

Task Automation

As DevOps Engineers are responsible for cleaning up internal processes and ensuring they're as airtight as possible — they must know the necessary automation. As some tasks like quality checks or code deployment are repetitive, they might find new ways to automate the process and hasten the time to deployment.

While an automation specialist might handle this, in some cases, the development of DevOps tools does not lie with them. For example, if a plugin is needed to improve the code development process, the engineer can create one or look for a relevant tool to implement. The goal is to manage and tighten the CI/CD pipeline to reduce the time to market.

Product Prototyping

As engineers are involved in the project's planning phase, they are heavily involved in creating the prototype of the intended software product. Moreover, if they find gaps in their current CI/CD pipeline or additional workflows, they might create a prototype to address them and improve efficiency. If they validate the prototype, it's passed on to the development team to implement.

Quality Assurance

DevOps Engineers are heavily involved in the software quality assurance process. Their main task is to determine if the software functions well for its intended task and if it doesn't, they need to identify the root cause. This practice helps them identify infrastructure flaws and inform the development team in time. They also monitor these systems and software for any bugs due to unintended errors. Bugs are common in the SDLC, so their main goal is to reduce the Time to Detect (TTD) and Time to Minimize (TTM).

Release Cycle Optimization

Every software company wants to reduce the time to market because of the ever-increasing competition in the market. This is where the DevOps team — or rather the engineer- plays a huge role, as they're responsible for optimizing and shortening the release cycle. There are several ways in which they do that, such as:

  • Removing any process that causes friction and time drain
  • Introducing new tools to automate tasks or hasten code development
  • Prioritizing software components for the intended user base

Incident Response and Management

They work with testers on security automation projects to collect data about current security measures. When software companies prioritize fast development processes and improved collaboration, they can launch products faster and create a healthy organizational culture. This same approach helps them create a no-blame culture in the event of an incident and facilitates an open communication process between IT teams and developers.

Security and Compliance

While security is the responsibility of DevSecOps Engineers, DevOps Engineers are involved in some cases. They give inputs for the design and implementation of security systems — and implement monitoring systems that ensure they comply with current regulatory standards. Here, there's a critical distinction: DevSecOps handles all security-related responsibilities, whereas DevOps might only oversee and report on these aspects.

Mentorship and Support

As they’re responsible for effective communication, a crucial part of their role is identifying skill gaps within their team and addressing them as soon as possible. They achieve this by conducting regular performance reviews — after which they may also create development plans to help their team members upskill as needed. Essentially, they develop systems to address skill gaps before they become an issue for the team.

Conclusion

Every company needs a solid DevOps team to improve its software production process. It helps them seamlessly navigate the process of building customer-centric products while minimizing errors and reducing the SDLC. Moreover, they can deliver great infrastructure, preconfigured environments, and reliable scaling mechanisms on demand.

DevOps Engineers specifically are crucial to the smooth functioning of multiple teams as they facilitate collaboration and ensure there are no issues during or after the product has been launched. By taking charge of minute functions within the organization, they strive to do two things: create a continuous delivery pipeline to release new features, and create a culture of transparency and shared responsibility with developers. The result is to reduce risk, increase innovation and improve overall business agility.

If you’re looking to hire DevOps Specialists to take your product to the next level, browse through Pangea’s list of vendors — and improve your business’s agility.

FAQs:

Q1. Does a DevOps engineer do coding?

While some DevOps engineers code in their job — but many don't. They don't need to code since they often work on systems that are already coded. However, they need to understand how the code works to make changes when necessary. DevOps is about optimizing IT processes and making them more efficient. It means automating manual tasks and ensuring they're done correctly every time in a secure and stable environment. One example of this process optimization is continuous integration (CI).

Q2. What does a DevOps engineer do day to day?

DevOps engineers are responsible for overseeing operations in multiple departments. They manage infrastructure, monitor applications, and ensure quality assurance. In addition to their technical skills, DevOps engineers must possess strong communication skills and be able to manage a team of people. Some of their critical responsibilities include:

  • Designing, building, and improving the CI/CD pipeline
  • Communicating with clients and relaying that information to internal teams
  • Identifying gaps in the current workflow and addressing them
  • Setting up automation tools to optimize the entire IT infrastructure
  • Verifying and validating the code for the final product
  • Monitoring internal processes to ensure everything runs as needed
  • Developing technical documentation for the various deployed tools
  • Integrating and upholding the DevOps culture within the organization

Q3. What skills do you need to be a DevOps Engineer?

As a DevOps Engineer, you're responsible for both — the technical and non-technical aspects of a software delivery project. It means you must complement your hard skills with equal soft skills to succeed in your role. Some of these skills include:

  • Knowledge of different programming languages
  • Understanding how quality testing works
  • Experience with automation and its deployment
  • Ability to communicate with clients and internal teams
  • Knowledge of the cloud and related functionalities
  • Knowledge of CI/CD tools and their deployment
  • Knowledge of security requirements and implementation

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